It is with great excitement that I write to announce the hire of a new Fellow for the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project: Dr. Joanna Pollard Lile. She comes on board with sterling recommendations from the H-Kentucky Advisory Board, the KY Woman Suffrage Project steering team and State Historian, Dr. James Klotter.
Dr. Lile earned her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, having written her dissertation (and conducted subsequent research) on Southern Baptists and reform in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This work serves as the basis for a chapter in a book soon to be published by the University of Tennessee Press: Reimagining Southern Baptist History and Heritage: Women, Gender and the Politics of the Past. She won many honors while studying at UK as well as while earning her bachelor's degree at Georgetown College. She has written entries in the Kentucky African-American Encyclopedia (UPK, 2015) and for the Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States (Rowman & Little, forthcoming). She's been teaching at Georgetown College, UK and Transylvania University, and has also worked as a research assistant for the Kentucky Historical Society.
Dr. Lile brings a strong skill set in examining primary resources with critical inquiry as well as in research and writing. She proposes to explore newspapers - including college newspapers and religious newspapers from the Progressive Era - to find links between pro-suffrage rhetoric and the movement toward cities and industrialization in Kentucky. She wonders in her research proposal for the Fellowship: "Did the arrival of the timber and coal industries, for example, influence activists' suffrage rhetoric? Or did writers, either pro- or anti-suffrage, believe that issues facing the predominantly rural parts of the state ought to be considered in the suffrage debate?" We hope also that - by next summer perhaps - with her expertise and guidance we could offer a two-day seminar for social studies teachers on how to incorporate the history of the woman suffrage movement in Kentucky into their curricula.
I first met Dr. Lile when we were experimenting here at UK with new ways on how to reach out and support struggling readers admitted into our first-year cohorts. I greatly admire her courage and gentle persistence, even when facing great odds! It will be a joy to work with her and Kristen Dawson both for the next few weeks. And I want to send my many thanks to Kristen for her steady and wise counsel as we move through this transition.
Please reply with your greetings and suggestions for Dr. Lile as she continues what Kristen Dawson has started in building out the digital content for our Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project - http://networks.h-net.org/KyWomanSuffrage.
Randolph Hollingsworth, Ph.D.
University of Kentucky
H-Kentucky Network Editor