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Department of American Studies College of Arts and Sciences

Susan Lepselter

Picture of Susan Lepselter

Associate Professor
Department of American Studies
Department of Communication and Culture

Office: 800 E. Third St., Room 285
Phone: (812) 856-3878
E-mail: slepselt at


Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2005
M.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1994
B.A., Wesleyan University, Connecticut, 1983

Research Interests

Her research explores the poetics of both popular media and everyday life in contemporary American culture, focusing particularly on captivity narratives, themes of gender and class, and discourses of memory and trauma in American social life.

Courses Recently Taught

  • American Captivity Narratives
  • Gender, Nature and Culture
  • Ethnography of Everyday Life

Publication Highlights

"UFOs: 1947-2006."  Invited Review Article. Forthcoming in the International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences.

"The License." In Writing Outer Spaces, ed. Debbora Battaglia. Duke University Press, 2005.

"Why Rachel Isn't Buried in her Grave."  In Histories of the Future, eds. Susan Harding and Daniel Rosenberg. Duke University Press, 2005.

Book Review of Auto/biography, Deborah Reed-Danahay, ed. Biography  (22.4), 1999.

"The Politics and Poetics of Folklore: The Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, 1937-1947." Roma (44-45), 1998.

"From the Earth Native's Point of View: The Earth, The Extraterrestrial and the Natural Ground of Home." Public Culture 9(2): 197-208, 1997.

"Genre and Competence in Discourse." SALSA I: Texas Linguistic Forum  vol. 33:13-20, 1993.

"Topic of Transformation: Some Aspects of Myth and Metaphor." Studies in American Indian Literatures, vol. 10: 148-160, 1993.

Honors and Awards

  • Departmental Nominee, Best University Dissertation at University of Texas, 2004-2005
  • Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Award, 1998
  • Rhonda L. Andrews Memorial Award, 1998
  • Professional Development Awards, by The University of Texas, 1994 and 1996