Karen L. Cox is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the founding director of the graduate public history program. She offers a variety of courses in southern history and culture, and offers graduate electives in public history.
Dr. Cox received her BA and MA in history from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the author of three books, the editor or co-editor of two volumes of southern history, and she has written numerous essays and articles on the subject of southern history and culture. Her first book, Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture, won the 2004 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians for the Best Book in Southern Women’s History. Her second book, published by UNC Press in 2011, is Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture. She is the editor of Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History (University Press of Florida, 2012), which won the 2013 Allen G. Noble Award for the best edited collection in North American material culture from the Pioneer America Society and the co-editor of Reassessing the 1930s South (LSU Press, 2018)Her latest book, entitled Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South, was published by UNC Press in October 2017.
Dr. Cox has written op-eds for the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, TIME magazine, Publishers Weekly, and the Huffington Post. Her expertise on the American South has led to interviews with the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, Mic, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Slate (France), the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Houston Chronicle, and the Charlotte Observer, as well as international newspapers in Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Japan. She has also appeared on CNN with Brooke Baldwin, BBC Newshour, Black Politics Today, The Mike Smerconish Show (Sirius XM), C-SPAN, Canadian Public Broadcasting, Minnesota Public Radio, Georgia Public Radio, and Charlotte Talks.
She frequently gives public talks to both community and academic audiences, and is an OAH Distinguished Lecturer.
Cox is originally from Huntington, West Virginia.
- No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Equality (Forthcoming from UNC Press in 2021, Ferris & Ferris Imprint)
- Reissue with new preface, Dixie’s Daughters (University Press of Florida, March 2019)
- Featured in Confederate Statues and Memorialization (UGA Press, March 2019)
- Author of new foreword to Monuments to the Lost Cause: Women, Art, and the Landscapes of Memory (University of Tennessee Press, February 2019)
- Co-editor with Sarah Gardner, Reassessing the 1930s South (LSU Press, 2018)
- Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South (UNC Press, 2017)
- Dreaming of Dixie: How The South Was Created In American Popular Culture (UNC Press, 2011)
- Editor, Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History (University Press of Florida, 2012) Winner of the 2013 Allen G. Noble Award from the Pioneer America Society for best edited collection in North American material culture.
- Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture (University Press of Florida, 2003). Winner of the 2004 Julia Cherry Spruill Award for the best published work in southern women’s history by the Southern Association for Women Historians.
- “The Grey Gardens of the South,” Southern Cultures, Winter 2019
- “The South in Mass Culture,” Journal of Southern History (August 2009)
- “Branding Dixie: Confederate Consumer Culture, 1890-1930” in Anthony Stanonis ed., Dixie Emporium: Tourism, Foodways, and Consumer Culture in the American South (University of Georgia Press, 2008)
- “Confederate Defeat and Cultural Expressions of Memory,” in Jenny McLeod ed., Defeat and Memory: Cultural Histories of Military Defeat in the Modern Era (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008)
- “Mississippi’s United Daughters of the Confederacy: Benevolence, Beauvoir, and the Transmission of Confederate Culture, 1897-1919” in Martha Swain, Elizabeth Payne, and Marjorie Spruill eds., Mississippi Women of Achievement, Volume II (University of Georgia Press, 2010)
- “Holidays for Heroes of the Lost Cause: Lee, Jackson, and Davis” in Len Travers eds., American Holidays and National Days: A Historical Guide (Greenwood Press, 2006)
- “The Confederate Monument at Arlington: A Token of Reconciliation,” in Cynthia Mills and Pamela Simpson eds.,Monuments to the Lost Cause: Women, Art, and the Landscape of Southern Memory (University of Tennessee Press, 2003)
- “The Rise of the United Daughters of the Confederacy,” in John Salmond and Bruce Clayton eds., Lives Full of Struggle and Triumph: Southern Women, Their Institutions, and Their Communities (University Press of Florida, 2003)
Southern history and culture, the South in American culture
- HIST 1161, US History II
- HIST 2000, Southern Culture on the Skids
- HIST 2000, Intro to Museums and Historic Sites
- HIST 2000, History & the World Wide Web
- HIST 3001, The South in Film
- HIST 3000, Southern Women’s History
- HIST 3000, 19th Century US Social/Cultural History
- HIST 4600/5000 The South in the Popular Culture
- HIST 4000/5000, Civil War in History and Memory
- HIST 3215, Southerners
- HIST 4300, Intro to Public History
- HIST 6000, New South
- HIST 6310, History Museums and Historic Sites
- HIST 6330, History in the Digital Age
- HIST 6000, Heritage Tourism
Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi, 1997; B.A. and M.A., UNC Greensboro
Her current project, “Fire in the Rhythm Club: Race, Tragedy, and Neglect in World War II America,” investigates a club fire that took the lives of 209 African Americans in April 1940.