Katherine Lennard is a cultural historian working to understand how objects and images shaped the ways that Americans understood race, gender, and other categories of identity in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her research and teaching practices both center on questions of how individuals, situated in a particular time and place, understand their position in larger social, economic, and political systems through their engagement with consumer goods and the material world. She received a Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2017), an M.A. in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a B.F.A. in Costume Design from The Theatre School of DePaul University. She has received funding from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Mellon Foundation; The Institute for Humanities, and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, both at the University of Michigan; and a Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) program of Imagining America.
Her current manuscript project is a material history of Ku Klux Klan regalia in the early twentieth century, with a particular focus on the industrial manufacture and national distribution of this powerful tool of racial violence. Outside of work, Katherine is passionate about contemporary art, collecting rocks, and finding new ways to cook all the vegetables in her CSA. She also does freelance historical research for costume designers working in television and film.