Kate Baldwin

Kate Baldwin is a scholar and teacher who specializes in comparative public cultures. She is a core faculty member in the Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric and Public Culture, the Ph.D. Program in Screen Cultures, the Gender and Sexualities Studies Program, Associate Professor of American Studies and affiliate faculty in the Department of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. From 2008 to 2011 and 2014-15 she was the Director of Northwestern’s American Studies Program. Her first book, Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain: Reading Encounters between Black and Red, remaps black American modernism by addressing the involvement of African-American intellectuals with Soviet communism and a Russian intellectual heritage. Her most recent book, The Racial Imaginary of the Cold War Kitchen:  From Sokol’niki Park to Chicago’s South Side (2016), examines the relationships between domestic space and cultural diplomacy during the Cold War. Looking at midcentury design, film, advertising, fashion, and literature, The Racial Imaginary shows how structures of feeling associated with U.S. domesticity were taken up, championed, reconstituted, and resisted in the Soviet Union during the 1950s and 1960s. 

Baldwin’s past fellowships include the Pembroke at Brown University, a Mellon postdoc at Johns Hopkins University, and the Bunting Fellowship at Harvard University. In 2007 and 2010 she was Professeur Invité at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. She has published articles in Cultural Critique, Diaspora, Modern Fiction Studies, Novel, modernism/modernity, American Literary History, and Russian Review, and her article on Nella Larsen’s Passing was anthologized in the Norton Critical Edition of Passing. Baldwin is also the creator of a class and working group at Northwestern that focuses on parenting and work, titled Motherhood and its Discontents. Her articles chronicling these issues have been published by the Huffington Post, The Hill, Quartz, Global Post, and Truth-Out.


PhD Comparative Literature, Yale University
BA Comparative Literature and English, Amherst College


Director, American Studies Program, Northwestern University, 2008-2011

National Awards

Vera M. Schuyler Fellow, The Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute, Radcliffe College, Harvard University

Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow, Humanities Center & Institute for Global Studies in Culture, Power and History, Johns Hopkins University

Carol G. Lederer Post-Doctoral Fellow, Pembroke Center for Research on Women, Brown University

Selected Publications

“Lorraine Hansberry and the Social Life of Emotions,” Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Forthcoming.

“Alice Childress, Natalia Baranskaya, and the Speakin’ Place of Cold War Womanhood,” in Globalizing American Studies, co-edited by Brian T. Edwards and Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar, University of Chicago Press, 2011.

“Langston Hughes in Soviet Central Asia,” Montage of a Dream: Essays on the Art and Life of Langston Hughes, ed. Cheryl Ragar & John Edgar Tidwell, University of Missouri Press, 2007

“The Recurring Conditions of Nella Larsen’s,” Passing: The Norton Critical Edition of Passing, ed. Carla Kaplan, Norton, 2007.

“Afro-Asian Encounters in Moscow: Claude McKay, Sen Katayama, and the Practice of Internationalism,”Africa in Russia, Russia in Africa: 300 Years of Encounters, ed. Maxim Matusevich, Africa World Press, 2007.

“The Radical Imaginary of The Bell Jar,” Novel, 38:1 (Fall 2004): 21-40.

“Proximate Practices? Gender, Diaspora, and the Rise in Black Internationalism,” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, 12:2 (2003): 231-246.

“Between Mother and History: Jean Stafford, Marguerite Oswald, and the Deformation of Cold War Women’s Citizenship,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 13.3 (2002): 83-120.

“The Russian Connection: Interracialism as Queer Alliance in Langston Hughes’s The Ways of White Folks,” Modern Fiction Studies, 48.4 (Winter 2002): 795-824.

“Soul Mates,” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 9:3 (Winter 2000): 399-420.

“Montezuma's Revenge: Reading los ricos tambien lloran in Russia,” To Be Continued: Soap Operas Around the World, edited by Robert C. Allen (NY: Routledge, 1995): 285-300.


CS 525 Introduction to Rhetoric and Public Culture
CS 520 “The Author as Problem”
CS 475 “Cold War Public Cultures”
CS 390 “Motherhood and Its Discontents”
CS 394 “Cold War UnAmerican”
CS 390 “Domesticity and the Cold War”


Kate Baldwin

Professor, Communication Studies, Rhetoric, and American Studies


Communication Studies


Annie May Swift Hall
1920 Campus Drive, Room 314
Evanston, IL 60208