Faculty portfolios

  • Taking Possession: The Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019).
    Taking Possession: The Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019).

Heidi Kolk

Assistant Professor

Assistant Vice Provost for Assessment, Office of the Provost

Campus Box 1031
Biography 

A literary historian by training, Heidi Kolk started her career as a student of art and poetry, and has long gravitated to cross-disciplinary research. Her research explores the politics of public memory in the United States, especially where it intersects with matters of race and space, heritage and public culture, and the history of American cities. Her recent book, Taking Possession: The Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Town House (University of Massachusetts Press, 2019), engages several of these subjects. She has also published in journals such as Winterthur Portfolio, Biography, and The Common Reader, and served, with Iver Bernstein, as co-lead investigator of a collaborative research initiative exploring The Material World of Modern Segregation: St. Louis in the Long Era of Ferguson. She is currently at work on a book-length study of the long history of "negative heritage" in the United States––sites said to be haunted, cursed, contaminated, or otherwise "unredeemable" (ethically, materially, interpretatively, politically), but that nevertheless have a powerful hold on the American imagination.

Kolk previously served as associate director of the American Culture Studies program in Arts & Sciences at Washington University. Before that, she was director of writing courses in the Department of English, and she has served in a variety of other administrative roles within Washington University. She earned an MA in English and American Literature, a PhD Certificate in American Culture Studies, and a PhD in English and American Literature, all from Washington University, in addition to a BA in English and Fine Arts from Hope College.