Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello

Professional Details

Title Chairperson
Department Interdisciplinary Studies
Office Meier Hall 236A
Phone 978.542.7210
Email elizabeth.duclosorsello@salemstate.edu
Resume Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello
Photo of Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello

Recent and Upcoming Courses

IDS 199 Life Experience Portfolio
IDS 232 American Identities
IDS 233 A Global "america", "america" and "americans" in and of the World
IDS 299 Topics in Student Affairs
IDS 333 Topics in American Studies
IDS 333A A Global "america", "america" and "americans" in and of the World
IDS 389 Research Methods in Interdisciplinary Studies
IDS 400 Directed Study
IDS 401 Internship in Interdisciplinary Studies
IDS 461 Seminar in American Studies

Professional Biography

I am a publicly-engaged scholar wedding social justice concerns to humanistic and social scientific inquiry. My life is a dynamic balance of these interests and approaches, begun in childhood, reaffirmed and strengthened during my year of full-time volunteer service in Kansas City with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and lived each day in my teaching, scholarship and administrative work. I am a committed and experienced leader with a proven track record leading change in areas of strategic planning, general education reform, civic engagement, service-learning, global education, complex project management, and consensus-building in higher education settings and with cross-sector partnerships. I am a former Wellesley HERS fellow and ACE-trained in comprehensive internationalization.

I am currently Chair and Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Coordinator of American Studies. I am an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Economic Development/ Sustainability and was the founding Faculty Fellow for Service-Learning at Salem State. I hold a B.A. from Connecticut College in History and Sociology-Based Human Relations and a Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University.

My research and teaching interests explore questions of social justice, issues of identity-formation and struggles for voice and power including the construction and experience of "community", ethnic and immigrant studies/literature, gender studies, cultural geography, service-learning, social and cultural history and social justice. My recent monograph Modern Bonds (UMass Press, 2018) examines the complex renegotiation over the meaning and practice of "community" in urban America in the early 20th century, with implications for our lives today. Ongoing and recently-completed projects include a collection of essays about teaching American Studies, an oral-and-public history project about Franco-American Salem, a book chapter on Catholic women and social change in the 1970s, a special issue of the Journal of Museum Education on "shared authority", writing about borderlands and an article on the cultural history/literary narratives of French Canadian female immigrants. I have written for two blogs: the intersection of humanities and public policy (The Public Humanist) and women, social change and Catholicism. Many projects have a public humanities component while much of my teaching has engaged service-learning as a pedagogical approach. In 2015 I was inducted into the Salem State University Civic Engagement Hall of Fame.

In addition to having taught at SSU, I have taught at Harvard University, Boston University, the University of Luxembourg (Fulbright 2010) and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (Fulbright 2016) and University of Mannheim, Germany. I lived in Strasbourg, France 2009-2011. I have carried out  collaborations with scholars, students and NGOs in Cote d'Ivoire (Whiting Fellow 2015), Greece and Germany as well as Iraq and developed exchange and study-travel opportunities with universities in Germany, Greece and Canada. My career has included time as a domestic violence advocate and museum educator in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Missouri. Since 2004 I have designed and/or directed three Teaching American History grants in Essex County and served as a scholar-in-residence and consultant for numerous Boston-area museums and K-12/university/museum collaborations. I have consulted for various universities and served as an external reviewer.

I currently serve as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Mass Humanities and as board member of the NorthShore Community Development Coalition and the Boston-Strasbourg (France) Sister City Association. Past board work includes six years at the House of the Seven Gables and four years on the Somerville, MA Community Preservation Act Committee.

I am past Co-Chair of SSU's Civic Engagement Committee, past Chair of the College of Arts & Science's Strategic Planning Committee and past Co-Chair the General Education Committee. I am a former Chair (2011-12) and member (2011- 2014) of the American Studies Association's (ASA) Committee on Programs and Centers and former Chair of an ASA special Task Force to align the ASA with trends and changes within Higher Education globally.

Links to some of my publicly-engaged work:

1) Invited testimony given regarding the value of the humanities for civil society. Forum of the American Academy's Commission on Humanities and Social Sciences. Testimony to inform Congressional policy. Cambridge, MA. July 17, 2012.

2) Franco-American Salem public humanities projects

3) Sample Service-Learning projects featured in local media

4) A guide for public programming using "Picturing America" resources.  Art to engage civic dialogue and understanding.

5) Invited keynote: "Interdisciplinarity and Social Justice", University of Maine-Augusta

6) Feature for Greece Fulbright Foundation

Professional Interests

Theories of community

Memory and place

"America" as a global construction

Civic engagement/social activism


19th and 20th c. U.S. social and cultural history

Women's/gender studies

Catholic social activism

Regionalism (esp. New England, Midwest and West)

Material culture and photographs

Humanities and Public Policy

Immigrant and ethnic history and literature

Public Humanities & Humanities Education



Chair, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies (2016-)

Coordinator, American Studies Concentration

Faculty Fellow for Service-Learning (2011-2015)

Affiliated Faculty, Center for Economic Development and Sustainability (2009- present)

Co-Chair, Presidential Advisory Committee on the Core Curriculum (2011- 20115)

Co-Chair, Civic Engagement Advisory Committee (2010-2013), Member (2010-present)

Chair, School of Arts and Sciences Strategic Planning Committee (2010-11)

Selected Publications

Modern Bonds: Redefining Community in Early Twentieth Century St. Paul (University of Massachusetts Press, 2018) http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/modern-bonds

“Borders and Borderlands”. Echoes: Online Literary Magazine, 6 (March 2017). (Issue Editor and author of Introduction). http://www.asrp.gr/echoes_issue6.htm

“Creating Franco-American Identity in the New Millennium: Normand Beaupré’s  La Souillonne”. Co-author, Elizabeth Blood. Quebec Studies  vol. 61 Spring 2016.

“Relevant Transformations: The Young Women of the Extension Lay Volunteers, 1961-1971.”  In, Empowering the People of God Catholic Action Before and After Vatican II. Eds., Jeremy Bonner, Mary Beth Fraser Connolly and Christopher Denny. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.

“ONE DROP RULE” Text and image for one of a set of cards developed as pedagogical tools to augment the special “Mixed Race” issue of the Asian American Literary Review (Fall 2013).

Guest Editor and author: “Introduction: Shared Authority: The Key to Museum Education as Social Change.” Special issue of The Journal of Museum Education.  Issue title “Shared Authority: The Key to Museum Education as Social Change” 38.2 (summer 2013): 121-128.

Ici on parle français : A Fresh Look at Salem" North Shore Art*Throb Vol. 2 (September 2012), Issue 5: 10-12. (with Elizabeth Blood)

"The Den, The Dining Room and Saint Rose of Lima: Or, How My Conformation Came to Pass." In From the Pews in the Back: Young Women & Catholicism, edited by Kate Dugan and Jen Owens. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.

"Viewing, Interpretation and Discussion Guide to Accompany Public Library Exhibitions of the ‘Picturing America' project of the National Endowment for the Humanities". Produced for Mass Humanities, Northampton, MA July, 2009.

"An Act of Translation: The Need to Understand Students' Understanding of Critical Thinking in the Undergraduate Classroom". The Journal of Effective Teaching Vol. 8, No.2, 2008, 5-20 (with Tiffany Chenault).

Invited, Founding Contributor to "The Public Humanist" a Humanities/Public Policy Blog (June 2007-present)

Blog sponsored by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. See http://www.valleyadvocate.com/blogs/profile.cfm?uid=46&auid=41 for essays

Essays:"Putting ‘Humanities Capital" to Work" (June 6, 2007); "The Uses of Second Wave Feminism: Lessons from the Takeover at 888 Memorial Drive" (August 6, 2007); "Left-Leaning Religion and Politics: An American Tradition" (November 29, 2007); "Historic House Museums: Sites of History and Sites of Conscience?" (February 7, 2008); "Lessons from Looking Backward" (June 5, 2008); "Seeing the US From Afar: How Foreign Observers Might Help Americans Understand Our Brave New World" (November 17, 2008); "The History of the Meaning of Poverty in the US" (February 17, 2009); "Are We Failing our 21st Century Students?: The Shape and Impact of Bilingual Education in Massachusetts" (June 11, 2009); "Ruined for Life: Conscience and Convenience in a Liberal Arts Education" (October 8, 2009); "When Art Was a Stimulus Package: My Argument for a Reprise" (May 18, 2010); "Lessons from the Grand Duchy: Reflections on My Time in Luxembourg" (July 19, 2010); "Food, Relationships and Morality: The Ethics of Eating "(November 10, 2010)

Selected Presentations


Palimpsest, Place-Making & Protest in Salem, MA: Service-Learning and Hands-On Praxis as Introduction to American Studies.” European Association for American Studies/British Association for American Studies conference. London, England, April 4, 2018.

Panelist: “Teaching for Change, Not Charity: Experiential Learning and the Neoliberal University.” American Studies Association Annual Conference. Chicago, Illinois, November 11, 2017

Panelist: “Home/Not Home: Distance Education as a Means of Centering American Studies in our Students.” American Studies Association Annual Conference. Denver, Colorado, November 20, 2016.

Chair, panelist and session organizer: “Making the Case for American Studies Intellectually and Institutionally.” American Studies Association Annual Conference. Denver, Colorado, November 19, 2016.

“(Franco) American Studies: Teaching French Canada and Franco-American Culture as American Studies.” Session: French North America Across the Spectrum. American Council for Quebec Studies Biennial Conference, Portland, ME, November 5, 2016.

Panelist: “Teaching Democracy”. Civic Engagement and the Practices of Democracy, International Conference. Co-hosted by the Michael and Kitty Dukakis Center for Public and Humanitarian Service at the American College of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece. April 18 2016.

“Beyond the Buzz? The Pleasures and Miseries of Internationalization.” American Studies Association Annual Conference.  Toronto, Canada October 9, 2015.

“Service-Learning as American Studies Pedagogy.” NEASA Fall Colloquium: American Studies: Professional and Pedagogical Workshops, Boston, MA, September 26, 2015.

“Fixing Words on Pages and Constructing A Franco-America: Topos, Decentralization, and The Political Work of La Souillone.” Panel, Writing Franco-American Identity.  American Council for Quebec Studies Biennial Conference, Montreal Quebec, October 19, 2014.

Session Moderator, Session: “Experimenting with “Shared Authority” in K–12 Teacher Programs”, American Alliance of Museums Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, May 20, 2014.

Workshop Chair and organizer: “Representing American Justice in Western Europe Since the Late 1940s:  US Mass Media, Popular Culture, and The State Department,” European Association of American Studies conference, The Hague, Netherlands, April 2014. Organized with John Dean, University of Versailles, France.

Panelist and session organizer, Session “When Interdisciplinary Isn't Enough: Critical Approaches to Public Practice In American Studies”. American Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC, November 22, 2013.

Presenter and moderator, “Shared Authority: The Key to Museum Education as Social Change. New England Museum Association Annual Conference, Newport, RI, November 15, 2013. 

Paper: Relevant Transformations: The Young Women of the Extension Lay Volunteers, 1961–71. Panel: “Outgrowing Catholic Action? .American Historical Association annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, January 6, 2013

Paper: Creating Franco-American Identity in the New Millennium: Norman Beaupré’s La Souillonne. Panel: “Franco-American Literature of New England: New Perspectives on Place, Memory, and Identity”. Modern Language Association Annual Convention. Boston, MA, January 5, 2013.

Poster: “Introduction to American Studies, Community Development, Social Justice, and Voter Registration: Service-Learning Outcomes for Community Partner and Students”.  Imagining America Annual Conference, New York, NY, October 5-7, 2012.

Chair & Panel Organizer, "Finding the Fit and Leading the Way: Aligning Undergraduate American Studies Programs with Institutional Initiatives and Demonstrating Relevance at a Critical Time", American Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC, November 6, 2009.

Conference Paper: "A Revolution Found(ed) and Lost in Song: Gender, Folk Songs, and Lyric Insertion in Two Works of American Proletarian Fiction." International Journal of Arts & Sciences Conference, Gottenheim, Germany. December l, 2008.

Presentation: "Historic House Museums: Sites of History, Sites of Conscience?" Panel Title: "Future Options for Historic House Museums". 2008 Mass History Conference: Sustaining the Future of Massachusetts History. College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA, June 9, 2008.

Paper: "Generous Indifference": Realism, Sociology, and the Experience of Urban Community in Sinclair Lewis' Main Street. Panel: Midwest Culture II: Artistic & Literary Depictions, Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association Annual Conference, Boston, MA, April, 2007.

Invited Discussant/Panelist: Presentation:"Some Thoughts on Memory, Place, Synergy, Communal Knowledge and Practice" For Putting Memory in Place conference, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, February 2007.

Paper: "Strategic Fundraising at the House of Seven Gables: Gender, the Colonial Revival and Settlement Work". New England Historical Association Spring Meeting, Bridgewater, MA, April, 2006.

Paper: "When Being a Woman Wasn't Enough: The Takeover of 888 Memorial Drive and the Evolution of Second Wave Feminism," Organization of American Historians annual conference, Boston, MA, March 2004.

Paper: "Imagining Ourselves: Photographs and the Formation of Community Identity in St. Paul Minnesota, 1900-1920." American Studies Association annual conference, Houston, TX, November 2002.

INVITED LECTURES, PRESENTATIONS & WORKSHOPS (Public, University, K-12) For complete list see C.V..

Personal Interests

Marathoning, all outdoor activities, cooking, reading literary nonfiction & memoir, exploring museums and vineyards and new places the world over!