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Elaine Frantz Parsons, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

College Hall 616
Phone: 412.396.6473


Ph.D., History, Johns Hopkins University, 1999
M.A., History, Johns Hopkins University, 1994
B.A., Political and Social Thought, University of Virginia, 1992

Elaine Parsons is a historian of the nineteenth-century United States. Her work focuses on the relationship among social organization, popular discourse, race, and violence. Her forthcoming book, Ku-Klux-The Birth of the Klan in the Reconstruction-Era United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2016), argues that the post-war Klan was produced by northern and southern interests and media alike, and that its victims struggled not only against the Klan itself but against widespread skepticism of reports of Klan violence, and widespread sympathy for its goals.

Her first book, Manhood Lost: Drunken Men and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), claims that temperance discourse, by questioning men's autonomy and agency, created a space for women's relative empowerment both in the home and the public sphere. Her current project explores the rise of the private detective, and the process through which Pinkertons and other private individuals and companies gained the right to use state violence. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Southern History, and the Journal of Social History, among others.


HIST 203: History of the United States to 1877
HIST 204: History of the United States since 1877

HIST 303: Violence in American Society
HIST 311W: Writing History
HIST 333: American Women in History
HIST 364: History of Sexuality in the United States, 1820-2000
HIST 386: The American South
HIST 433W/533: Gender in American History
HIST 465W/565: Reform in America
HIST 571: Expansion and Reform: U.S. History, 1868-1929