Mary Foltz

Associate Professor of English
(610) 758-3315
217 Drown Hall
Ph.D. University of Buffalo SUNY, 2009

 Mary Foltz received her doctorate from the University at Buffalo in 2009. She specializes in contemporary American literature with a specific focus on ecocriticism, postmodern fiction and theory, and queer fiction and theory. Her monograph titled Contemporary American Literature and Excremental Culture: American Sh*t (2020) won the Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award for Literary Criticism of English Language Literature; in this work, she analyzes post-1960 scatological novels that utilize representations of human waste to address pressing issues, including pollution of waterways, environmental racism, and militarism. Her current research project focuses on Gloria Naylor’s archives; she serves on the Naylor archives advisory board, co-directs the Gloria Naylor Archival Project, and is co-editing a collection of essays with Maxine Lavon Montgomery and Suzanne Edwards on Naylor’s archival materials. In 2021, Foltz, Edwards, and Montgomery received a NEH Collaborative Research Grant to support work in Naylor’s archives. In addition to these projects, Foltz develops a number of public humanities projects through her work with Lehigh’s South Side Initiative (SSI), a faculty-developed initiative that fosters and develops community-university research collaborations to address urgent issues in our local community and increase democratic civic engagement. Her public humanities projects include exhibits on regional LGBTQIA+ history, multiple regional oral history projects focused on marginalized communities, multiple public-facing literary programs, the development of a community-based news site focused on local arts and culture, and facilitation of environmental working groups to address civic infrastructure and to improve habitats for declining species. From 2021-2022, Foltz was an ACLS Scholar and Society Fellow and focused upon expanding regional LGBTQIA+ archival collections and increasing public access to as well as engagement with local LGBTQIA+ history.

Research Interests: 
American Literature from 1945; Ecocriticism; Psychoanalysis; Queer Fiction and Theory