Humanities Institute

Staff Bios

Dr. Pauline Strong

Dr. Pauline Strong, Director

512-471-9056 |

(Photo credit: Ann Hamilton)


Pauline Strong has taught anthropology, women's and gender studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies at The University of Texas at Austin since 1993. After receiving a bachelor's degree in philosophy at The Colorado College, she completed master's and doctoral degrees in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her research centers on historical and contemporary representations of Native Americans and American national identity in such contexts as literature, films, museums, sports arenas, and youth organizations. Strong was a Fellow of the Humanities Institute in 2001 and 2005, and became Director in 2009. 

Strong is the author of American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries (2012) and Captive Selves, Captivating Others: The Politics and Poetics of Colonial American Captivity Narratives (1999). She is also co-editor (with Sergei Kan) of New Perspectives on Native North America: Cultures, Histories, Representations (2006). Her articles appear in journals and anthologies in the fields of American Studies, cultural studies, history, media studies, Native American Studies, and sports studies as well as anthropology. She is the recipient of several teaching awards, most recently the Provost's Teaching Fellowship, and directs the Difficult Dialogues program.


Dr. Phillip BarrishDr. Phillip Barrish, Associate Director for Health and Humanities

512-471-7840 |


Phillip Barrish is the Tony Hilfer Professor of American and British literature at UT-Austin. In addition to his appointment in the English Department, he teaches at Dell Medical School and is a faculty affiliate with the Department of American Studies and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. His current book project is titled American Literature and the Political Economy of Health Care. Articles related to the project have appeared in American Literature, The Journal of Medical Humanities, and Literature and Medicine. His previously published books include The Cambridge Introduction to American Literary Realism (2011); White Liberal Identity, Literary Pedagogy, and Classic American Realism (2005); and American Literary Realism, Critical Theory, and Intellectual Prestige, 1880-1995 (2001). In his free time he enjoys biking on Austin’s beautiful South Walnut Creek trail.


 Kathryn NorthKathryn N North, Administrative Program Coordinator

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Kathryn North received her MA in Asian Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018 where she studied Hindi and researched the educational and career aspiriations of young women in urban India. Prior to joining UT, she worked as an ESL teacher and teacher trainer in New Delhi and was the coordinator for a scholarship program that provided English classes and job-skills training for underpriviledged women in Delhi. Kathryn graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Cinema and Media Studies and Italian Studies, which paved the way for her interest in language learning and teaching.

Sarah SchusterSarah Schuster, Graduate Research Assistant

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Sarah Schuster is a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century American women writers, especially in relation to disability studies, gender, sexuality, and health humanities. She earned her B.A. at the College of William & Mary, where she wrote a senior thesis on dissociation and troubled embodiment in Julia Ward Howe’s unpublished manuscripts.

Ricky ShearRicky Shear, Graduate Research Assistant

512-471-9056 |

Ricky Shear is a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin and earned his M.A. from U.T. in 2018. His research interests include modernist novels and narratives, late 19th and early 20th century American literature, empathy and literature, health humanities, and the connection between literature, service learning pedagogy, and social justice. He earned his B.A. from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky where he majored in English and Financial Economics. 

 Alissa WilliamsAlissa Williams, Program Assistant

512-471-9056 |

Alissa Williams is a third year student at The University of Texas at Austin majoring in Plan II Honors and pursuing the Pre-Health Professions Certificate through the College of Natural Sceinces. She is also a member of Dell Medical School's Health Leadership Apprentice Program. Her future plans include going to medical school to become a dermatologist so she can transform the lives of her patients by giving them the tools they need to be confident and comfortable in their own skin.

Stephanie HolmesStephanie Holmes, Communications Assistant 

512-471-9056 | 

Stephanie Holmes is fourth year student at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Public Relations. Her future plans include returning to her hometown, Dallas, Texas, and starting her career in PR by working with nonprofits and agencies.  

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    University of Texas at Austin
    Office Address: SAC 4.138
    Mailcode F1900
    Austin, Texas 78712