Eckard, Paula, Ph.D.

Professor of English
Fretwell 276F

Professor of English,  Director of American Studies


  • Ph.D. English, University of South Carolina
  • M.A., M.H.D.L., University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • B.A., B.S.N., the University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Academic Areas of Interest

  • American literature and culture
  • Southern literature and culture
  • Thomas Wolfe life and literary works
  • Maternal studies
  • Literature and medicine

Publications and Presentations (selected)


  • Maternal Body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2002.
  • Thomas Wolfe and Lost Children in Southern Literature. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2016.

  Current Project

  • The Medical Narratives of Thomas Wolfe


  • “Harry Golden Bio Recalls Local Civil Rights Era” Rev. of Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights” by Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett. Charlotte Viewpoint Sept. 29, 2015.
  • “Thomas Wolfe in Context: North Carolina Culture and the Digital World.” Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2015. The Thomas Wolfe Review 1-2.39 (2015): 49-52.
  • “Crossing Racial Boundaries in The Secret Life of Bees.” The South Carolina Review 45.2 (2013): 120-34.
  • “The Entombed Maternal in Gloria Naylor’s Linden Hills.” Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters 35.3 (2012): 795-809.
  • Rev. of Mockingbird Passing: Closeted Traditions and Sexual Curiosities in Harper Lee’s Novel. By Holly Blackford. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2011. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 37.3 (2012) 362-66.
  • "'A Flash of Fire': Illness and the Body in Look Homeward, Angel."  The Thomas Wolfe Review 1-2.34 (2010): 6-24. Winner of the 2010 Zelda and Paul Gitlin Literary Prize for best scholarship on Thomas Wolfe.
  • “Mockingbird Gone Mute.” Rev. of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee by Charles Shields, NY: Henry Holt, 2006. Charlotte Observer: 6 August 2006: 5E. Print.
  • “Narrative, Work, and Grief in Thomas Wolfe’s The Lost Boy.”  The Thomas Wolfe Review 1-2.32 (2008): 7-21.
  • "Ellen Foster: Survival in the New South." Five Owls 17.3 (2004): 61-63. "What Lies Beneath: Myth, Memory, and Obsession." Rev. of Prodigals by Mark Powell (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2003) and Moon Women by Pamela Duncan NY: Delacorte: 2001). North Carolina Literary Review 12 (2003): 137-140.
  • "Fair and Tender Ladies: The Taste of Literature." Pembroke Magazine 33 (2001): 98-105.
  • "The Conjure Woman." The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. NY: Oxford UP, 1997. 167-68.
  • "Moody, Anne." The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. NY: Oxford UP, 1997. 506-7.
  • "Terrell, Mary Church." The Oxford Companion to African American Literature. Ed. William L. Andrews, Frances Smith Foster, and Trudier Harris. NY: Oxford UP, 1997. 718-19.
  • "Good Hearts: Immersed in Time." The South Carolina Review 28.2 (1996): 78-85.
  • "The Prismatic Past in Oral History and Mama Day." MELUS: Journal for Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 20.3 (1995): 121-135.
  • "The Interplay of Music, Language, and Narrative in Toni Morrison's Jazz." College Language Association Journal 38.1 (1994): 11-19.
  • "Maternal Mythologies and Southern Literature: An Essay to Honor Julian Mason." Postscript 10 (1993): 25-34. (Essay on Beloved by Toni Morrison)
  • Family and Community in Anne Tyler's Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant." Southern Literary Journal 22.2 (1990): 33-44. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism.  Vol. 103.  Detroit: Gale, 1998. 229-234.


  • “Mountaintop Removal, Methamphetamine, and Appalachian Homeland Insecurities in The Evening Hour.” Canadian Association for American Studies, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
  • “Eliza Gant’s illness Narratives of Loss and Restitution.” Thomas Wolfe Society 38th Annual Meeting, Asheville, NC
  • “Teaching Wolfe in the Twenty-First Century” (panel presentation). Thomas Wolfe Society 37th Annual Meeting, Albany, NY
  • “Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Walter Dandy, and the Death of Thomas Wolfe.” Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association/Death in American Culture, Baltimore, MD
  • “Thomas Wolfe and “the great engine” Johns Hopkins Hospital.”  Thomas Wolfe Society 35thth Annual Meeting, Boise, ID
  • “Johns Hopkins Hospital in the Life and Works of Thomas Wolfe.”  Society for the Study of Southern Literature Meeting.  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
  • “The Deaths of Ben and Gant: Thomas Wolfe as Family and Medical Historian.” Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association Conference/Death in American Culture, Philadelphia, PA
  • "Writing the Body: Illness in Look Homeward, Angel."  Thomas Wolfe Society 32nd Annual Meeting, Greenville, SC 
  • “Orphanhood and the Other as Mother in The Secret Life of Bees.” Children’s Literature Association 36th Annual Conference.  Charlotte, NC
  • “Narrative, Work, and Grief in Thomas Wolfe’s The Lost Boy.”  Thomas Wolfe Society 30th Annual Meeting, St. Louis, MO
  • "Memory, Landscape, and the Mother's Body in Spence + Lila." Southern Women Writers Conference, Berry College, Mt. Berry, GA
  • "Mediating the Matriarchal/Patriarchal Dichotomy in Lee Smith's Saving Grace." American Academy of Religion Southeastern Regional Conference, Knoxville, TN
  • "Feather Crowns: Commodifying Southern Motherhood." Society for the Study of Southern Literature Meeting, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA
  • "Crossing Blood: Some Southern Dynamics of Race, Gender, and Language." Virginia Humanities Conference, Christopher Newport College, Newport News, VA

Courses Taught

  American Studies

  • The 1840s
  • The 1930s
  • Love in America
  • Growing up Southern
  • Southern Folklore and Literature
  • Appalachian Literature and Culture


  • Contemporary Southern Women Writers
  • 20th Century Southern Novel
  • Modern American Literature
  • American Literature Survey
  • Literature of the American South
  • Appalachian Literature
  • North Carolina Writers
  • Masterpieces of Modern Fiction
  • Major American Writers
  • Introduction to Poetry
  • Approaches to Literature
  • American Literature 1870-1920
  • American Literature 1920 to the Present
  • Nineteenth Century American Novel

Professional Service (selected)

  • Distinguished Service Director, Thomas Wolfe Society, 2013-present
  • President, Thomas Wolfe Society, 2011-13
  • Vice-President, Thomas Wolfe Society, 2009-11
  • Editor, The Thomas Wolfe Review, 2013-Present
  • Consulting Editor, The Thomas Wolfe Review, 2009-13
  • Manuscript Reader:  University of Ohio Press, University of Missouri Press. University of South Carolina Press, North Carolina Literary ReviewStudies in the NovelMosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of LiteratureMELUS: The Journal for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, Journal Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s StudiesSigns: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

Community Service (selected)

  • Vice-President for Government Relations, Board of Directors, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Charlotte, NC, 2003-2007. 
  • Delegate, Call to Congress, American Diabetes Association, Washington, DC, 2004.
  • Primary lobbyist for NC Senate Bill 911, "Care for School Children with Diabetes Act," which passed unanimously in House and Senate of the North Carolina legislature and was signed into state law in 2002. Senate Bill 911 / S.L. 2002-103.

Administrative Appointments

  • Director, American Studies Program, 2002-present
  • Interim Director, Women and Gender Studies Program, 2012-2014
  • Interim Director, Graduate Liberal Studies (MALS) Program, 2008-2009