Christy Pottroff is an assistant professor of English at Merrimack College in Massachusetts.
Her current book project is a literary history of the U.S. Postal Service. The book will demonstrate the surprising extent to which the postal system determined the kinds of literary works that could emerge from and circulate within the United States between 1790 and 1870. Sometimes, the cost of a stamp or an exclusionary policy could have profound effects on who could be writers and readers. Her interest in the history of media and technology likewise drives her work on a digital humanities mapping project that traces the expansion of the postal system in its first century. Research for this project is supported by the Historical Society of Philadelphia, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Bibliographical Society of America, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, the American Antiquarian Society, the Harrison Institute at the University of Virginia, Santander International Universities, the NYC Digital Humanities Group, and Fordham University.
When Dr. Christy Pottroff teaches early American literature courses (her specialty), she helps students understand the broader historical and cultural contexts of classic literary texts using interdisciplinary techniques. In addition to reading literary works by Benjamin Franklin, Phillis Wheatley, and Edgar Allan Poe, her classes listen to popular music from long-past eras; study the newest technologies, including the printing press, the clock, and the telescope; experiment with colonial-era recipes; and learn from newspapers and other media circulating alongside novels and other literary forms. Professor Pottroff's classes help her students better understand the many ways people told stories in the past.
Christy Pottroff has a PhD from Fordham University in New York City. She has a M.A. in Cultural Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from Kansas State University.