Mariah Kupfner, Ph.D.

Mariah Kupfner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of American Studies and Public Heritage, School of Humanities
Olmsted Bldg, W356
777 West Harrisburg Pike
W356 Olmsted Building
Middletown, PA 17057

Mariah Kupfner is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Public Heritage at Penn State Harrisburg. She holds a Ph.D. in American & New England Studies from Boston University. Her research is in the intersection of material culture and women's & gender studies. Her dissertation, "'...Has Ever Been the Appropriate Occupation of Woman': Crafting Femininity in American Women's Decorative Needlework, 1820-1920," was awarded Boston University's Keith N. Morgan Prize. Her current book project examines core themes of the developing women’s movement in the United States from 1820 to 1920—the abolition of slavery, women’s property ownership, education, political identity, and the franchise—through the lens of decorative needlework. Her research recaptures the significant contributions that needleworkers made to women’s cultural and political activism and considers gender itself as a crafted form.

Previously, Kupfner worked as a postdoctoral curatorial fellow at Historic New England and as a program coordinator for the Boston University Public Humanities Undergraduate Fellowship Program. She has worked in public humanities, public history, and the museum field and is deeply committed to publicly engaged scholarship. She also serves on the leadership team for the Material Culture Caucus of the American Studies Association. Her work has appeared in the Winterthur Portfolio and the Material Culture Review and in public-facing venues like Nursing Clio (also under the name "Mariah Gruner"). Her areas of teaching expertise include: American visual and material culture, women's & gender history, public history, and museum and public heritage studies

  • Women's and Gender Study
  • US Women's History
  • 19th Century American History
  • Women's Suffrage
  • Antislavery and Abolitionist Movements
  • Visual Culture
  • Material Culture
  • Textiles and Needlework
  • Craftivism
  • Public Heritage and Public History
  • Museum Studies

Mariah Gruner, "'May the points of our needles prick': Antislavery Needlework and the Cultivation of the Abolitionist Self," Winterthur Portfolio v. 55, no. 2-3 (2021): 85-120.

Mariah Gruner, "Materiality, Affect, and the Archive: The Possibility of Feminist Nostalgia in Contemporary Handkerchief Embroidery," Material Culture Review v. 86, (2017): 15-34.

Ph.D. and M.A. in American & New England Studies, Boston University

B.A. in Anthropology, Tufts University