Kaitlyn Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of South Carolina specializing in Southern Literature, is hard at work in the Welty Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History conducting research for an article for publication as well as for her dissertation. Her research topic is “Eudora Welty as a Southern Theorist of Technology.” She was selected to receive the 2019 Welty Graduate Research Fellowship awarded by the Eudora Welty Foundation and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and is working in the collection for two weeks in July.
Smith is delving into Welty’s correspondence, essays and short fiction in publications and series, and The Robber Bridegroom files as she explores “Welty’s notion of progress.” She is searching for technology references including the electric light, household appliances, radio, and television. Other subjects of her research will include Welty’s uncollected stories; selected stories from A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, The Golden Apples, and The Bride of the Innisfallen; and “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” She will be noting Welty’s treatment of technology across her career, including the automobile.
Earlier studies in Southern literature were the impetus for her selection of this topic, particularly how technology was slower to reach the South than other areas of the country. Smith received her B. A. in English summa cum laude from Lee University and her M. A. in English from the University of Georgia, where her thesis topic was “‘Now You Are Aware of Me!’: The Spatial Authority of William Faulkner’s Women.”