Arts & Humanities

Faculty - Arts and Humanities

Katharine Ings

Dr. Katharine Ings 

Department Chair of English
Associate Professor of English


A native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, Dr. Katharine Nicholson Ings was educated at the University of Ottawa, (B.A. Honors English, magna cum laude) and Indiana University Bloomington (M.A., Ph.D.).  She is also the first graduate of King’s-Edgehill School, Nova Scotia, to earn an International Baccalaureate diploma.

Professor Ings specializes in nineteenth-century American literature, particularly the relationships between black and white men and women during the Civil War.  Her dissertation, Illegal Fictions: White Women Writers and the Miscegenated Imagination 1857–1869, explores how white women wrote fiction about interracial romance.  Her publications on this topic include “Blackness and the Literary Imagination: Uncovering The Hidden Hand” (inPassing and the Fictions of Identity, ed. Elaine Ginsburg, Duke UP, 1996) and “Between Hoax and Hope: Miscegenation and Nineteenth-Century Interracial Romance” (in Literature Compass, Blackwell, v. 3, [May 2006]).

Professor Ings often incorporates traditional arts from the nineteenth century into her classes.  For instance, students in her African American literature class have hand-pieced log cabin quilts in the tradition of the Underground Railroad; students studying Hawthorne have embroidered their own scarlet letter on linen.

In addition to classes in American literature and Modern literature, Professor Ings teaches journalism and editing.  She has over twenty years experience as a professional copyeditor, having worked both in-house and in a freelance capacity for W. W. Norton and Company.  She has copyedited various Norton Anthologies, including the Norton Anthology of English Literature and theNorton Anthology of American Literature, as well as many of the Norton Critical Editions, including The Scarlet Letter and 12 Years a Slave.  Her academic and personal background came full circle when she copyedited the NCE of Anne of Green Gables, the classic Prince Edward Island story. 

 As a journalist, Professor Ings writes about fashion and culture for Selvedge, the London textile and style magazine. She has interviewed sources from Philip Treacy (the Irish milliner who designed many headpieces for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding, to Alexander Pope, a Project Runwaycontestant, to Jenny King, a master embroiderer for designers like Vivienne Westwood and Erdem. Ings’ fashion background complements her class The Fashion Police: Understanding the Clothes on Our Backs, which analyzes the significance of clothing while situating garments within their consumer and manufacturing contexts.

The director of Gender Studies, Professor Ings also teaches “Women and Literature” and “Feminist Theory” (team-taught with Professor Leonard Williams). Her essay, “The Muse Speaks: Women in Literature and Film” has been part of the reading material for students in “Introduction to Gender Studies.”

For her publication record in journalism, editorial work, and traditional scholarship, Professor Ings was named Manchester University’s 2015 Scholar of the Year.