Katherine Otis, Ph.D.

Program Director of History; Assistant Professor of History
Katie Otis

Dr. Otis earned her Ph.D in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has expertise in twentieth-century U.S. social and cultural history. Her research and teaching interests include: the history of civil rights and social activism, African American history, women’s history, the history of the US South, the history of aging and retirement, and oral history. Dr. Otis is the proud mother of an exuberant middle schooler. She is an animal lover and nature nut. She lives in Raleigh with her family, whose non-human members include two cats, several fish, and a bearded dragon. Her favorite Raleigh restaurant is Neomonde.

“I love the students at WPU! Our students are smart, creative, enthusiastic, warmhearted, and fun.”


  • BA History, The College of William & Mary
  • MA History, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Ph.D. History, UNC-Chapel Hill

Activities & Honors

  • Faculty member, Honors Committee and WPU Commitment to Community Taskforce
  • Fellowship, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia, 2006-2007
  • University of North Carolina Graduate School’s Centennial Award for Graduate and Professional Students: Outstanding Research Benefitting the State of North Carolina, 2003
  • Highest Honors, History and American Studies, College of William and Mary, 1996
  • Panelist, numerous academic conferences

Research & Publications

  • Everything Old is New Again: A Cultural and Social History of Old Age in America, 1950-2000. Doctoral dissertation under revision for publication with UNC Press.
  • “When I’m Sixty-Four: The Sexual Revolution Among Older Americans.”
    In-progress with the Journal of American Studies. Publication pending revisions.
  • Book Review, Journal of American History, June 2012. Review of From Sun Cities to the Villages: A History of Active Adult, Age-Restricted Communities, by Judith Ann Trolander (2011).
  • “Maggie Kuhn,” in Women in American History: An Encyclopedia, Facts on File, 2010. Edited by Hasia Diner.
  • Book Review, North Carolina Historical Review, July 2004. Review of Beyond Black and White: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest, edited by Stephanie Cole and Alison Parker (2004).