Dr. Amy L. Sopcak Joseph

Amy Sopcak-Joseph headshot

Assistant Professor History
Global Cultures

137-159 South Franklin Street Breiseth 102
amy.sopcakjoseph@wilkes.edu
(570) 408-4221

  • PhD in History, University of Connecticut
  • Graduate Certificate in College Instruction, University of Connecticut
  • MA in History, University of Connecticut
  • BA in English and History, Dickinson College, Cum laude

Amy Sopcak-Joseph is a historian of early American social, cultural, and economic history with interests in women’s and gender history as well as the history of the book. Her research examines the business and politics of culture to better understand how media responds to and shapes gendered and racialized systems of power and identity. Her dissertation, “Fashioning American Women: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Nineteenth-Century Periodical Publishing,” was awarded the Zuckerman Prize in American Studies. Dr. Sopcak-Joseph is currently revising her dissertation into a book that traces changes in content, material text, product identity, and business practices of the monthly magazine, the Lady’s Book, from its founding in 1830 to the 1877 retirements of its publisher Louis A. Godey and editor Sarah Josepha Hale.

Dr. Sopcak-Joseph also has experience as a public historian. As the Education Coordinator at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, she coordinated three Teaching American History grants. These large federal grants provided professional development to K-12 teachers. She collaborated with archivists, museum professionals, and history professors to develop teacher workshops as well as public programming.

Dr. Amy Sopcak-Joseph is an American historian focusing on early American social, cultural and economic history, especially the history of the book and women’s and gender history. In 2020, her dissertation, “Fashioning American Women: Godey’s Lady’s Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century,” was awarded the prestigious Zuckerman Prize in American Studies by the McNeil Center for Early America Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to earning her PhD. at the University of Connecticut, she worked as a public history professional at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, making her a tremendous resource for students interested in public history and digital history. In her classes, she has led trips to the Luzerne County Historical Society and organized students in the creation of a “Wilkes in 2020” collection, to document the life of the campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also facilitates opportunities for students outside the classroom, receiving a grant for the “History Research Lab,” mentoring students in primary source research over the summer. Her advisees have also taken advantage of opportunities in digital history, recent projects include digitizing Wilkes’ yearbooks from 1947-2019.

Dr. Sopcak-Joseph offers a range of courses for majors and non-majors, including:

  • American History 1 (survey)
  • Colonial America
  • The New Nation
  • History and Memory of the American Civil War
  • American Women’s History
  • Introduction to Public History
  • Historical Foundations of the Modern World (survey)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Reconstructing and Gendering the Distribution Networks of Godey’s Lady’s Book in the Nineteenth Century,” Book History 22 (2019): 161-195.

  • Recipient of an Honorable Mention, Research Society for American Periodicals’ 2018-2019 Article Prize competition
  • Recipient of Book History’s 2019 Graduate Student Essay Prize

Book Reviews

U.S. Popular Print Culture to 1860, vol. 5 of The Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, edited by Ronald J. Zboray and Mary Saracino Zboray, in Journal of the Early Republic (Winter 2020): 763-767.

In the Neighborhood: Women’s Publication in Early America, by Caroline Wigginton, in SHARP News, http://www.sharpweb.org/sharpnews/2018/05/11/caroline-wigginton-in-the-neighborhood-womens-publication-in-early-america.

Digital and Public Humanities

“Following the Fashions: A Basic American Pastime,” The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History, September 14, 2018, https://earlyamericanists.com/2018/09/14/following-the-fashions-a-basic-american-pastime.
  • Summer Mentorship Grant, Wilkes University, 2021
  • Zuckerman Prize in American Studies, McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, 2020
  • Draper Dissertation Fellowship, University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, 2018-2019
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Program in Early American Economy and Society at the Library Company of Philadelphia, 2017
  • Short-Term Fellowship, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2017
  • Research Grant, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, 2015-2016
  • Jay and Deborah Last Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, 2015
  • Reese Award in American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas, Virginia Historical Society, 2015
  • Short-Term Fellowship, Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South and the University of Alabama Libraries, 2015
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Short-Term Fellowship, Library Company of Philadelphia, 2015
  • Directors’ Scholarship, Rare Book School, 2012