Elizabeth Fine


Elizabeth Fine

Professor Emerita, Humanities


Department Membership

Religion and Culture


  • Performance Studies
  • African American folklore
  • Appalachian Studies

Professional Activities

  • Program Chair, Peacock-Harper Culinary History Friends
  • Board Member, WiRED International
  • American Folkore Society
  • Appalachian Studies Association


  • Ph.D., Communication, University of Texas at Austin
  • M.A., Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley
  • B.S., Speech, and Special Honors in English, University of Texas at Austin 

Research Interests

    Awards and Honors

    Research Award, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences,  2015

    Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought Outstanding Faculty Award, Fall, 2014

    The Lilla A. Heston Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Interpretation and Performance Studies, presented by the Speech Communication Association, 1993

    Selected Publications


    Soulstepping: African American Step Shows. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003. 179 pp. First paperback edition, 2007.

    The Folklore Text: From Performance to Print. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. First paperback edition and reprint of cloth edition, 1994. 244 pp. 

    Edited Books

    Performance, Culture, and Identity (with Jean Haskell Speer). Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1992. 303 pp. 


    "Wearing the Trickster Mask in the Contemporary Social Movements of Anonymous and Occupy." In Communicator Opportunities and Responsibilities in Volatile Times,  Proceedings of the 2012 International Colloquium on Communication, 4-18.  Edited by Eric E. Peterson and Annette Mönnich. Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries, Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech, 2014. 

    “Rhetorical Strategies of Environmental Cyberactivists.” In The Evolving Media’s Impact on Rhetoric and Society: Critical and Ethical Issues: Proceedings of the 2010 International Colloquium on Communication, 92-107. Edited by Elizabeth C. Fine and Gary W. Selnow.  Digital Library and Archives, University Libraries, Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech, 2012.  

    “Lazy Jack: Coding and Contextualizing Resistance in Appalachian Women’s Narratives.” Appalachia and the South: Place, Gender, Pedagogy. Special Issue of National Women’s Studies Association Journal 11, no. 3 (1999): 112-137.

    “Stepping, Saluting, Cracking, and Freaking:  The Cultural Politics of African-American Step Shows.”  The Drama Review: A Journal of Performance Studies 35, no. 2 (1991): 39-59. Reprinted in Michigan Folklife Annual  [East Lansing, Michigan:  Michigan State University Museum, 1996]: 60-73 and A Sourcebook on African-American Performance: Plays, People, Movements. Ed. Annemarie Bean, 165-89. London: Routledge, 1998.       


    Sponsored Research

    Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.  Developing Interpretive Plan for the Outbuilding at Solitude. Principal Investigator. $2,150. April 4, 2015.

    Virginia Foundation for the Humanities Grant. First National Conference on Stepping. Principal Investigator.  $5,000. April, 2001.

    National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, to conduct research on history of African American step shows at Howard University. $5,000, Summer, 1995.