Dr. Cory Pillen

Dr. Cory Pillen
Director of Center of Southwest Studies
Associate Professor of Art History and Gender and Sexuality Studies


  • 19th- and 20th-century U.S. Visual Culture  
  • Gender Studies
  • Graphic Design History
  • Environmental History


  • Ph.D., Art History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013 
  • M.A., Art History, 19th- and 20th-Century U.S. Visual Culture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005 
  • B.A., Integrated Studies (Arts Administration), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1994 


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About Dr. Cory Pillen

Cory Pillen is Director of the Center of Southwest Studies, an Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art & Design, and an affiliated faculty member in the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Fort Lewis College. Cory’s research focuses on 19th and 20th-century U.S. visual culture.

She has presented papers at professional conferences throughout the United States and has published articles in journals like the Journal of American Culture and Rutgers Art Review. Cory’s first book, which addresses posters produced by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s and early 1940s, was published by Routledge in March 2020 as a part of its Research in Art and Politics Series.

Supported by grants and fellowships from Fort Lewis College, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Duke University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the book explores various ways WPA posters addressed contemporary social concerns such as leisure, conservation, health, and housing through the promotion of knowledge and literacy. 

Selected Publications and Presentations 

“‘Treason in the Textbooks:’ Harold Rugg, Visual Culture, and the American Way,” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, 2017

“WPA Posters, New Deal Reform, and the Visual Rhetoric of Modern Planning,” 11th Biennial Symposium of the Latrobe Chapter of The Society of Architectural Historians, Art in Architecture, Architecture in Art, Washington, D.C., 2015 

“Popular Culture and Protest in Appalachia,” 37th Annual Appalachian Studies Conference, panel moderator, Huntington, West Virginia, 2014 

“The Art of Reading,” 15th Annual Space Between: Literature and Culture, 1914-1945 Conference, Chicago, 2013 

“The Ryƍgoku Bridge in Ukiyo-e,” Chazen Museum of Art Bulletin, 2010 

“Make Your Health Points: FAP Posters and Public Health Education,” College Art Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, 2010 

“See America:  WPA Posters and the Mapping of a New Deal Democracy,” The Journal of American Culture, 2008