Micki McElya is professor of History and affiliated faculty with the Africana Studies Institute, the American Studies Program, and the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at the University of Connecticut. She specializes in the histories of women, gender, racial formation, and sexuality in the United States from the Civil War to the present, with an emphasis on political culture and memory. Her recent book The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery (2016, 2019), named a Choice outstanding academic book, won the John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies and the inaugural Sharon Harris Book Award from the University of Connecticut's Humanities Institute; it was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction and the Jefferson Davis Book Award from the American Civil War Museum. McElya is also the author of Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America (2007) as well as several articles and book chapters. Before joining the faculty of the University of Connecticut, she was an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama. She is currently at work on a book entitled No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation, which is under contract with Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster). This project has received support from a fellowship with the UConn Humanities Institute and the NEH Public Scholars program.
An examination of American politics and culture through the lens of the Miss America Pageant and those who have loved it, loathed it, protested it, and remained indifferent since 1921.