Return to Directory

Kathryn (Kate) Wilson

Associate Professor

PhD, Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1996
MA, Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1991
BA, History, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 1986


Public history, material culture, museums, oral history, immigrant and ethnic history, urban history


Kathryn (Kate) Wilson has an M.A. and Ph.D. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania and received her B.A. in History at Georgetown University. She has worked in public history since 1997, specifically directing community-oriented, K-12 education, and online projects as Director of Education and Interpretation at The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies and Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She joined the GSU faculty in 2008.

Dr. Wilson’s research interests lie in immigration/ethnic studies, public history, oral history, urban studies, and material culture. She has published on nineteenth-century women’s clothing practices, the representation of immigrants in public history and culture and the impact of ethnic and immigrant communities on the urban cultural landscape. Her book, Ethnic Renewal in Philadelphia’s Chinatown: Space, Place, and Struggle, was published by Temple University Press in 2015. Currently, she is researching the history of refugee resettlement in the greater Atlanta area, and the racialized memory and history of three cities in DeKalb County.

At GSU she teaches HIST 2110 US Survey, HIST 4225 Immigrants in America, HIST 4325 Introduction to Public History and Historic Preservation, HIST 4330/6920 Oral History, HIST 7040 Issues & Interpretations in Public History, HIST 8740 Material Culture, and HIST 8800 Directed Study in Public History. She is the primary advisor for all Masters of Heritage Preservation (MHP) students in the public history track.

Curriculum vitae


Ethnic Renewal in Philadelphia’s Chinatown: Space, Place and Struggle (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2015).

“From Peopling to Postethnic: Pennsylvania Pluralism Reconsidered,” with Rosalind Beiler, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 140 no. 3 (October 2016), 257-270.

“Same Struggle, Same Fight”: Yellow Seeds and the Asian American Movement in Philadelphia’s Chinatown,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 140 no. 3 (October 2016), 423-425.

“Reflections on Engaging Immigrant Communities in Museums,” with Jill K. Stein and Cecilia Garibay, Museum and Social Issues (vol. 3 no. 2) Fall 2008: 179-195.

“Crafting Community-Based Museum Experiences: Process, Pedagogy, and Performance,” in Transforming Practice: Selections from the Journal of Museum Education, 1992-1999, ed. Joanne Hirsch and Lois Silverman (Museum Education Roundtable, 2000), 110-118.

“Commodifying Craft, Creating Community: Women’s Vernacular Dress in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia,” in The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption, and Homedressmaking, ed. Barbara Burman (Berg Publishers, 1999), 141-156.

“Chinatown,” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia (peer-reviewed), 2015. (

“To be or not to be Mayberry? Avondale’s reputation hides complicated past,” decaturish, September 30, 2020,

“’The right kind of neighbors’: Race and the origins of Avondale Estates,” decaturish, September 16, 2020,

“Atlanta: Immigrant Gateway to the Globalized South,” History@Work (NCPH blog), February 19, 2020,

“Exploring Civic Engagement with ‘Kitchen Conversations,’” History@Work (NCPH blog), June 18, 2018 ( (part of a special series on teaching The Public Historian)

“From bachelor enclave to urban village: The evolution of early Chinatown,” Pennsylvania Legacies 12:1 (May 2012), 12-17.

“Rebuilding Philadelphia’s Gold Mountain: Themed Space and Living Community in Transition,” Pioneer America Society Transactions (PAST) 35, 2012. (