Joshua G. Adair Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Joshua G. Adair

Associate Professor of English, Gender, and Diversity Studies
Murray State University

Joshua G. Adair is an associate professor of English at Murray State University, where he also serves as coordinator of Gender & Diversity Studies. Adair’s work, whether in literary, historical, or museum studies, examines the ways we narrate – and silence – gender and sexuality; it has appeared in over fifty scholarly and literary journals.


Since 2009 I have made my home in Murray, Kentucky, where I serve on the faculty at Murray State University in the Department of English and Philosophy.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Museums Studies
    Modern and Contemporary British Literature
    Queer Literature
    Queer Theory
    Queer History
    Beverley Nichols
    House Museums
    Material Culture
    Race, Gender, and Sexuality

Personal Interests

    In addition to being a writer and researcher, I am an assemblage artist. My work often features antique clock cases and cloches along with antique children's toys, ephemera, and other founds objects.

    I am also an avid antiques collector with special interests in American Empire furniture; Victorian majolica; early American pattern glass featuring hand motifs; early American textiles; various nineteenth-century Staffordshire wares, and folk art paintings. My partner and I have furnished our 1925 Arts & Crafts home, that we fully renovated together, with these objects.

    In addition, I enjoy running, gourmet cooking, entertaining, cake baking and decorating, and traveling.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Museums, Sexuality and Gender Activism - 1st Edition book cover



Online Teaching Activity connected to Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism pt. II

By: Joshua G. Adair
Subjects: Museum and Heritage Studies , Other

Part two:

To start, encourage students to visit the Battle of Franklin Trust’s podcast page ( to listen to some of the offerings with a critical ear. In what ways are listeners’ perspectives on the issues addressed forced? Does the podcast they selected represent facts, opinions, and/or both? Are there any noteworthy silences? How would your student revise this narrative considering the other information they’ve gathered thus far? Do men or women figure more prominently? Are their roles ever presented in sexist ways?

Then, ask students to spend some time exploring the more commercial aspects of Carnton, requiring them to pay special attention to the depiction/narration of weddings: What messages do the wedding photos convey? How are women featured? What aspects of femininity stand out? How do those narratives intersect with the ones offered about slavery and the Civil War? Ask students then to compile two lists of adjectives; one should be those pulled from the website, the other should describe their reactions. Spend some time discussing what these lists reveal.

To encourage their research further, ask them to search “Carnton Weddings” on Google, Instagram, and Facebook and to screenshot at least one surprising result. They should upload these screenshots with an explanation/discussion to your class platform (Blackboard, Canvas, etc.) I always ask students to connect these findings directly to the content we’ve covered already. What areas of incongruence can they interrogate when examining contemporary wedding culture on former sites of slavery and battle? In what ways is that history commodified? Whitewashed? Are stereotypical gender constructions at work here? How are visitors encouraged to insert themselves into these narratives?

Finally, ask students to watch this video: and to explore Alexander’s website. Ask students to consider the potential impacts of a local history museum being portrayed in fiction romance novels. How might commercial interests serve then to interrupt some narratives? Does genre connect to gender here? How might visitors and readers begin to misinterpret history as a result of this kind of work? How do we make sense of narratives that present history as both fact and fiction? Have they become interchangeable for some audiences?

Follow-up writing assignment: ask students to conduct further online research and offer a close reading of a specific visual or textual resource connected to another plantation museum in the U.S. Are there similarities between different sites? For instance, how often do “good slaveowner” narratives appear? Do women play significant roles? How often do sites focus upon architectural and domestic grandeur rather than the grotesque realities of slavery?

Presentation about Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism

By: Joshua G. Adair

A recent presentatoin for the debut of the book!

Online Teaching Activity connected to Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism pt. I

By: Joshua G. Adair
Subjects: Museum and Heritage Studies , Other

Plantation Museum Narratives and Gender

Part one:

For those of you endeavoring to adapt your museum studies courses to an online environment, I encourage you to explore narrative analysis – both visual and written – regarding the construction of gender on the websites of museums that were once plantations. I have created this lesson using my chapter from Museums, Sexuality, and Gender Activism (Routledge, 2020). This lesson can be used for learners of many levels – including high schoolers – to examine issues related to slavery, gender, fiction writing, and wedding traditions.

Begin by asking your student(s) to explore the website for the Battle of Franklin Trust ( – and especially the pages for Carnton. This is a good time to brush up on your own awareness of Civil War history, as well as your understanding of chattel slavery in the U.S. (and its global connections). Focusing on the page “Slavery in America,” (, ask students to read (and re-read) the narrative offered there. Can they find instances of bias? In what ways are adjectives and turns of phrase used to frame a specific perspective? How does that perspective interact with the ones offered elsewhere? Are women depicted in specific or curious ways? In attempting to answer this question, ask students to explore the following:

This is also an excellent time to ask students to evaluate other sources addressing slavery and its portrayal in order to strengthen their information literacy skills. Remind them to focus intently upon women’s roles here – how are they characterized differently than men? I often refer them to YouTube as a starting point. It offers many excellent documentaries about various aspects of the issue in historical and contemporary contexts. I particularly like a documentary about Wessyngton Plantation outside of Nashville, TN because it offers various narratives about the lives of two specific enslaved women – one who outlived slavery and one who did not. (

I'll be posting part two of this activity next week. In the meantime, you can find another engaging activity on the page of my co-editor, Amy K. Levin:

I also encourage you to check out the rest of our collection: