Elizabeth Young teaches courses in women writers, feminist theory, American literature, and film. Her scholarship analyzes intersections among gender, race, and sexuality in American culture.
Young is the author of Disarming the Nation: Women's Writing and the American Civil War (University of Chicago Press, 1999), which discusses works ranging from the novels Little Women and Gone with the Wind to African American women's memoirs of the war to narratives of women who cross-dressed as male soldiers. The Journal of American History has hailed Young's first book as "an illuminating analysis of women's Civil War literature that successfully challenges assertions that a heroic masculinity constituted the war's literary heritage." Disarming the Nation was named an Outstanding Academic Title by the journal Choice, and Young was honored with Mount Holyoke's Meribeth E. Cameron Prize for Faculty Scholarship.
Young is also the author of Black Frankenstein: The Making of an American Metaphor (New York University Press, 2008), a study of race and the Frankenstein metaphor in American literature, culture, and film of the last two centuries. She is the co-author, with Anthony W. Lee, of On Alexander Gardner's "Photographic Sketch Book" of the Civil War (University of California Press, 2007), a study of the relation between images and words in one of the most famous volumes of Civil War photographs.
She has contributed chapters to The End of Cinema as We Know It (New York University Press, 2002), Subjects and Citizens: Nation, Race, and Gender from "Oronooko" to Anita Hill (Duke University Press, 1995), and The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film (University of Texas Press, 1996). Her articles have appeared in the American Quarterly and Camera Obscura.
- "The racial metaphor of Frankstein," Office of Communications and Marketing, August 9, 2016
- "MHC's Young to Discuss Black Frankenstein," Office of Communications, October 8, 2008
- "Elizabeth Young to Discuss Her Life Journey," Office of Communications, November 6, 2007
- "Questioning Authority: Elizabeth Young on Frankenstein," Office of Communications, October 31, 2007
- "2007 Commencement: Baccalaureate Address," Office of Communications, May 25, 2007
- "A Fresh Perspective on How Post-Civil War America Took Shape," Office of Communications, March 20, 2007
- "A Fresh Perspective on How Post-Civil War America Took Shape" Chicago Tribune, March 18, 2007
- "Elizabeth Young in Chicago Tribune Reviews Book," Office of Communications, March 22, 2006
- "Heroism's Hues: Chicago Tribune Features Elizabeth Young's Review of New Social History of the Battle of Gettysburg,"College Street Journal, March 25, 2005
- "The War as Complex Metaphor: Elizabeth Young Looks at Women's Writings about the Civil War," College Street Journal, February 11, 2000
- "Two narratives add a literary aspect to the literal horrors of slavery"The Chicago Tribune Book Review, August 11, 2002