Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols, Ph.D.

Professor of Spanish

(417) 873-6925
 Pearsons Room 319
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Dr. Elizabeth Gackstetter Nichols became a member of the Drury University faculty in 1997 after earning her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Kansas.

Dr. Nichols specializes in Latin American Culture in the area of Women and Gender Studies with current research interests in International Beauty Practices, Cosplay and Popular Culture..

In 2012 Dr. Nichols received a Fulbright award to teach and study in Argentina and is also the contributing editor at large for Venezuela and Colombia for the Library of Congress’ Handbook of Latin American Studies. In 2016, Dr. Nichols co-authored a multi-million-dollar Federal Grant to provide first-year success services to the children and families of migrant students. She continues as PI on the grant and teaches in Monett as part of the CAMP program.

Dr. Nichols is the author of a variety of books, articles and encyclopedia entries in her research fields, including:

  • Venezuela: In Focus. (with Kimberly J. Morse). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2010.
  • Popular Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean: (With Timothy Robbins). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2015.
  • No Such Thing as Inner Beauty: Dress, Cosmetics and Success in Venezuela 1850-2015. New York: Lexington.
  • Beauty Around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia. (With Erin Kenny). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. 

Dr. Nichols’ current research deals with the international practice of cosplay, or “costume-play” in the United States, Mexico and across the Americas. She is a cosplayer herself, a cosplay mom and an advocate for fan-led artistic creativity. She blogs at

Dr. Nichols is the faculty advisor for the Drury Cosplay Club, and serves as Public Relations Lead for Visioncon: Missouri’s Premier Pop Culture Convention.

Articles Forthcoming in 2019:

  • "Playing with Identity: Storytelling, Performance and Feminine Agency in Cosplay," in Continuum: A Journal of Media and Cultural Studies (Taylor & Francis)
  • "Weirdo Barbie and Punk-Rock Daddy's Girl: Ambiguity, Gendered Identity and Appearance of Eleven in Stranger Things" Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media, (Swinburne University)

B.A., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1991
M.A., University of Kansas, 1993
Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1997

Drury University faculty member since 1997
Professor since 2009