I teach courses in colonial literature and in late 19th and early 20th century American literature focusing on: the emergence of an American national identity; American success culture; book history; emerging African American, Asian American, and women's voices; and the history of American Realism.
I am currently completing a book manuscript entitled Reading Up: Middle-Class Readers and the American Dream, a study of reading advice from mass-marketed reading manuals and reading columns in popular magazines like The Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. This study looks at the ways an emerging middle class of readers was being encouraged to read "the best books" as a means of self-improvement and, ultimately, for social and financial advancement; it then looks at the historical reception of works that were popular "best-sellers" despite their criticism of the culture of upward mobility, reading fan mail, book reviews, and letters to mass-market periodicals for hints of how readers reacted to, and in many cases willfully misread, works by Edith Wharton, Sinclair Lewis, and others. Articles related to this project may be found in American Literature and in Studies in American Fiction.
I am also beginning a social history of the ur-text of American success culture — Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography--tracing the book's waxing (and sometimes waning) popularity from the 1700s to the present.
- American Literature
- Women's Studies
- Literature and Popular Culture
- Mon 9:00-10:00
- TU 9:00-11:00
- 2520/102 Amer Lit 2 MWF 11:00-11:50 DS375
- 4530/101 AMer Lit 1865-1914 MWF 1:00-1:50 DS365
- Late 19th and Early 20th-century American Literature
- Early and New Republic-Era American Literature
- History of the Book
- Reception Studies
- History of American Periodicals
- Class and Gender Studies
- “Main Street Reading Main Street.” New Directions in American Reception Study. Eds. Philip Goldberg and James Machor. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- “Research Strategies on Women, Popular Culture, and Family Life in America, 1800-1920: Making Use of the Periodicals from the Everyday Life and Women in America Collection.” Everyday Life and Women in America. London: Adam Matthew Publications, 2006.
- “Misreading The House of Mirth.” American Literature 76:1 (2004): 149-175.
- “Rewriting Heroines: Ruth Todd’s ‘Florence Grey,’ Society Pages, and the Rhetorics of Success.” Studies in American Fiction 30:1 (2002): 103-128.
- National Humanities Center Summer Institute participant, 2005
- Summer Faculty Fellowship, Marquette University, 2004, 2005, 2006
- Regular Research Grant, Marquette University, 2006
- Faculty Development Grant, Graduate School, Marquette University (For travel to the Material Cultures Conference at the Center for the Book, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2005)
- Faculty hall-STAR Award, Residence Hall Honor Society, 2004 and 2007