Trained as an historian, I study the role of gender and sexuality in forming and re-forming communities in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States. I am particularly interested in religious communities, and work to widen the scope of U.S. women’s and gender history to take into account the experiences and cultural history of American Catholics—the nation’s largest religious denomination by the mid-nineteenth century, but a population still very much under-studied.
My current book project, The Young Catholic: Girlhood and the Making of American Catholicism focuses on the vast output of a vibrant American Catholic publishing industry, and the young women readers, writers, and educational institutions that grew up around it during the second half of the nineteenth century. I use books and reading to illustrate the formation of Catholic laywomen’s identities and highlight the role of laywomen and their daughters as makers of culture and status for upwardly mobile, second- and third-generation American Catholics. In the process, my research demonstrates the ways in which gender, cultural and devotional life, and class mobility were inextricably linked by the turn of the 20th century.
Publications associated with this project include:
- ” ‘Have You Ever Read?’ Imagining Women, Bibles, and Religious Print in Nineteenth-Century America,” in the peer-reviewed journal U.S. Catholic Historian 31.3 (Summer 2013) [link]
- “The Place of Catholic Women’s Culture” (Religion in American History, 2013) [link]
I am also working to document the visual culture of Puerto Rican Catholic childhoods in mid-20th century New York City, and writing on the intersections of race, religion, and sexuality for a forthcoming title in the Oxford Handbook series.
Additional article projects in progress include a reflection on finding women’s work (and women workers) in the archives of Black at Bryn Mawr, with Grace Pusey, and an assessment of campus history projects as care work.
For full academic information, see my CV (updated 12/2016).