Ph.D. The University of Iowa, American Studies Program, 1994
M. A. The University of Iowa, American Studies Program, 1991
B. A. Brandeis University, American Studies Department, 1987
summa cum laude Phi Beta Kappa
My research explores the history of American popular culture, with particular focus on social groups struggle for equal access to theatrical space and to what they consider favorable representation on stage and screen. My book, Rank Ladies: Gender and Cultural Hierarchy in American Vaudeville (University of North Carolina Press) was published in 1999.
My current research project is "The Devil's Melting Pot: Irish, Jewish and African American Protests against Mass Culture, 1890-1930." It explores how racial and ethnic groups rose up against stereotypes of themselves. These groups often advocated race-based censorship (or what we refer to as hate speech codes today). This work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Grants & Awards
Rockefeller Fellowship, Center for Ethnicities, Communities and Social Policy, Bryn Mawr College, September 2004-September 2005 ($40,000).
American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, September 2000 - September 2001 ($25,000)
Scholar-in-Residence, Pennsylvania State Archives, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 2005 ($1500)
Loewenstein-Wiener Fellowship, American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, 2002 ($2500)
Hibernian Research Award, CUSHWA Center for the Study of American Catholicism, 1999 ($2000)
Rank Ladies: Gender and Cultural Hierarchy in American Vaudeville (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), cloth and paper.
Co-winner, Emily Toth Prize in Feminism and Popular Culture,Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
“Paddy, Shylock and Sambo: Irish, Jewish and African American Efforts to Ban Racial Ridicule from Stage and Screen” In Cultural Contestation and the Symbolic Landscape: Politics by Other Means? ed. marc Howard Ross, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.
“Pigs, Green Whiskers, and Drunken Widows: Irish Nationalists and the ‘Practical Censorship of McFadden’s Row of Flats in 1902 and 1903.” Journal of American Studies 42.3 (December 2008): 489-514.
“The Stage Irishwoman,” Journal of American Ethnic History 24.3 (Spring 2005): 5-30.
Students in my senior seminar in American Studies have produced two collaborative research projects about popular entertainment in Lancaster. The first was an exploration of racial division in the audience and the racial representation on stage a the Fulton Opera House; the second was an examination of the 100-year history of Lancaster's now-defunct amusement park, Rocky Springs. In the 1960s F&M professors and alumni were involved in the legal campaign to desegregate the swimming pool at this park.