Ph.D. - Literature and Womens Studies
Duke University - 1997
B.S. - Social Science
Michigan State University - 1991
B.A. - English
Michigan State University - 1991
I am a scholar of American popular literature and a historian of print culture. My larger intellectual project is to write a more representative American literary history, situating more conventionally literary works in a larger cultural field of printed materials and communities of readers. I am currently working on a book about the reception of American women’s cold-war crime fiction.
My most recent book, What Would Jesus Read?: Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America (U of North Carolina P, 2015) examines selected best-selling religious books; the literary, religious, and commercial institutions that make them available to readers; and the communities of readers they help construct in twentieth-century America. Bringing together scholarship on book history, consumer culture, and lived religion in America, it examines how religion continues to shape what and how we read, even in this secular age. Fellowships and summer stipends from the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Louisville Institute funded the project. Related work was published in journals such as American Literary History, Book History, and Canadian Review of American Studies.
My first book, Hard-Boiled: Working-Class Readers and Pulp Magazines (Temple UP, 2000) was funded in part by a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and was nominated for an Anthony Award for the best nonfiction book published about mysteries. It considers American hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s and the mostly male, working-class readers who encountered it in pulp magazines and cheap paperbacks. The project’s methodological innovation is to use a variety of unconventional sources--pulp magazine advertising, the memoirs of writers and publishers, Depression-era studies of adult reading habits, labor history--to reconstruct popular reading practices in the absence of records left by readers themselves. I demonstrate how this fiction shaped working-class male readers into consumers by selling them what they wanted to hear—stories about embattled, white artisan-heroes who resisted encroaching commodity culture and the consuming women who came with it. I argue that these readers were active participants in the creation of a working-class variant of consumer culture, a culture most scholars see reflecting the needs of middle-class women.
"Some Thoughts on Privilege, Oppression, and the World in the Classroom." Class and the College Classroom. Continuum, 2013. Reprinted from Radical Teacher 68 (2003): 23-26. 2013 - Publication
"Popular Literature." Oxford Encyclopedia of American Intellectual and Cultural History. Ed. Joan Shelley Rubin and Scott Casper. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 664-70. 2013 - publications
"Religion and Popular Print Culture." U.S. Popular Print Culture, 1860-1920. Vol.6. Oxford History of Popular Print Culture. Ed. Christine Bold. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 277-92. 2012 - Publication
“Pulp Sensations.” Cambridge Companion to Popular Fiction. Ed. David Glover and Scott McCracken. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. 141-58. 2012 - Publication
Rev. of Spirituality, Inc.: Religion in the American Workplace by Lake Lambert III. Journal of American History 98 (2011): 925-26. 2011 - publications
Rev. of SHARP-Brisbane Conference. SHARP News 20.3 (summer 2011): 1. Partially reprinted in Broadsheet: Newsletter of the Bibliography Society of Australia and New Zealand. 2011 - publications
Rev. of Everything Was Better in America: Print Culture in the Great Depression by David Welky. Journal of American History 95.4 (Mar. 2009): 1213-14. 2009 - Publication
“Pulp Fiction.” Dictionary of American History Dynamic Reference. Ed. Gary Cross, Robert Maddox, and William Pencak. New York: Scribner’s, 2008. 2008 - Publication
The Religious Book Club: Print Culture, Consumerism and the Spiritual Life of American Protestants Between the Wars. Religion and the Culture of Print in America. Ed. Charles L. Cohen and Paul S. Boyer. Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin P, 2008. 217-42. 2008 - Publication
Jesus, My Pal: Reading and Religion in Middlebrow America, Canadian Review of American Studies 37.2 (2007): 147-81. 2007 - Publication
University of Texas at Dallas [2016–Present]
University of Texas at Dallas [2003–2016]
University of Texas at Dallas [1997–2003]
Women's Studies, Duke University [1996–1997]
Simone de Beauvoir Named Instructor in Literature
Duke University [1996–1997]
Center for Teaching and Learning, Duke University [1995–1996]
Adult Literacy Tutor
Duke University [1995–1996]
Women's Studies, Duke University [1994–1995]
University Writing Program, Duke University [1994–1995]
English and University Writing Program, Duke University [1994–1995]
School of Interdisciplinary Studies Teaching Award - UT-Dallas 
Nominee, Inclusive Excellence and Intercultural Teaching Award - UT-Dallas 
Best Paper Prize, Religion and American Culture Caucus - American Studies Association 
Anthony Award Finalist (best critical or scholarly work about mysteries) - Bouchercon 
Teacher of the Year, School of General Studies - UT-Dallas 
"Progressive Politics and Trash Fiction: Gender and Social Class in Vera Caspary's Bedelia." Society for the Study of American Women Writers Conference. Denver, CO, 11 Oct. 2012.
"Pulp Protest: Vera Caspary, Progressive Politics, and Trash Fiction." Protest on the Page. University of Wisconsin. Madison, WI, 29 Sept. 2012.
| American Studies Association (ASA)
| Modern Language Association (MLA)
| Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP)
American Literature and Culture Teaching Interests
History of the Book, Reading, and Issues in Print Culture
Gender Studies and Feminist Theory
Literary and Cultural Theory
Discussion Facilitator. "Respect," GLSEN Greenhill School Teacher Training. Dallas, TX, 22 Aug. 2003. Educational Equity Programming / Experience
Discussion Group Leader. "What Difference Does Difference Make?" Duke University 1997 Symposium on Diversity. Durham, NC, 28 Feb. - 1 Mar. 1997.
Discussion Facilitator. "Changing the Scene: Teaching and Learning in Multicultural Classrooms," Duke University. Durham, NC, 28-29 Mar. 1996.
Graduate Assistant. "Lessons from the Majority: Women's Studies for Higher Education," Appalachian State University. Boone, NC, 6-7 Oct. 1994.
Working Group. "Gender, Body, Self," Duke University. Durham, NC, summer 1993.
Sisters in Crime Research Fellowship
$500 - Sisters in Crime [2017/07–2017/12]
$25,000 - National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC [2002/09–2003/05]
Louisville Institute Summer Stipend
$8,000 - Louisville Institute [2002/07–2002/08]
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend
$5,000 - National Endowment for the Humanities [2002/05–2002/06]
Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities
- Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities [1991/09–1996/05]