Research invigorates teaching. If I approach students as an historian at work, who explores a question rather than "having the answers," it opens up the processes of investigation and interpretation. When, in class, we venture into a census manuscript, a firsthand narrative, or set of photographs, students share in the sense of discovery. As we raise conceptual questions regarding the evidence, and think them through aloud, students learn the practice of critical thinking. My courses emphasize engagement with archival evidence such as letters, diaries, oral histories, memoirs, autobiographies, photographs, art, advertisements, films, government documents, land plats, and folksongs. A passion for research, shared with students, energizes us all.
My area of expertise is gender in the American West. Western frontiers were places of cultural convergence, marked by conquest, colonization, and the expansion of capitalism—processes that shaped gender systems in distinctive ways. Indeed, the American West was like a laboratory of gender, revealing the ways that social identities, economic life, and political order were created and contested. In addition, gender in the West has been complicated by ideological constructions of race, as well as by mythical constructions of the West itself. My research explores these dynamics, through study of communities and individuals whose lives spanned the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.
Ph.D., American Civilization, Brown University, 1995
History 105 – Introductory Seminar: The Mormons in Historical Perspective
History 105 – Introductory Seminar: Mormons in the American West
History 250 – Gender in 19th Century America
History 300 – The Historian′s Craft
History 341 – Native America and American History
History 354 – Interpreting American Lives
History 405 – Special Topics: Performative Cultures in Historical Context
History 441 – Interpretive Issues in Native American History
History 445 – Gender in the American West
History 485 – Senior Seminar
"Mormon Women at Winter Quarters," Women on the North American Plains, Eds. Renee Laegreid & Sandra Mathews (Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University Press, 2011): 128-47.
Portraits of Women in the American West, Ed., Dee Garceau-Hagen (Routledge, 2005).
“Finding Mary Fields: Race, Gender, and the Construction of Memory,” Portraits of Women in the American West (Routledge, 2005): 185-242.
Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the American West, Edited with Matthew Basso and Laura McCall (Routledge, 2001).
“Nomads, Bunkies, Cross-Dressers, and Family Men: Cowboy Identity and the Gendering of Ranch Work,” Across the Great Divide (Routledge, 2001): 149-68.
“Mourning Dove: Gender and Cultural Mediation,” Sifters: Native American Women’s Lives Ed.Theda Perdue (Oxford University, 2001): 108-26.
The Important Things of Life: Women, Work and Family in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, 1880-1929 (University of Nebraska, 1997).
"I Got a Girl Here, Would You Like to Meet Her?: Courtship, Ethnicity and Community in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, 1900-1925," Writing the Range: Race, Class and Culture in the Women′s West, Eds. Susan Armitage & Elizabeth Jameson (University of Oklahoma, 1997): 274-97.
"Single Women Homesteaders and the Meanings of Independence: Places on the Map, Places in the Mind," Frontiers: A Journal of Women′s Studies 15:3 (Fall 1995):1-26.
"Stepping: Beyond the Line" [Dance River Productions]
Indie Memphis Film Festival, Special Jury Award for Documentary, November 2011
Texas Black Film Festival, February 2012
Rainier Independent Film Festival, June 2012
New Orleans International Film Festival, October 2012
"We Sing Where I′m From: Gender and Powwow Cultures in the Intermountain West"
56-minute rough cut completed; fine edits remain.