The Work I Do: How Have the Historical Reverberations of the Past Created Our Present?

As an interdisciplinary scholar, I've always been interested in the intersections between history and social institutions. All of my work, from my children's books to my scholarly articles, asks these core questions:

How do marginalized people find autonomy and freedom in societies determined to control and dehumanize them? What can history tell us about how we got to where we are today? Whose stories have been uplifted and whose erased? For what ends? Which perspectives have yet to be amplified and internalized at a societal level in order for systemic change to occur?

I started my academic career researching the history of sexuality, specifically LGBTQ+ social movements in the US and Western Europe. This led me to write about more contemporary LGBTQ+ movements for justice, such as those fighting the passage of Proposition 8 in California. During my Ph.D, I completed a multi-year research project on LGBTQ+ youth cultures at US women's colleges, Title IX and trans rights, and the problems of racism, classism, and femmephobia even in spaces aiming to be progressive and inclusive.

I continue to write and research on issues of social justice. You can find my published scholarship to date below.


The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies - Women's Colleges

As understandings of gender have broadened and deepened beyond the rigid binary in North America in the early 21st century, women’s college students, alumnae/i, faculty and staff, administrators, and trustees have had to reevaluate their frameworks for thinking about gender. In so doing, they have had to determine what the implications are for colleges dedicated to the education of women.

White Supremacy’s Old Gods: The Far Right and Neopaganism

In 2014, a White supremacist leader, Frazier Glenn Cross, Jr. (also known as F. Glenn Miller), killed three people outside Jewish organizations in Overland Park, Kansas. Although all three were actually Christian, Cross’s intended target was clear, as was the religious justification he found for his supremacist beliefs. Cross, founder of the Carolina Knights of the KKK, which later became the White Patriot Party,1 was a convert from Christianity to a neonazi interpretation of the pre-Christian,

What's Wrong With Be(com)ing Queer? Biological Determinism as Discursive Queer Hegemony

This article analyzes the current dichotomy in American political and popular culture between pro-gay biological determinism, which is used to argue for LGBTQ rights, and anti-gay social constructionist ideas. This pro-gay biological determinism results in a politics of exclusion that renders queer identities falling outside a biological, lifelong model invisible. Building on Lisa Duggan’s notion of homonormativity, the author describes this discursive production as biological homonormativity, illustrated through an analysis of three key sites: an exchange between lesbian music icon Melissa Etheridge and Governor Bill Richardson during an LGBT political forum; the legal proceedings of Perry v. Schwarzenegger; and the gay cult film ‘But I’m a Cheerleader!’

"Womanhood Does Not Reside in Documentation": Queer and Feminist Student Activism for Transgender Women's Inclusion at Women's Colleges

This article considers queer-driven student activism at Smith College, as well as admissions policy shifts at a number of prominent U.S. women's colleges for transgender women's inclusion. The author illustrates how student attempts to dismantle the transmisogyny at Smith as a purportedly feminist “women's” space, as well as some women's colleges' shifts in admissions policy, challenge divisions between transgender and cisgender women. This paradigmatic shift reflects the campuses as comparative havens for gender and sexual exploration, the influence of postmodern gender theory in understanding identity, and the growth of “queer” as an all-encompassing signifier for sexual and gender transgression.

Daring to Marry: Marriage Equality Activism After Proposition 8 as Challenge to the Assimilationist/Radical Binary in Queer Studies

I analyze three case studies of marriage equality activism and marriage equality–based groups after the passage of Proposition 8 in California. Evaluating the JoinTheImpact protests of 2008, the LGBTQ rights group GetEQUAL, and the group One Struggle One Fight, I argue that these groups revise queer theoretical arguments about marriage equality activism as by definition assimilationist, homonormative, and single-issue. In contrast to such claims, the cases studied here provide a snapshot of heterogeneous, intersectional, and coalition-based social justice work in which creative methods of protest, including direct action and flash mobs, are deployed in militant ways for marriage rights and beyond.