Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

“Constructing, Building, and Haunting: Ethos, Space, and Gender in the Winchester Mystery House.” Revised and Resubmited to Rhetoric Review August 2019.

Examines the rhetorical construction and circulation of San Jose’s “Winchester Mystery House” to consider the role of spatiality in shaping women’s public memory. Built in the late 19th-century by the heiress to the Winchester Rifle Company fortune, the sprawling Victorian mansion is now a popular tourist attraction that has become a metonymy for the architect herself, whose memory remains shrouded in stories of séances, seclusion, and mystery. I argue that the image circulated of Winchester in her own time and into the present is a result less of what she did, believed, said or didn’t say and more a result of the public’s reading of the spatial rhetorics of her house itself, that unlikely domestic space. The house challenges our limited notions of space—particularly domestic space—with implications for other sites of women’s public memory and the ethos of the woman rhetor (that is, speaker or, as the case may be, builder).

“‘She Is Not Thoroughly Practical’: High School Alumnae Clubs Advocating Educational Reforms.” Revised and Resubmitted to Peitho Journal. 

This article traces the role of Progressive Era high school alumnae clubs in reconstructing the pedagogies and culture of the public high school to reflect their own needs as alumnae, marshaling in a “domesticated” curriculum for women. Focusing on a case study of a large, single-sex, urban high school and alumnae club in the South, I analyze the rhetorical strategies women used to make the case for domestic sciences and follow the uptake of this curriculum and the club’s values within the high school by the beginning of the twentieth century, as the work of the club was increasingly pit against traditional academics. This case study provides insights into the broader history of women’s clubs, women’s education, domestic sciences, and their intersection in Progressive Era education reform.

“Access, Participation, and the Academic Conference in Rhetoric and Composition.” With Megan Bardolph. Submitted to Present Tense.

In this paper, we explore the changes to and challenges of conference design and attendee participation at academic conferences in rhetoric and composition over the years. In light of the growing insistence that our disciplinary conferences be designed to ensure access to, meaningful participation of, and valued contribution from all attendees, we seek to understand how our conference designs have contributed to (or obstructed) these goals. As this trend becomes more pronounced in our present meetings, we argue that alternative conference models can be used to promote democratic forms of disciplinary membership and participation—though, as we have seen, they do not guarantee it.

“Beginning at the End:  Reforming Doctoral Education by Imagining a Different Dissertation Committee.” With Beth Boehm. Composition Studies. vol. 47, no. 1, 2019, pp. 135-153.

In this article, we forward a perspective on interdisciplinarity and diversity that reconsiders the notion of expertise in order to “unstick” discussions of graduate education reform that have been at an impasse for some 45 years. As research problems have become increasingly complex and demand scholars who both specialize narrowly within a discipline AND understand the importance of contributions from other disciplines, we reimagine the dissertation committee as a group of diverse participants from within and beyond the academy who contribute their knowledge and skills to train the next generation of scholars and researchers to be members of interdisciplinary teams. Graduate students, then, are not expected to be “interdisciplinary” themselves, but to work in interdisciplinary and diverse teams to come to new insights on their research areas and prepare for careers interacting with a range of academic and non-academic stakeholders.

“Frameworks for Collaboration: Articulating Information Literacy and Writing/Rhetoric Goals in the Archives.” With Nadia Nasr. Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Language, Literature, Composition, and Culture. vol. 18, no. 1, 2018, pp. 176-184.

In this article, a composition scholar and university archivist explore the overlap between the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing and the Framework for Success in Information Literacy for Higher Education. We argue that analysis of the overlap between these two documents helps us articulate a new set of reasons for faculty to connect with their allies in libraries and archives to teach undergraduate research and writing.

“‘Higher School’: Challenging the Secondary-College Divide.” Composition Studies. vol. 46, no. 2, 2018, pp. 35-51.

This article locates the development of US high schools in relation to both common schools and colleges in the nineteenth century, attending to the gendered, raced, and classed distinctions at play in this development. Exploring the differences in the conceptualization and status of high schools for white male, white female, and mixed-gender African American high schools in Louisville, Kentucky, this article reminds us of the ways these institutional types have been situated and socially-inflected across time, structured in relation to broader political discourse that transcends explicit pedagogical concerns. It argues for the recovery of high schools as a historically significant site in the history of college composition instruction.

“”High School Girls”: Women’s Higher Education at the Louisville Female High School.” Ohio Valley History, vol. 17 no. 3, 2017, pp. 44-62. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/671972.

Nineteenth-century women gained access to significant higher education opportunities under the auspices of the urban, public high school (as well as at seminaries, academies, normal schools, and other variously named institutions) even when they did not matriculate into colleges proper. Women made great strides in all forms of higher education in the last half of the nineteenth century, but particularly in high schools and academies; while remaining underrepresented in colleges until 1978, women constituted a majority of graduates from high schools as early as 1870. This trend held true both nationally and in the local context of Louisville, where women outpaced men in high school graduation numbers eight to four in 1861 and by forty-two to twenty-nine by 1895. Still representing only a small minority of white women in the city, these early women high school graduates were envoys into higher education on behalf of their gender. Their high rates of matriculation and graduation were due at least in part to the impressive academic and professional opportunities granted to them at a time when other avenues to academic and professional advancement remained limited.

“‘Classbook Sense’: Genre and Girls’ School Yearbooks in the Early Twentieth-Century American High School.” College English 79.4 (March 2017):

In the early twentieth century, students produced and used a variety of texts to commemorate their school experiences and foster a sense of community among themselves. Through the compositional practices and values associated with these texts—particularly those of school literary annuals and memory books—the genre of the modern school yearbook emerged. This article draws on primary sources to trace the emergence of the yearbook as a form and practice at one Louisville high school for girls, where yearbooks both reflected and shaped the experience of high school for students who manifest complex genre knowledge and identity work in their compilations and inscriptions.

“‘A Maturity of Thought Very Rare in Young Girls’: Women’s Public Engagement in Nineteenth-Century High School Commencement Essays.” Rhetoric Review 34.2 (2015): 129-146. 

Though largely debarred from public rhetorical performance as adult women, young women in the nineteenth century US received rhetorical training and performed their original compositions before large public audiences as high school students. Their access to the academic platform stemmed in part from their politically contained position as students and “girls” in this context. But students used these opportunities to intervene in political debates and to comment on their experiences as women and students. These rhetorical interventions represent an important part of our rhetorical history, shedding light on a significant rhetorical opportunity for many young women across the US.

“The Historical In/As the Responsive” Jac, 34.1-2 (2014): 191-198. Print.

This essay responds to the keynote papers of the 2013 Watson Symposium and 2014 Watson Conference on “Responsivity.” In it, I reflect on our own scholarly efforts to define and enact responsivity as historical activities. 

“Writing a Translingual Script: Closed Captions in the English Multilingual Hearing Classroom” Kairos, May 2013. Designed by Shyam Sharma. Web.

 The classroom activity described in this webtext is my attempt to think through the ways that the multimodal nature of closed captioning as a language practice could intersect productively with a translingual approach to language. Part of rhetorical awareness for a globalizing citizenry is an acknowledgement of the complexity of language choices—even and especially in contexts where language is seemingly transparent, standard, unquestioned.

“Disciplinary Resistance: Promoting Possibility for the Writing Program.” (Response)  Jac. 32 (2012): 751-58. Print.

This essay responds to Jeanne Gunner’s “Disciplinary Purification: The Writing Program as Institutional Brand” (in the same volume), asserting the physical presence of writing researchers and teachers in writing programs and administrative positions at present as constituting an interest group with the power to resist co-optation of the writing program “brand.”

“Writing Without Sound: Language Politics in Closed Captioning.” Currents in Electronic Literacy. Digital Writing and Research Lab [Austin]; Spring 2011. Web.

As the field of Composition pays more attention to the diverse composing practices encouraged by new media, it becomes increasingly incumbent on scholars, researchers and teachers to consider the affordances as well as the limitations or challenges of these practices for students and other composers: both material and ideological, personal and political. In considering writing with sound, then, we must also consider writing and reading of individuals without access to sound. As we consider the translation of meaning across modes, the transformation of material across compositions and recompositions, we might be reminded also of the complexity of translation also within and across languages, such as that from sounds to written symbols in Closed Captioning.

This essay draws on work in composition and translation studies that acknowledges the complexity and importance of cross-language translation in a global economy  and values difference and negotiation of meaning—even occasional incomprehension—in language use to consider Closed Captioning (CC) policies and practices in America (Cronin; Horner et al.; Prendergast; Venuti; White).

Book Chapters

“In Pursuit of Concurrence: Collapsing and Rebuilding the High School/College Divide.” With Brice Nordquist. DE Kaleidoscope. Eds. Christine Denecker and Casey Moreland. 

In this chapter, we trace the history of the high school-college divide. By tracing out how the present-day institutional forms of the high school and college emerged historically, this chapter interrogates the metaphors of containment that shape our current practice and seeks to recover possibilities for other arrangements and conceptualizations.

“The Ephemeral Experience of the House Tour.” The Ephemeral Experience of the House Tour. Eds. Jennifer Burgess & Gavin P. Johnson.

I examine the spatial rhetorics of San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House, a famous “haunted” house tour. Applying the insights of feminist new materialists, I frame the house itself as a rhetorical performance by a woman—Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune—otherwise famously private and ostensibly silent in public settings. To recover this woman as a rhetor, then, I pursue not the traditional textual or artifactual archive, but instead the house itself and, more particularly, the ephemeral experience of the house tour as evidence, framing the house as an ongoing rhetorical performance involving Winchester and those (both researchers and the public) who seek to know her.

“Student Not Pictured: Remembering Japanese American Internment Through School Yearbooks.” Preserving US Memory: Memorializing Contested Events. Eds. Klara Bender and Melissa Szlezák. Accepted; full manuscript submitted Sept. 1, 2017.

In this chapter, I present yearbooks as complex sites of collective remembrance that simultaneously efface and subtly memorialize instances of discrimination and national shame as they intersect with student experiences at school. In particular, I examine high school yearbooks from California’s Santa Clara Valley in the 1940s to examine the traces of Japanese-American people and experiences in the years during and immediately surrounding internment to understand the ways students used yearbooks to negotiate their individual, communal, and national identities in a time of war.

“Inclusivity in the Archives: Expanding Undergraduate Pedagogies for Diversity and Inclusion.” With students Beverlyn Law and Isabella Zhang. Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity in Contemporary Higher Education. Ed. Rhonda Jeffries. IGI-Global Publishers. Fall 2018.

This chapter uses the experience of two undergraduate students conducting research in their university archives to consider the “hidden curriculum” entailed in archival research at some institutions. When diverse identities and experiences are not represented in our archives, we run the risk of communicating a lack of value for those identities, producing a feeling of marginalization and exclusion for some students and foreclosing an opportunity to build solidarity across difference for others. In light of the limited holdings at many university archives and the increased prevalence of archival research in the undergraduate classroom, the authors draw on research from writing studies, anthropology, archival research, and public memory to produce recommendations for students, faculty, and institutions working to compose inclusive archives and research experiences.

“‘Several Sigourneys’: Circulation, Reprint Culture, and Lydia Sigourney’s Prose.” Lydia Sigourney: Critical Essays and Cultural Views. Eds. Elizabeth Petrino and Mary Lou Kete. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-62534-344-4.

Nina Baym has argued that Lydia Sigourney’s range “inevitably allows for the construction of several Sigourneys who are unknown to modern criticism” (390). The Sigourney that this essay constructs emerges from the intersection of genres and publishing venues—her periodical prose in popular magazines and book-length autobiographical works. Drawing on the work of Meredith McGill on reprinting and Leon Jackson on literary economies, I demonstrate the importance of attending to the genre and publication venue of Sigourney’s prose. Doing so reveals important tensions among the different “Sigourneys” that the author was constructing across contexts, and highlights the ways her authorial identity and her social and political positions circulated (and morphed) across reprintings.

“Graduate Student Peer Mentoring Programs: Benefitting Students, Faculty and Academic Programs.” With Beth Boehm. The Mentoring Continuum: From Graduate School Through Tenure. Ed. Glenn Wright. Syracuse Graduate School Press, 2016.

In this chapter we argue that formal peer mentoring programs support faculty by relieving the full burden of mentoring from the primary mentor and benefit graduate programs by dispersing the efforts of recruitment, orientation, and acculturation of incoming students. In describing the various forms of peer mentoring we have supported and participated in, then—from one-on-one mentor pairings, to intergenerational writing groups and interdisciplinary support groups—we focus throughout on the specific benefits to faculty and programs as well as students. By demonstrating the varied affordances of formalized peer mentoring programs, we hope to increase the faculty and departmental support that are necessary for the success of such programs.

Other Publications

“’Have Fun in the Sun!’ The (Im)personal Archive of High School Yearbooks.” LA Review of Books, 18 June 2019. 

This article connects my historical work on high school yearbooks to my own life and family.

“How High Schools Shaped American Cities.” The Atlantic, 23 Oct. 2018. 

This article traces the history of public high schools as institutions shaping the broader public’s engagement and sense of community in US cities.

Available Technologies for Changing Student Needs: Using Technology to Reach Graduate Students on our Campuses.” Technology in Student Affairs, Summer 2013. Web.

This paper advocates for increased attention to graduate students in student affairs research and reports on the ways the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies at the University of Louisville has used technology to support graduate student learning. The technologies reported on here are familiar and accessible to most all student affairs professionals; this report is intended to highlight the presence of these technologies, which may be taken for granted in our practice, and to encourage less tech-savvy practitioners to consider the ways they can build on existing tools to help their students reach their learning outcomes. It encourages an approach to technology integration that is responsive to a particular need or use and considers the affordances and limitations of particular technologies rather than embracing new technologies on account of their “newness.” Although technology trends among college students are a popular topic in higher education, the tangential outcomes related to campus IT infrastructure remain a relatively untouched area of discussion. This article reviews technology trends at one higher education institution in the Southeastern United States. Through the longitudinal tracking of residential student perception surveys, a campus environment continues to evolve its capacity to meet student technology expectations. The use of historical documents and the identified expertise of campus staff provide practical considerations for student affairs professionals. 

“Something Seems Terribly wrong With my 20s.” In “Classroom Confidential.” John Branston. Memphis Flyer 14 Dec. 2006, Vol. 1, No.929. Print.

In this brief creative nonfiction piece (published anonymously as part of the cover feature), I reflect on the challenges of teaching fourth grade in Memphis, Tennessee, as a Teach For America corps member. It is a humorous sketch of the tensions between educational ambitions and the daily realities of life in the classroom for a young new teacher.