Office: North Classroom 5014 C
Fall 2023 Office Hours: Not teaching this semester, please email me for an appointment.
Modern Britain, British History, Victorian History, History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, History of Poverty and Welfare, History of Medicine and Health, and History of Citizenship
Ph.D., History, University of Iowa, 1997
M.A., History, University of Iowa, 1992
B.A., Honors History, Wesleyan University, Connecticut, 1989
My current teaching areas include the histories of modern Britain; gender and sexuality; citizenship and national identity; inequalities; and medicine and health. My courses explore various historical methodologies and practices, and I am particularly interested in getting students to think about how we construct the historical narratives we tell about the past and how power dynamics influence which stories have been told. I teach interactively, meaning students don't learn predominantly from lectures in my classes but rather from discussions about and engagement with reading materials.
My research focuses on relationships among labor, gender, poverty, health, and welfare in nineteenth- and twentieth-century England. My first book Beyond the Reproductive Body: The Politics of Women's Health and Work in Early Victorian England (Ohio State University Press, 2004) explores competing understandings of the female body in the 1830s and 1840s and the impact these understandings had on public policies and the ways poor women thought about their health and work. My second book, Unemployment, Welfare, and Masculine Citizenship: 'So Much Honest Poverty' in Britain, 1870-1930 (Palgrave, 2015), examines the challenges that chronic, mass unemployment posed to the male breadwinner ideal, the assumption that self-sufficient men would work independently to support wives and children. As policymakers, welfare providers, and unemployed men developed strategies to address unemployment, they shaped new boundaries around what it meant to be a citizen. In 2022, I published a four-volume collection of British primary sources, Work and Unemployment, 1834-1911 (Routledge), which I edited with extensive commentary. My current project is "Unemployment, Health, and the Body in Britain: From the New Poor Law to Covid-19." In this project, I hope to address three key questions: 1) how being unemployed affected people's health; 2) how the relationships between unemployment and health shaped people's identities and citizenship; and 3) how we can understand unemployment as an embodied phenomenon, both materially (how people experienced their bodies as unemployed) and representationally (how unemployed people represented their experiences and had their experiences represented for them). Most of my research takes place in the county and national record offices in England, and I try to get to the UK at least once a year.
Editor, Work and Unemployment, 1834-1911. 4 volumes, Routledge, 2022.
Unemployment, Welfare, and Masculine Citizenship: "So Much Honest Poverty" in Britain, 1870-1920. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.
Beyond the Reproductive Body: The Politics of Women's Health and Work in Early Victorian England. Ohio State University Press, 2004.
Articles and Chapters
"'It is Sometimes Soul-Destroying': Doctors' Reflections on Unemployment and Health in Thatcher's Britain," Journal of Medical Humanities 43 (2022): 233-245.
"‘Fish and Chips Is an Excellent Food': Newspapers, Nutrition, and Government Neglect in 1930s Britain." In The Routledge Handbook of Health and Media. Ed. Lester Friedman and Therese Jones, Routledge, 2022.
"Work and Society," in A Cultural History of Work. Vol. 5. Ed. Victoria Thompson. Bloomsbury, 2018.
"‘The Entombment of Thomas Shaw': Mining Accidents and the Politics of Workers' Bodies," Victorian Review 40:2 (2014): 22-26.
"Gendered Roles, Gendered Welfare: Health and the English Poor Law, 1971-1911." In Bodily Subjects: Essays on Gender and Health, 1800-2000. Eds. Tracy Penny Light, Barbara Brookes, and Wendy Mitchinson. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2014.
"'I always prefer the scissors': Isaac Baker Brown and Feminist Histories of Medicine." In Health Humanities Reader, eds. Tess Jones, Les Friedman, and Delise Wear. Rutgers University Press, 2014.
"The Politics of Preference: Masculinity, Marital Status, and Unemployment Relief in Post-First World War Britain," Cultural and Social History 7:3 (2010): 233-252.
"From ‘Relief' to ‘Justice and Protection': The Maintenance of Deserted Wives, British Masculinity, and Imperial Citizenship, 1870-1920," Gender and History 22:2 (2010): 302-321.
"The Gendered Economy of Family Liability: Intergenerational Relationships and Poor Law Relief in England's Black Country, 1871-1911." Journal of British Studies 45:1 (January 2006): 72-89.
"'Embarrassed Circumstances': Gender, Poverty, and Insanity in the West Riding of England in the Mid Victorian Years," in Sex and Seclusion. Class and Custody. Perspectives on Gender and Class in the History of British and Irish Psychiatry, eds. Jonathan Andrews and Anne Digby. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004.
"Testing the Reproductive Hypothesis; or what made working-class women sick in early Victorian London." Women's History Review 11:2 (2002): 175-200.
"Engendering Relief: Women, Ablebodiedness, and the New Poor Law in Early Victorian England." Journal of Women's History 11:4 (2000): 107-130.
"Dysfunctional Domesticity: Female Insanity and Family Relationships among the West Riding Poor in the Mid Nineteenth Century," Journal of Family History 25:3 (2000): 341-361.
- HIST 3031: Theory and Practice of History
- HIST 4046/5046: Victorians and Victorianism
- HIST 4051/5051: Britain and the Empire
- HIST 4303/5303: Sex and Gender in Modern Britain
- HIST 4307/5307: History of Sexuality
- HIST 4345/5345: Gender, Science, and Medicine: 1600 to the Present
- HIST 4839: History Seminar
- 6000-level graduate courses, including courses on citizenship and national identity, imperialism, World War I, genders and sexualities, and inequalities