Fashion and Fiction: Self-Transformation in Twentieth-Century American Literature

The rhetoric fueling the American fashion industry has informed narratives of self-transformation in canonical works of American literature, from The House of Mirth to The Great Gatsby. As the American fashion industry diverged from an old world, Parisian haute couture system to become more commercial and democratic, fashion designers and journalists began appropriating the same nationalist rhetoric found in texts by Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, Nella Larsen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Anzia Yezierska, among others.



University of Virginia Press, 2016

The White Other in American Intermarriage Stories, 1945-2008

Fictional depictions of intermarriage can illuminate perceptions of both 'ethnicity' and 'whiteness' at any given historical moment. Popular examples such as Lucy and Ricky in I Love Lucy (1951-1957), Joanna and John in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), Toula and Ian in My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) helped raise questions about national identity: does 'American' mean 'white' or a blending of ethnicities?


This study is an ambitious endeavor to discern the ways in which literature and films from the 1960s through 2000s rework nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century intermarriage tropes. Unlike earlier stories, these narratives position the white partner as the 'other' and serve as useful frameworks for assessing ethnic and American identity. 


Palgrave MacMillan, 2012, Signs of Race Series

“Diagnosing and Treating Millennial Student Disillusionment”

This essay connects the problem of student apathy, or disengagement, to the millennial generation and current changes in university curricula and educational technology. I discuss an experimental freshman writing class theme in which all student work engaged questions concerning the college experience – both the social and academic aspects. I argue that engaging students in pedagogical debates not only leads to helpful, innovative ideas for adapting our pedagogy, but also serves the additional purpose of maintaining their focus in class, helping them see the connection between the class and their future academic and professional careers.


Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 46.6 (November/December 2014): 34-41

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Still from Guess Who's Coming to Dinner