I’m a Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and an assistant professor of Communication Arts & Sciences and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Penn State. My interdisciplinary scholarship bridges rhetoric, archives, and gender and sexuality studies.
My first book, Queering Romantic Engagement in the Postal Age: A Rhetorical Education, is a queer history of instruction in epistolary rhetoric (University of South Carolina Press, 2019). Early research for the book was awarded the 2015 Charles Kneupper Award for the year’s Rhetoric Society Quarterly essay that most contributes to rhetorical studies, and the project received an honorable mention for the 2020 Winifred Bryan Horner Outstanding Book Award from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric and Composition. The book has been reviewed in Journal for the History of Rhetoric, Rhetoric Review, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Peitho, and Quarterly Journal of Speech as well as featured on Notches: (Re)marks on the History of Sexuality.
Currently I am completing my second book, tentatively titled The Erotic as Rhetorical Power in the Romantic Friendships of Women Teachers, 1848–1922. Grounded in archival research conducted in over 20 brick-and-mortar and digital archives, this project investigates the civic contributions enabled by intimate same-sex relationships between women teachers. I argue that these romantic friendships, far from being simplistic instances of social constraint or sexual repression, were animated by an erotic that made possible the women’s work to teach rhetoric as well as advance educational access, the abolition of slavery, and voting rights. Early work from the project is published in Advances in the History of Rhetoric, Quarterly Journal of Speech, and Women at Work: Rhetorics of Gender and Labor.