Personal Statement:

I am a historian of the nineteenth-century United States working with Professor Lisa Jacobson. In general, I specialize in gender, religion, and capitalism in the American West, and my research considers how gendered acts of production and consumption shape religious belief and practice.

My dissertation, “Homespun Respectability: Silk Worlds, Women’s Work, and the Making of Mormon Identity,” follows the Latter-day Saint (or Mormon) women who planted mulberry trees and raised silkworms in both rural and urban western Mormon settlements from the 1850s to the early 1900s. They attempted to produce silk cocoons, thread, and cloth of a high-enough quality to use and sell. By most measurements, they failed. Homegrown silk was time-consuming, onerous, and practically impossible to profit from, primarily due to superior imported goods from Europe and Asia. Even so, this dissertation shows how the homegrown silk industry provided Mormon women with a venue to make their own money, shape transnational labor and commodity markets, and understand ever-changing environmental conditions. In these and other ways, I argue that Mormon women used silk production and consumption to resolve tensions between economic cooperation and competition, market isolation and integration, and religious exceptionalism and American citizenship. Some of these findings will appear in the Fall 2021 issue of the Journal of Women’s History.

Mormon women handling silkworms, circa 1885

 

I have presented my work at annual meetings of the Western Association of Women Historians, the American Society for Ethnohistory, the Mormon History Association, the Western History Association, the World History Association, and the Agricultural History Society. I have received research support from the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, the Coalition for Western Women’s History, and the Huntington Library.

I am also a passionate public history practitioner and active member of the National Council on Public History. In December 2017, I founded the Enchanted Archives, a digital public history platform that uncovers the historical roots of Disney park food, aesthetics, and attractions. While waiting in line for rides and walking around the parks, users learn about the real pirates of the Caribbean, the global roots of gumbo recipes, and the LGBTQ+ authors behind some of Disney’s most beloved films, for example. The 24 essays and two walking tours on the platform offer a new layer of storytelling to the Disney park experience. In January 2021, a Smithsonian Magazine article used an Enchanted Archives essay to make sense of planned changes to Disney’s Jungle Cruise attractions.

My committee members include: Lisa Jacobson (chair), Erika Rappaport, James F. Brooks, Randy Bergstrom, David Walker. I am a member of UCSB’s Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster.

Dissertation Title:

"Homespun Respectability: Silk Worlds, Women's Work, and Mormon Identity"

Selected Publications:

“‘A Common Struggle for Refinement’: Mormon Women, Railroad Reconstruction, and the Politics of Respectability in Salt Lake City, 1869-1877.” The Journal of Women’s History (Forthcoming, Fall 2021)

“‘You Look Like a Boy’: Gendered Representations of Hair Loss in Books for Pediatric Cancer Patients” in The Lion and the Unicorn 37, no. 2 (April 2013): 125-142.

Review of Konden Smith Hansen, Frontier Religion: Mormons & America, 1857-1907 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2019) in the Western Historical Quarterly (Forthcoming)

Review of Clyde A. Milner II and Brian Q. Cannon, eds., Reconstruction and Mormon America (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019) in the Journal of Mormon History 46, no. 4. October 2020.

Review of Sam Wineburg, Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018) in the Public Historian 41, no. 3. August 2019.

Review of Julia Bricklin, America’s Best Female Sharpshooter: The Rise and Fall of Lillian Frances Smith (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2017) in Great Plains Quarterly 38, no. 4. Fall 2018.

Review of Mark W. Robbins, Middle Class Union: Organizing the ‘Consuming Public’ in Post-World War I America (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017) in the Michigan Historical Review 44, no. 1. Spring 2018.

Review of Rachel Cope et al., eds., Mormon Women’s History: Beyond Biography (Lanham, MD: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017) in Reading Religion. May 2018.

Teaching Fields:

US History

Labor and Capital in the Nineteenth Century

American Consumer Culture

The American West

US Religious History

Public History

Courses Taught:

University of Utah

Instructor of Record

  • HIST 4990: Undergraduate Research Seminar, Utah Women’s History (Spring 2021, Online)
  • HIST 4650: History of the U.S. West (Fall 2020, Online)

University of California, Santa Barbara

Instructor of Record

  • HIST 17B: The American People, 1830s-1919 (Summer 2021, Online)
  • HIST 159C: Women in Twentieth Century American History (Spring 2021, Online)
  • HIST 159B: Women in American History, 1800-1900 (Summer 2018)
  • WRIT 2: Introduction to Composition (Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019)

Teaching Assistant

  • HIST 4C: Western Civilization, 1715-Present (Spring 2016)
  • HIST 5: History of the Present (Fall 2015)
  • HIST 2C: World History, 1700-Present (Summer 2015)
  • HIST 17C: The American People, 1917-Present (Spring 2014, Spring 2015)
  • HIST 17B: The American People, 1830s-1919 (Winter 2015, Winter 2016)                    
  • HIST 17A: The American People, 1600s-1830s (Fall 2014)

Awards & Professional Activities:

Professional Activities

Mentor, American Association of University Women Mentorship Program, University of California, Santa Barbara (2020-Present)

Member, Committee on Assault Response and Educational Strategies, Western History Association (2020-Present)

Member, Program Committee, National Council on Public History 2021 Conference (2020-Present)

Co-chair, Local Arrangements Committee, National Council on Public History 2021 Conference (2019-Present)

Member, Mentoring Committee, Coalition for Western Women’s History (2018-Present)

Awards

Fellow, The Maxwell Institute’s Consultation on Latter-day Saint Women in Comparative Perspective, Brigham Young University (2019-21)

Tanner Humanities Center Fellow in Latter-day Saints Studies, University of Utah (2019-20)

Student Award, Mormon Women’s History Initiative (2020)

Regent’s Dissertation Fellowship, History Department, University of California, Santa Barbara (2020)

Organization of American Historians Presidents’ Travel Fund for Emerging Historians Grant (2020)

Travel Grant, Labor and Working-Class History Association (2020)

Travel Grant, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians (2020)

Graduate Student Prize, Western History Association (2019)

Travel Grant, Mormon History Association (2019)

Travel Grant, Coalition for Western Women’s History (2018)

Gloria Ricci Lothrop Research Fellow in Western American Women’s History, The Huntington Library (2018)

Fellowship, History Associates, University of California, Santa Barbara (2018)

Fellowship, History Department, University of California, Santa Barbara (2018)

Graduate Humanities Research Fellowship, Graduate Division, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017-18)

Steve and Barbara Mendell Graduate Fellowship in Cultural Literacy, Walter H. Capps Center, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)

William H. Ellison Best Graduate Student Paper Prize, History Associates, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)

Van Gelderen American West Graduate Fellowship, History Associates, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)

Charles Redd Fellowship Award in Western American Studies, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, Brigham Young University (2017)

Travel Grant, Graduate Student Association, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)

Travel Grant, History Department, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017)

Wilbur Jacobs Frontier Studies Prize, History Associates, University of California, Santa Barbara (2016)

Robert L. Kelley Public History Fellowship, History Associates, University of California, Santa Barbara (2016)

Conference Travel Grant, American Society for Ethnohistory (2015)

Dick Cook Memorial Fellowship, History Associates, University of California, Santa Barbara (2015)

Selected Conference Activity

“A Certain Disease Among the Silkworms”: N. bombycis and the Global Prospects of Mormon-made Silk in the Utah Territory, 1860s-1875,” Agricultural History Society Conference, June 1-5, 2021

“Monuments and Mulberry Trees: Mementos of the Mormon Silk Industry and the Legacies of Latter-day Saint Colonialism,” Western History Association Conference, October 14-17, 2020

“‘The Whole World for a Market’: Great Basin Entrepreneurs and the European Silkworm Crisis of the 1860s,” Western History Association Conference, October 16-19, 2019

“Reconstruction by Rail: Mormon Women, Silk Work, and the Politics of Fashion,” Mormon History Association Conference, June 6-9, 2019

“‘Disneyfication’ Revisited: Public History and The Walt Disney Company,” National Council on Public History Conference, March 27-30, 2019

“‘A Nation’s Wealth Surrounds a Worm’: Mormon Women and the Utah Silk Commission, 1896-1910s,” Western History Association Conference, October 17-20, 2018

“EnchantedArchives.com: Using Disney To Teach History,” National Council on Public History Conference, April 18-21, 2018

“The Pioneer Spirit: Nation Building, Heritage Tourism, and the LDS Church,” Western History Association Conference, November 1-4, 2017

“Building the Kingdom: Anti-Polygamy Legislation and the Silk Industry in Utah, 1860-1904,” Western Association of Women Historians Conference, April 27-29, 2017

“This is the Place: Articulating a Mormon Pioneer Past,” American Society for Ethnohistory Conference, November 9-12, 2016