When I write critically, I take things apart. I read closely to discover the how, which always leads me to the why: how did this poet use enjambment; how did that novelist employ interior monologue; how is a certain literary or feminist discourse being commodified through popular media—and why did the writers of these texts (or the makers of affiliated images) make these choices? 

My interest in examining how and in asking why applies to numerous texts, both written and visual. As such, I’ve published on topics as divergent as the archetypes evoked by Garrison Keillor’s Wobegon heroes; the strategic use of silence for the narrator of Gayl Jones’ novel Corregidora; the influence and power of female restauranteurs, gardeners, and farmers in the current American food movement; how Lady Gaga might usher in a new paradigm for integrating plastic surgery into a feminist performance of posthuman bodies; and the horrendous reception British readers gave Harriet Beecher Stowe when she tried to parlay her popularity on the issue of American slavery into an impassioned attack of the sexual exploits of Lord Byron.

The common thread among all of my critical interests is this: my enduring commitment to questioning representations of gender in books, film, advertising, and politics.

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The Golden Ladle and the White Mammy Figure in Post-War America.

In The Recipes Project: Food, Magic, Art, Science, Medicine. 30 October 2018.

The Embodied Rhetoric of Recipes

In Food, Feminisms, Rhetorics. Ed. Melissa Goldthwaite. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2017. 65–88.

Beautiful Monster: Plastic Surgery as Cultural Metaphor

In Female Beauty Systems: Beauty as Social Capital in Western Europe and the United States, Middle Ages to the Present. Eds. Christine Adams and Tracy Adams. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015. 229–249.

Eating, Reading, and Recipes

In The Faculty Voice. 10 March 2015.

Where are the Women in Contemporary Food Studies?  Ruminations on Teaching Gender and Race in the Food Studies Classroom

With Psyche Williams-Forson. In Feminist Studies 40.2 (2014): 304–332. 

The Wild and Distracted Call for Proof: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Lady Byron Vindicated and the Rise of Professional Realism

In American Literary Realism 36.2 (Winter 2004): 93–119. Reprinted in Beyond Uncle Tom’s Cabin, edited by Sylvia Mayer and Monika Mueller, Lanham, Maryland: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011. 53–74. 

The Feminist Food Revolution: From Farms to Community Gardens to Restaurants, Women are Taking Food Back into Their Own Hands

In Ms. Magazine Summer 2010: 36–39. 

Books that Cook: Teaching Food and Food Literature in the English Classroom

With Melissa Goldthwaite. In College English 70.4 (March 2008): 417–432.

Extreme Makeover: Feminist Edition - How Cosmetic Medicine Co-opts Feminism

In Ms. Magazine Summer 2007: 46–49. 

Food and Drink and Professionalism

In American Literature in Historical Context. Ed. Gary Scharnhorst. New York: Gale, 2006. 391 – 395, 963–968.


In Britain and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. Ed. Will Kaufman and Heidi Slettedahl Macpherson. Oxford, England: ABC-Clio, Inc., 2005. 951.

‘I Said Nothing’: The Rhetoric of Silence and Gayl Jones’s Corregidora

In National Women’s Studies Association Journal 13.1 (Spring 2001): 40–60. 

A Rhetorical Approach to Literature for Composition: Advanced Placement Lessons

With Anne Cognard. For Prentice Hall School Division.

Garrison Keillor’s Wobegon Heroes

In Popular Culture Review 6.1 (February 1995): 107–119.