Creativity within Revolt: ASA 2021

After a year of hiatus in 2020, the American Studies Association virtually resumed its annual meeting this year under the theme, “Creativity within Revolt.” The theme acknowledged that “Revolt is a condition of being in ‘America’ for those who refuse to (or simply cannot) tolerate its normalized domestic and global productions of state and extra-state violence” and encouraged “a rigorously critical conceptualization of both ‘creativity’ and ‘revolt,’ as well as an interrogation of what it might mean to inhabit the ‘within’ of revolt” (conference website).

I have been active in the ASA in various leadership positions of its Digital Humanities Caucus for the past 5 years. This year, as the Past Chair, I organized and moderated the panel, “Creative Revolt within Student-Centered Digital Humanities,” which addressed the hardships of faculty in smaller institutions who are increasingly expected to engage with digital tools in the classroom, often with little to no regard for the funding, training, infrastructure, and interdisciplinary collaboration required to create and sustain DH projects and programs. The panelists spoke about ways they have addressed such outsized expectations at small, teaching-focused institutions through developing meaningful pedagogy, community-facing projects, and student-led research opportunities for undergraduate students. The panel program includes the full list of presenters and the resources discussed during the presentations and Q&A.

The DH Caucus also organized a Digital Shorts panel, a series of flash talks in which participants introduce their DH research and teaching projects. Projects featured this year included

  • City Stories, a community storytelling platform on the evolution of neighborhoods in Singapore (led by Kristy H.A. Kang, Nanyang Technological University),
  • The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, which creates resources to support the work of housing justice (led by Erin McElroy, University of Texas at Austin),
  • Mina Loy: Navigating the Avant-Garde, a website that employs feminist design principles in its aim to broaden understanding of the diversity of avant-garde production in the 20th century (led by Suzanne W. Churchill, Davidson College; Linda Kinnahan, Duquesne University; and Susan Rosenbaum, University of Georgia).

To draw more participants to our annual DH Caucus Business Meeting, this year we included a panel on Publishing in the Digital Humanities, featuring Friederike Sundaram (Stanford University Press), Sara Cohen (University of Michigan Press), and Amanda Phillips (Georgetown University, co-editor of Queer / Trans / Digital series with NYU Press). In this very informative panel, we got to hear from editors on their presses’ process of evaluating, selecting, editing, and publishing digital projects.

There were quite a few DH Caucus-sponsored panels, and even more DH themed panels–too many to talk about here! Overall, it was a great conference, even though it was disappointing not to gather in-person in San Juan, Puerto Rico as was originally planned. Still, the organizers did a fantastic job of pivoting such a large group of people to a virtual format at the last minute! I am hopeful that the ASA will be able to resume its in-person annual meeting in New Orleans in 2022.

Originally published on the Inside ZSR blog, October 25, 2021

The Queer Repertory

What are the great queer films? The project team of The Queer Repertory aims to answer this question through building a database of films shown at queer film festivals, thus providing a quantifiable claim for a “queer repertory” that has spoken to the LGBTQ+ population over the past 50 years.

This digital humanities project began with extensive archival research led by Jeff Solomon, the Principal Investigator. Gathering these data requires quite a bit of exploration and, well, research, before you can even do the research. Film festivals are events often co-hosted by various groups, so there’s not a central archive to visit. Additionally, organizers are often focused on the event itself, rather than preservation of historical materials, so things like archives of printed programs and updated websites are very difficult to come by.

As a result, the dataset that Solomon has gathered is an incredibly valuable resource for film historians and LGBTQ+ scholars. He has assembled The Queer Repertory project team at Wake Forest University to make this dataset publicly available using the Airtable platform. As a member of the project team, I serve as the project manager to organize the work being done by research assistants, librarians, and researchers.

In the summer of 2021, The Queer Repertory was selected to attend the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS). During our time at ILiADS, we worked with a DH liaison to develop plans for the next phase of development of the project, which includes pursuing grants for creating an intuitive interface for the database. We very much enjoyed networking with the 2021 ILiADS cohort and learning about their inspiring DH projects.

Language and Labor in the Digital Humanities, MLA 2019

I presented a paper on the ways we talk about DH labor at the 2019 MLA Convention. The panel, “Transacting DH: Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities of Collaboration,” was sponsored by the Association for Computers in the Humanities, and was chaired by Lisa Rhody (CUNY), and the panelists included Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Michigan State U), Rikk Mulligan (Carnegie Mellon U), and Dhanashree Thorat (Center for Digital Humanities, Pune, India).

The presentations and discussion focused on the transactional expectations of digital humanities projects and ways to keep humanistic inquiry at the center of projects that are valued according to an increasingly quantitative, metrics-driven system. The ACH blog has posted the abstracts of all of our presentations, and you can access the full text of my paper via Humanities Commons, the MLA’s open-access repository.

Read more about it on ZSR Library’s Inside ZSR blog!

Fred Harvey’s Tourist Map

In 1876, the Santa Fe Railroad hired British restauranteur Fred Harvey in the hopes of marketing their rail line via comfort food. It worked. The Santa Fe became, and still is, one of the most iconic railroads in the US, steeped in nostalgia and Americana.

Here’s a 1955 tourist map from the Fred Harvey Co. that documents the history of the company’s tourism business.

CLIR: The Splendid Torch

I co-authored a piece for the 2017 CLIR Report, A Splendid Torch: Learning and Teaching in Today’s Academic Libraries. I learned so much working alongside Marta Brunner, Ece Turnator, and Bridget Whearty to write “Creating Contact Zones in a ‘Post-Truth’ Era.”

And the best thing about CLIR publications (other than their relevant and important content)? They’re 100% open-access. It’s fun to share the knowledge without charging for it!


Studies in the Novel

Postcard: Elle of Ganado, ca. 1907, Fred Harvey Co. (Courtesy DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University)

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of the fall 2017 special issue of Studies in the Novel, “Gender and the Cultural Preoccupations of the American West,” which I co-edited with Sigrid Anderson Cordell (U Michigan). When the editors of Studies put out a CFP for special issue editors, we jumped at the opportunity to see who else out there was studying the lesser-known aspects of the literary production of American West, particularly the ways gender roles have been negotiated and constructed through literature.

We were the recipients of countless acts of academic generosity and camaraderie during the process of editing the issue, which I was pleasantly surprised to learn is quite the norm for women working in western studies. Victoria Lamont, Krista Comer, Melissa Homestead, Annette Kolodny, and Cathryn Halverson all offered support and mentorship through the process, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Krista ended up writing the Afterword, offering insight and reflection on the issue, as well as vision for the field’s next steps. In the extremely competitive world of academia, it’s refreshing (to say the least) to find a community of women that rallies around its members and advocates for everyone’s success.

Working with Studies‘ Managing Editor, Timothy Boswell, and Editor, Nora Gilbert, was also a delight. Their professional generosity made navigating the world of academic publishing from the editorial side (for the very first time), well, possible.

It is with gratitude that I announce the publication of this special issue.

The Angel in the Harvey House

The ZSR Library at Wake Forest hosts a fabulous lecture series featuring faculty research. I was honored to be invited to give a talk on my current research project that looks at the intersections of commercial culture and women’s literary labor in the U.S. Southwest in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The lecture committee films and archives all of the lectures, and here’s mine!


As I work on my book, I’m constantly reminded of the people that got the project off the ground. Unfortunately, the acknowledgements page in which I thanked these good folks is locked away in my embargoed dissertation. Here’s my digital solution to giving credit to all of my supportive and brilliant collaborators in a more public way. Thanks, everyone.

Acknowledgements, “Waiting, Writing, and Working Women of the Southwest”

Writing a dissertation is a group project. I am deeply grateful to those who gave so selflessly of their time to ensure the success of “Working, Waiting, and Writing Women of the Southwest.” My dissertation committee deserves thanks, praise, and lifelong indebtedness for the hours they spent working with me to brainstorm, draft, revise, and edit this dissertation. Many thanks to Dennis Foster who had faith in me, especially when I did not deserve it, and whose patience and insight saved the day at crucial moments. To Rajani Sudan, who asked all the right questions and suggested all the right theorists. Steven Weisenburger gave this project its edge when he suggested I look at the Fred Harvey Company in conjunction with New Mexico’s salon women. Sherry Smith’s research on southwestern writers and artists, plus her long-distance editing and feedback were indispensable at every stage of the project. For all of their extensive knowledge and superhuman editorial skills, I am thankful and humbled.

I had the good fortune of working with SMU’s DeGolyer Library and the Norwick Digital Center to create a digital humanities project, “Fred Harvey Co. Materials from the DeGolyer Library.” Sincere thanks to Cindy Boeke and the staff at the Digital Center, as well as Russell Martin and Pamalla Anderson at the DeGolyer Library for partnering with me to make Fred Harvey materials available online. In addition, archival work outside of SMU was made possible by SMU’s Clements Center for Southwestern Studies, the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, and the South Central Modern Language Association.

There are countless people whose patience and support made this project a success. I am lucky to have ended up in such a collegial department for my graduate studies, and wish to thank Nina Schwartz and the English faculty for constant support. I am grateful to my cohort, Micah Robbins, Megan Schott, Fred Siegmund, and Michael Pueppke for their humor and good-natured feedback that made it possible to stay afloat during six long years of graduate school. With both nostalgia and thanks to Michael Anderson and Kelly Scanlon for the countless neighborly deeds—too many to list here. My family at Veritas, Brooks Anderson, Bradley Anderson, Fernando Garcia, Eddie Eakin, and Benjamin Verdooren, who were part of my writing process, although they may not have known it. Also to Tara Bixby, Brooke and Patrick Conley, Julia Callaway and Joe Madden, Paula and Noble Feldman, Joyce Nelson, Elizabeth and Brad Parsons, Elizabeth and Jeremy Hummert, Sarah Frances Scarborough, Minou and Alvin Olson, Kasey and Greg Thomason, and Leigh Anne West for your support, despite my extremely long absences in person and on the phone. I am grateful to my family, Terri and Roy Bailey; Paul Johnston; and Leah, Adam, and Amelia Payne, for being excited about absolutely everything, even when none of this made sense (which was quite often). And finally, to Charles Wuest, who makes me smart. Sincere thanks and love to you all.