Current projects

 

CURRENT PROJECTS

 

Power Under Her Foot: Women Enthusiasts of American Muscle Cars

I am currently expanding my previous work on women and classic muscle cars into a book-sized project. In this endeavor I am broadening the focus to include all generations of muscle cars - the old cars, the new cars, and the generations in between - and the women who own them. I spent the summer of 2015 collecting data from 40 additional women who own and drive the older but not classic version [1974-2004] as well as the modern retro version. My goal in this project is to consider how these women compare to those in my previous studies not only in demographics, but also in the meanings they ascribe to the muscle car, the strategies they use to enter muscle car culture, as well as the ways in which they call upon the muscle car to reimagine what it means to be a woman driver.

 

Now Available at McFarland Books, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

 

A Woman and Her Truck: Pickups, the Woman Driver, and Cowgirl Feminism

This project addresses the woman driver's growing, yet often unacknowledged, interest in the pickup truck not only as a mode of transportation, but also as a source of identity formation. Citing a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado Commercial - "A Woman and her Truck" - it investigates how female pickup drivers often assume cowgirl personas as a means to gain access into an automotive culture traditionally associated with masculinity, and to establish themselves as exceptional "woman drivers." Developed through interviews conducted with 25 female truck owners, this paper employs the lens of cowgirl feminism - a concept coined by Laura Jane Moore in her historical examination of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame - to consider how the woman driver as cowgirl calls upon the pickup truck as an important site of autonomy, meaning making, and empowerment.

 

This article has been accepted for publication in the European Journal of American Culture

 

Born to Drive: Elderly Women's Recollections of Early Automotive Experiences

Much of women's automotive experience is hidden due to the automobile's longstanding association with masculinity. This project is drawn from interviews from women in their 80s and 90s who came of age during an era in which women were discouraged from driving. It not only uncovers the various strategies women employed to overcome obstacles to automobility, but also provides important evidence of women's longstanding enthusiasm for cars and the driving experience.

 

This paper was presented at the Popular Culture Association of America Conference in April, 2017, and has been submitted to an academic journal for consideration.

 

Where on the Web is Dorothy Haener?: Recovering Dorothy Haener from Labor, Automotive, and Women's History

Dorothy Haener was the first woman elected to a negotiating committee in the UAW, a board member of the UAW's Women's Committee, and was a founding member of the National Organization for Women. However, despite Haener's considerable accomplishments, her online presence is nearly invisible. This paper attempts to not only bring attention to Haener's pioneering work for women's rights, but through her complicated labor and feminist history, offers a possible theory as well as a potential remedy for Haener's exclusion from these important online locations.

 

This paper has been submitted to an academic journal for consideration.