Some tools from our cataloging project at Walking Box Ranch

Some tools from our cataloging project at Walking Box Ranch

Teaching remains front-and-center on my professional agenda. As the associate director of the public history program at UNLV, I teach students about American history. I also show them how history is presented, interpreted, and revised to suit our social and cultural needs. History—-and the study of it—-is shape shifting.

My teaching and research inform one another. Material culture is primary to both. When I worked in a museum, I asked high schoolers to pull a steamer trunk across the room before I talked about immigration. In my classes, architecture, decorative arts, textiles, and clothing are discussed, seen, and touched. I place these objects in their historical context and connect them to larger themes of the twentieth century: the evolution of consumerism; changes in meanings of “masculinity” and “femininity”; and the development of the American middle class.

Teaching Fall 2013:

Clothing and American Culture

From rolled stockings and bobbed hair to afros and dashikis, clothing and appearance serve as indispensable markers of the last century’s sweeping social change. This course examines how key social and cultural developments came to influence fashion trends and presents how a diverse cross-section of Americans used personal appearance to define and display who they were. It begins with the redefinition of masculinity and femininity that was linked to the emergence of sports culture at the turn of the century and it concludes with the rise of the “hip-hop nation,” whose cultural influence defies race, class, and geography.

The course juxtaposes broader trends such as modernization, immigration, and urbanization with the role that personal appearance played in the everyday lives of a range of Americans. The histories of the body, gender, and sexuality are integrated with topics including social stratification, ethnic identity, race, consumption, and material culture.

The syllabus.

Check out this one for my graduate level

public history course.

Teaching Experience

World History I and II
History of Italians in America
Writing for History Majors
Colloquium on Public History
Clothing and American Culture (Fall, 2013)