I write most often about American women writers, women’s roles, and intentional or “utopian” communities and food practices. Americans in Italy and other sites abroad is a topic of particular interest. I bring forward ideas from the past–still pressing today–not only in my writing but also through lectures, group workshops, and educational trips. Some of these are mentioned on my Talks and Trips page.
My writing is grounded in my work as a university professor. I have been on the faculty at Missouri State University since 1995. In my teaching and in other public venues, I ask us to consider how people and communities of the past push us to consider contemporary concerns.
Recent publications discuss translator and poet Caroline Crane Marsh, who lived in Italy for twenty years as wife of US Minister Plenipotentiary (i.e. “ambassador”); Philadelphia news correspondent in Rome, Anne Hampton Brewster; utopian food practices, and American and Italian alternative communities.
Marsh and Brewster are two of three women central to my forthcoming book, Engaging Italy, on 19th-century Americans in Italy. Shorter profiles of these women are available through blogs I wrote for the New York Public Library Research Fellows site and Anne Boyd Rioux’s “Bluestocking Bulletin” ( June 2019 & June-July 2017). These women each went abroad at mid-life, following what I refer to as their “later vocations.” These callings after their early years allowed them to continue to learn, grow and change.
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For more details of my professional background as a university professor, contact me through the link below.