Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Florida
Website URL
20th century, US, cultural history, self-help, history of medicine, alcohol, drugs, therapy, addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, feminism, popular culture, populism, media studies, print culture
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I’m a 20th-century US cultural and literary historian with a focus on gender and popular culture. My sub-specialties are the history of medicine, with a focus on therapy; addiction and recovery; and self-help; and the history of print culture, with a focus on the evolution of book publishing/promotion and on the place of reading in the lives of everyday people. Believe it or not, there is a substantial overlap between these two things– you’ll see it next time you browse the self-help section of a bookstore!

I have a Phd in American Studies from Yale (1998), an MA in English from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College (1995), and a BA from N.Y.U, Gallatin Division (1987). Before I became an academic I taught high school English, and before that I worked as a cook and caterer/event planner.

I’m the c0-founder and Managing Editor Emeritus of Points: the Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society.

Recent Publications

Public Writing

“Self-Help in America: A Project for Moral Perfection” (American Historian, August 2017)

“Teaching Moments from the Hypatia Controversy” (Inside Higher Ed, June 2017)

“How We Survived the Election” (with Michelle Perez; Gainesville Sun, Nov. 2016)

Academic Writing

“The Intersectional Origins of Women’s Substance Abuse Treatment: Detroit’s WOMAN Center, 1970-1985Contemporary Drug Problems 44.4 (2017): 265-285.

Rethinking Therapeutic Culture (co-editor, with Timothy Aubry; Chicago, 2015)

The Language of the Heart: the Recovery Movement from AA to Oprah (UNC, 2009)




Media Coverage
"Rehab, Recovery, and the History of 12-Step Thinking" (CBC Radio, On Drugs, 17 April 2018); "Women in AA" (Rebellion Dogs radio, episode 34, 6 Nov. 2017)
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
Book History, Gender, Medicine