Participant Info

First Name
Ava
Last Name
Purkiss
Affiliation
University of Michigan
Website URL
Keywords
Race + gender + health, black women’s history, African American history, modern American history, women and gender studies, fitness culture, fat studies, history of medicine
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

I am an historian and Assistant Professor of American Culture and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. My research interests lie at the intersection of race, gender, and health. My book-in-progress examines African American women’s physical exercise in the twentieth century, with attention to how exercise enabled black women to express both literal and figurative fitness for citizenship. This work places black women squarely within the history of American fitness culture and compels scholars to rethink assumptions about black women’s mobility, physicality, and definitions of health.

Recent Publications

Purkiss, Ava. ‘“Beauty Secrets: Fight Fat’: Black Women’s Aesthetics, Exercise, and Fat Stigma, 1900-1930s.” Journal of Women’s History 29, no. 2 (Summer 2017): 14-37.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Medicine, Race, Women