Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Furman University
Website URL
American history, women, gender, and sexuality studies, clothing, purses, race, African American history, vaudeville, blackface, impersonation, material culture, sexism, racism, intersectionality
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Kathleen B. Casey is the Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and a Professor of History at Furman University. She received her doctorate in History and certification in Gender and Women’s Studies in 2010 from the University of Rochester, where she received the Susan B. Anthony Award for Most Distinguished Dissertation in Women’s Studies. After serving as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Rochester from 2010 to 2011, she was a Dean’s Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Honors College from 2011 to 2012. She then spent the next ten years teaching at Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach.

Professor Casey’s area of expertise is late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American cultural and social history and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies more broadly. Her research and teaching interests include modern American popular and material culture, gender and sexuality, and African-American history. Her first book, The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville (University of Tennessee Press, 2015) explores performances of gender and race from 1900 to 1930. Her current project, The Things She Carried: Women and the Power of the Purse, is a cultural and social biography of the purse, which explores how and why purses became intimately linked with evolving understandings of gender, travel, waged work, and modernity. It is under contract with Oxford University Press and is expected to be published in 2025.

Recent Publications

Casey_PrettiestGirl, Cover (1)SCHOLARLY BOOKS

The Prettiest Girl on Stage is a Man: Race and Gender Benders in American Vaudeville  (University of Tennessee Press, Oct 2015)

The Things She Carried: Women and the Power of the Purse (Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2025).


Pickets, Protests and Purses in the American Civil Rights MovementGender and History, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Oct 2023), 1070-1088.

“Sex, Savagery and the Woman Who Made Vaudeville Famous,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, University of Nebraska Press, Vol. 36, No. 1, March 2015.

“‘The Jewish Girl with a Colored Voice’: Sophie Tucker and the Sounds of Gender and Race in Modern America,” Journal of American Culture, Wiley Periodicals, Vol. 38, No. 1, March 2015.

“The Renaissance of Feminist Bookstores,”,  Jan 21, 2023.
“Teaching the Deep Roots of Abortion in America,”, Nov. 30, 2022.


“The First Self-Proclaimed Drag-Queen was a Formerly Enslaved Man,” by Cari Shane, Smithsonian Magazine, Jun 9, 2023.

‘What was Fun?’ by Rachel Sugar, Vox,com, Oct 2020.
Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Emancipation, Gender, Material Culture, Race, Sexuality, Urban History, Women