The Literary Tradition of Domestic Violence
This project began with my obsession with the careless violence against women in appalachian folk ballads that remain a vibrant part of American music communities today. It deepened as I noticed a pattern in 18th and 19th century American novels in which a woman is murdered by her own husband as a function of the expanding frontier. As I researched the subject, I uncovered a striking critical disregard, which I argue parallels our ability to persistently un-see violence against women in contemporary culture. This work served as my culminating project for my Master's degree, and I will continue to develop these ideas into a book length piece, and develop a literature class based on my research. Click through to see abstracts, presentations, and links.
Wolves are a fraught topic in the western United States - in the history of predator annihilation and recent reintroductions and returns, we can read a violent account of the traumas of insitutional racism and colonization have shaped our states. When Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife set a date to vote on removing gray wolve's from Oregon's state endangered species list, I got involved with Bark, a local forest advocacy non-profit, to fight the de-listing, but more importantly, to complicate the narrative. In addition to organizing and attending rallies and protests, commenting at public hearings, analyzing policy and science documents, I wrote a paper detailing how discourse around the wolf is drenched in terrified dog whistles for white supremacy and ecological domination. Click through for a portion of my work, published on Bark's website, presentations, materials from a public event I organized and put on to share the history of predators in Oregon and our futures seeking justice and fighting climate change.
Even the most casual observers of American pop country music have noticed: something doesn't sound like it used to. For the past three years, I've been exploring the new country sound and rhetoric on the radio, as well as submerging myself in the newly forgotten transgressive, feminist histories in the now co-opted poor, rural art form. I'm currently working on turning my writing, presentations and research into a book that values accessibility and humor as much as intellectual ideas.
In the winter and spring of 2016, I worked with CoHo Productions, a small, ambitious theatre in northwest Portland, to innovate audience outreach and interaction. I developed a blog for their website in which I wrote several essays contextualiizing and complicating the history of their winter production, an adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." I opened up a new platform for other dramaturgs, writers, or experts to contribute deeper insights regarding CoHo's plays, as well as instigating a series for interviewing actors, directors, and technical producers and telling behind the scenes stories to the audience. I also learned the ropes of event and production marketing, which I will continue to employ at another local Willamette valley theater in the coming months.
County Parks: Forgotten Public Spaces and Oregon History
For about five years, I've been carrying on an ongoing project of visiting, documenting, and memorializing Oregon's county parks. I was first drawn to these often unspectacular public spaces looking for isolated spots to work with my rescue dog. I soon began to discover that county parks are often peculiar nooks of misplaced Oregon history - they are often sites of former pioneer ferry landings and camps, of powerhouses and mills, or remnants of 19th century hereditary land disputes. The eeriness of these at times well kept, at other times crumbling, ill-marked and hidden parcels of physical history continues to inspire my curiosity. I plan to eventually visit every county park in Oregon, and compose a photojournalistic memoir detailing their stories.