My research interests include English- and Spanish-language media and their historical and modern representations of political economy and culture, literary journalism, and country weekly newspapers.
My dissertation, which was awarded the 2013 Margaret A. Blanchard Doctoral Dissertation Prize for the outstanding dissertation in media history, comparatively analyzes news coverage of Mexican repatriation, deportation, and immigration in English- and Spanish-language daily newspapers in San Antonio, Texas, during the Great Depression. They Came to Toil: News Frames of Wanted and Unwanted Mexicans in the Great Depression is an exploration of mediated history and socially constructed reality. The study spans 1929-1934, the deepest recessionary period of the Depression. It also coincides with pivotal events in US immigration history including state and local government-initiated campaigns to repatriate almost 500,000 Mexicans and Mexican Americans from the United States, with the most departing from Texas. By examining the similarities and differences in newspaper coverage in the state that experienced the greatest number of repatriations, this study illuminates how the media’s symbolic annihilation of the Mexican and Mexican-American experience during this period contributed to an episode of invisible civil rights history. This little-known episode in U.S. history has received virtually no examination through the media lens. University of North Carolina’s Graduate School supported my dissertation with a $4,000 research grant.
Community newspapers, another under-explored area of the media, are also a research interest. My article, “Pine Straw in an Evil Wind: A study of James Boyd, The Pilot of Southern Pines, N.C., 1941-1944,” sheds new light on what a country weekly editor can be or can do. The article is in press and slated for publication in the Winter 2012 issue of American Journalism. The article explores how Boyd, an acclaimed historical fiction author of his day, promote social change through his stewardship of The Pilot. Boyd is not widely remembered today outside of his home state. But Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Michael Kammen, in his Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture, repeatedly cited Boyd’s work, calling him “the engaging historical novelist and essayist from North Carolina.”