- Ph.D. Duke University (2004)
- M.A. George Washington University (1997)
- B.A. University of Toronto (1995)
Department of History
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL A1C 5S7
Phone: (709) 864-8430
Fax: (709) 864-2164
I am an Associate Professor in the History Department at Memorial University of Newfoundland where I teach courses in American film history and American cultural history.
My current research looks at the complex interplay between film and tourism during the first half of the 20th century by tracing the history of the 'tourism film'. Specifically, I am interested in the ways in which the United States perceived Canada and Canadians through the lens of film and tourism, as well as how Canada sold itself through motion pictures in order to attract US tourists. My research aims to help us understand the development of Canada's national destination brand.
My other major area of research interest is the comparative border studies and film. I am the author of Borderland Films: American Cinema, Mexico, and Canada during the Progressive Era, which examines the intersection of North American borderlands and culture as portrayed through early twentieth-century cinema. In this monograph I investigate the significance of national borders; the ever-changing concepts of race, gender, and enforced boundaries; the racialized ideas of criminality; and how international conflict significantly influenced the United States’ relations with its immediate neighbors.
I am also engaged in the relationship between film and history, that is, how film culture informs our notions of the past. My research broadly includes not only the interpretation of motion pictures as primary sources, but also considers changing modes of production, sensory experiences, perception, and “ways of seeing” in particular historical contexts.
Current Research Projects
- Northern Getaway: Film, Tourism, and Selling Canada
I am interested in working with graduate students or honours students whose research interests include: Film History (US/Canada); Popular Culture; US History (late 19th-20th century); Border Studies; and Tourism. Students will be trained in multidisciplinary approaches to history and will learn advanced techniques in archival and digital research, particularly in the use of visual primary source materials.
- Borderland Films: American Cinema, Mexico and Canada during the Progressive Era. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.
- “Landscapes, Wildlife, and Grey Owl: Settler Colonial Imaginaries and Tourist Spaces in William J. Oliver’s Parks Branch Films, 1920s-1930s,” in Cinematic Settlers: The Settler Colonial World in Film, ed. Janne Lahti and Rebecca Weaver-Hightower (Routledge, 2020).
- “James Oliver Curwood: Advertising Canada Across the Border,” Journal of Canadian Studies 52, no. 3 (2019): 691-717.
- “Five Little Stars: The Dionne Quintuplets, Motherhood, and Tourism during the Great Depression,” Historical Journal of Film, Television, and Radio 39, no. 1 (2019): 54-74.
- “All Aboard: Travel Films, Railroads, and the North American West, 1897-1910.” American Review of Canadian Studies 45, no. 1 (2015): 8-25.
- “Leaky Borders: Smuggling Opium and Chinese Labor in Progressive-Era Motion Pictures.” The Journal of American Culture 37, no. 4 (2014): 394-403.
- “Vacationland: Film, Tourism, and Selling Canada, 1897-1948.” Canadian Journal of Film Studies 21, no. 2 (November 2012): 27-48.
- “Big Spy Country: Film and the U.S.-Canada Borderlands during the Second World War,” 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies 29 (Summer 2012).
- "Women in Between: Representations of Gender, Race, and Nation in Ramona and The Barrier." Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 31, no. 2 (2010): 145-176.
- "The Redcoat and the Ranger: Screening Bilateral Friendship in Cecil B. DeMille's Northwest Mounted Police (1940)." American Review of Canadian Studies 38, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 43-60.
- "Primitive Encounters" Film and Tourism in the North American West," Western Historical Quarterly 38, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 47-68.
- "The Tourism of Titillation: Film and Cross-Border Tourism in Niagara Falls and Tijuana," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, 17 (2006): 181-205.
- "Dark Limbo: Film Noir and the North American Borders," Journal of American Culture 29, vol. 2 (June 2006): 125-138.