For more than 20 years, I’ve reported on, analyzed, and written intimate narrative about American social issues, focusing on health, healthcare, and medicine. My first book, The Caregivers: A Support Group’s Stories of Slow Loss, Courage, and Love, chronicles two years in the lives of people caring for ill and elderly family members (Scribner 2014; paperback 2015). Since the fall of 2016, I’ve been pursuing a PhD in American Studies at Brown, focusing on the politics of care. In AY 2020-2021, I held an American Dissertation Fellowship from the American Association of University Women and for three years have been a research associate with the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center.
I was the founding editor of the Nieman Narrative Digest, now called Nieman Storyboard, at Harvard University. I’ve received journalism fellowships from the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University and from the Gerontological Society of America. I love teaching, and have taught courses in American Studies, journalism, and writing at Smith College, UMass-Amherst, Brown University, and other institutions. I have a BA in cultural anthropology from Smith and an MA in American Studies from Brown.
My next book — based on my dissertation, “Mother. Nurse. Housewife. Maid: Gender, Race, and Care Justice in America” — is about care politics in the United States. Using journalism, archival research, and cultural analysis, I argue that the work of caring for others has been at the center of enduring American political struggle. On the one hand, women of all races have been subjugated by care labors, and this gendered subjugation has spurred feminist resistance. Yet white women’s care has also been culturally elevated, and white women and men across the political spectrum take up this elevation in ways that serve their political interests. Meanwhile Black and brown women’s care is denigrated, except when it serves whiteness. My book makes sense of, and traces struggle over, this racialization of women’s care.
When not pursuing such serious matters, I love making music with my husband and two sons, and hiking and biking with friends. I’ve practiced mindfulness meditation and yoga for most of my adult life.