Expert in nineteenth-century American literature, especially African American and women writers; children's literature; race, gender, and sexuality; American Girl books.
- Race and reproduction, interracial families and kinship, and interracial adoption in culture, politics, and history.
- African American children, as readers of and as represented in children's literature from nineteenth century to present.
- American Girl books and dolls. Representation of girlhood in historical fiction book and doll series.
- Representation of animals and human-animal relationships in culture, politics, and history.
- African American women and African American women writers in culture, politics, and history.
- Last Fellow in Historic American Visual Culture at the American Antiquarian Society, 2011.
- Fellow, Wesleyan University Animal Studies Program, 2012 & 2016.
- Recipient of inaugural Lydia Maria Child Society Social Justice Award, 2016.
- Author of journal articles in Early American Studies, American Quarterly, J19: Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, and Studies in American Fiction.