Meet Ashley E. Palmer
Assistant Professor, English and Writing
Education: 2005 Barnard College, Columbia University, B.A.
2010 University of Texas at Austin, M.A.
2015 University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D.
Courses Taught: Writing and Research
Career Specialties: Ashley Palmer’s research focuses on narratives of women’s work, highlighting intersections of gender, labor and consumer culture in American literature and popular culture. She teaches courses related to her research as well as courses with an emphasis on writing and argumentation.
Professional and Community Activities: Palmer’s current book project analyzes and recovers American literature in the late 1800s and early 1900s that depicts the labor of shopgirls working in department stores. These shopgirl novels raise questions about the systems that underpin our consumer behavior, the roles gender and class play in our perceptions of working women, as well as the genesis of labor reform and its locus of power.
A former project manager and assistant editor with the Walt Whitman Archive, Palmer continues to work in the digital humanities. In conjunction with her research, she is developing a digital archive that compiles digital images of archival materials relating to American department store fiction and its historical contexts between 1880 and 1920.
Her recent publications include “The Heart of Capitalism: Contested Visions of Labor Reform in Lurana Sheldon’s Department Store Novels” in
Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers
(2017) and “Forgetting the Uncomfortable: Reading the Shadows of Retail Labor in Sister Carrie and Susan Lenox” in
American Literary Realism