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Becoming the Ex-Wife:
The Unconventional Life
& Forgotten Writings of
University of California Press, April 2023.
Available at the UC Press Webpage or from your local bookseller.
With the support of a National Humanities Center Fellowship in 2019-2020 and an NEH Public Scholar Fellowship in 2020-2021, I wrote Becoming the Ex-Wife: The Unconventional Life & Forgotten Writings of Ursula Parrott. Although virtually unknown today, Ursula Parrott (1899-1957) was routinely and casually described in the press during her lifetime as “famous.” She was a prolific author, Hollywood screenwriter, and consistent headline-grabber over the course of her colorfu life. My book conveys her life and times in relation to the idea of the new modern woman of the 1930s and 1940s, who worked, married and divorced, and lived her life in ways that upset longstanding American values.
Check out my 2-minute Ursula Parrott launch video, May 2023 Lost Ladies of Lit Podcast about Ursula, an excerpt that appeared in the NEH's Humanities magazine, and a UC Press Q&A about the project. "Becoming the Ex-Wife" has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Baffler, The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Review of Books, the New York Sun, and elsewhere.
Published by Duke University Press in November 2019 and shortlisted for the 2020 Kraszna-Krausz Moving Image Book Award, Marsha Gordon and Allyson Nadia Field have co-edited a collection of eighteen essays, Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film, which adds to the growing study of nontheatrical films by focusing on the way filmmakers developed and audiences encountered ideas about race, identity, politics, and community outside the borders of theatrical cinema. The contributors to Screening Race in American Nontheatrical Film examine the place and role of race in educational films, home movies, industry and government films, anthropological films, and church films, as well as other forms of nontheatrical filmmaking. The book is now available open access through the Knowledge Unlatched program.
Film is Like a Battleground: Sam Fuller's War Movies is the first book to focus on the genre that best defined the American director's career: the war film. It draws on previously unexplored archival materials, such as Fuller's Federal Bureau of Investigation files and WWII-era 16mm films, to explore the director's lifelong interest in making challenging, thought-provoking, and often politically dangerous movies about war. Oxford UP has excerpts from reviews of the book on their website. You can also read the full text of Don Crafton's 2019 review of the book published in The Moving Image.
Across twenty-one chapters, a substantial Introduction, and a valuable guide to educational film collections, Learning With the Lights Off provides readers the context and access needed to develop a sophisticated understanding of, and a new appreciation for, the much overlooked film legacy of educational film in the United States.
Learning with the Lights Off received the best-edited collection award from the Society for Cinema & Media Studies in 2013.
Hollywood Ambitions examines a varied and untraditional cast of characters—Wyatt Earp, Jack London, Clara Bow, Gertrude Stein, and Ida Lupino—to Investigate their separate involvements with the expanding film industry and to demonstrate the unifying role that the American motion picture capital played in shaping cultural notions of reputation, success, glamour, and visibility.
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