The common thread that unites my work over the past ten years is an interest in the role of narrative in community. It is in our stories that we tell each other who we are. In these stories we assert our identity, and we also try on new possibilities. This work that stories do is evident in their content, in their structure, and in their circulation as material objects.
As stories and genres move across the boundaries of time and culture, they change to fit their new contexts, and yet their relationship to earlier textual traditions remains recognizable. One key tool for tracking these relationships in my research is structural analysis, which reveals a dynamic tension between continuity and change in adaptations of familiar stories. As communities change, so do their stories, but this change happens incrementally and gradually. This way of doing research offers a perspective that cuts across the traditional categories of time periods and national literatures.
My research shines a spotlight on marginalized texts and media that receive serious scholarly attention less often than they should. Children’s books and movies, chic lit and chic flicks, and the fruits of women’s reproductive labor pervade our daily lives, and we schoalrs should be analysing them in conversation with the texts that we call literary fiction and cinema.