University of South Florida
College of Arts and Sciences
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Cassandra L. Yacovazzi
University of Missouri, PhD
My classes focus on American history from the time of exploration to the present, often centering on race, class, gender, religion, and cultural history. I offer several lecture courses in these areas, including “American Women I” (AMH3561), “American Women II” (AMH3562), “United States, 1914-1945” (AMH3231), “United States, 1877-1914” (AMH3201), “Research Methods in History: Utopian Experiments in America” (HIS3900), and “Research Methods in History: The Transformation of America, 1960-1980” (HIS3900). I have also taught courses on American Religious History, American History through Literature, and Nativism and Immigration in the US.
In the classroom, I encourage students to move beyond memorization to assessing, valuing, and interpreting the past by grappling with conflicting evidence and multiple viewpoints. I include assignments that foster critical and creative thinking and provide the opportunity for students to work as historians by handling primary sources and entering the conversation of secondary scholarship. Finally it is important to me to create an environment of free inquiry where students feel acknowledged and respected.
My research focuses on the intersection of women’s work, religion, and consumerism. Currently I am writing a book on Mary Kay Ash and Mary Kay Inc., the cosmetics company, exploring the ways in which women created a network of support, forged new avenues of business, participated in and helped define the beauty culture, and reconciled religion with capitalism within the context of the late twentieth century US. My previous work also looked at female communities, examining Catholic nuns and opposition to them in the first half of the nineteenth century US.
“‘Are You Allowed to Read the Bible in a Convent?’: Protestant Perspectives on the Catholic Approach to Scripture in Convent Narratives, 1830-1860.” U.S. Catholic Historian 31, no. 3 (Summer 2013)
Escaped Nuns: True Womanhood and the Campaign Against Convents in Antebellum America (Oxford University Press, 2018). Reviewed in the New York Review of Books.
“‘Down with the Convent!’: Anti-Catholicism and Opposition to Nuns in Antebellum America,” Blackwell Companion to American Religious History (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming, November 2020) (forthcoming book chapter)