I am an associate professor of English at Western Michigan University, where I teach courses in children's and YA literature, comics studies, and gender studies: Download Tarbox CV Dec 2013
My early scholarly interests were in cultural history and children's literature, fields I drew upon to write my dissertation, The Clubwomen's Daughters: Collectivist Impulses in Progressive-era Girls' Fiction, which uncovered the way that the first college-educated, politically-active US women modeled their lives and their interests in series books written for girls -- books such as The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. In 2000, The Clubwomen’s Daughters was published by Routledge and was designated as a Choice/ALA Outstanding Academic Title in 2001.
My current research project considers long form comics in the US, British, and Franco-Belgian traditions written about and for adolescents. I love that my work involves international travel. In August 2011, I conducted research at Le Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée/Belgisch Centrum van het Beeldverhaal in Brussels for a project on gender, representation, and engaging narration in graphic narratives that was funded, in part, by a grant from the Children's Literature Association. I also spent time in Paris, meeting comics experts.
In November 2011, I flew to Madrid to give a paper on Moon and Bá's Daytripper at the First International Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels at the Universidad de Alcalá, and I attended a conference on independent comics at the Université de Liège back in Belgium. The picture above is of the research library at the Belgian Comic Strip Library.
This year, I have traveled to the United Kingdom and to Canada to continue my research.
When I am not thinking about narrative theory and comics, I spend my time with a wonderful group of students at Western Michigan University. My students are writing dissertations on YA verse novels, on the figure of the prom queen in girls' literature, on the portrayal of adult women in British children's fantasy, and on female subjectivity in comics. I love my job.