Being born and raised into a working-class family in Youngstown, Ohio, and witness to the steel era decline in the seventies and eighties encouraged me to study the negotiation of power between governments, business, and the people. Using culture and oral history as the lens to view the Depression era and the 1960s, my research and teaching has focused on how the people redefined themselves, their government, and society in this era of swirling change.
Using the replication of text, images, and ideology, my most recent book, Modernity and the Great Depression: The Transformation of American Society (Kansas University Press, 2017) examines the acceptance and legitimation of modernism during the 1930s to suggest a secular reformation lay at the heart of the Depression era and had profound influence on the decades that followed.
My current research focuses on the 1969 Moon landing, the Helldorado celebrations in Las Vegas from 1934-1945, and how fear helped to construct the national identity in the first half of the last century.
- The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Thematic Encyclopedia, Daniel Leab, Kenneth J. Bindas, Alan Harris Stein, Justin Cornfield, and Steven Danver, editors ABC Clio Press, (2010).
- "Re-Remembering a Segregated Past: Race in American Memory," History & Memory 22 (Spring Summer, 2010), 113-134.
- Remembering the Great Depression in the Rural South, University Press of Florida; First edition (May 27, 2007, paper, 2009)
- Swing, That Modern Sound, University Press of Mississippi (September 2001, paper, 2003)
- All of This Music Belongs to the Nation: The Summer’ Federal Music Project and American Society, 1935-1939, University of Tennessee Press (1995, Paper, 2002)
- America's Musical Pulse: Popular Music in the Twentieth-Century Society, Praeger Paperback (September 30, 1992, paper 1993)
- Modernity and the Great Depression: The Transformation of American Society (University Press of Kansas, 2017)
- The Civilian Conservation Corp and the Construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, 1933 -1939.
- Regional History as Cultural Identity, co-editor, Fabrizio Ricciardelli
- “Great Lakes or Middle West: The 1936-1937 Great Lakes Exposition and Regional Identity,” Studies in Midwestern History, 3 (July, 2017), 25-43
- 2014 Oral History Association Oral History in a Non-Print Format Award 2012 Outstanding Research and Scholar Award, Kent State University