Jennifer Bess

Associate ProfessorPeace Studies

Jennifer Bess is an Associate Professor of Academic Program at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her doctorate, with a specialization in Early Modern English literature, in 1995 at the Catholic University of America. After graduating, she began teaching in Goucher’s composition program and served as the community-based learning coordinator from 2001-2011. During that time, she also began teaching in the Peace program. In courses that are broadly humanistic and include history and literature, she addresses issues of power and resistance to hegemony. 

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Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress

Current research involves a case study of the maintenance and justifications of colonial power and resistance to that power. Specifically, I am examining the history of an agricultural experimental station established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Gila River Indian Reservation, home to the Akimel O’odham (or Pima), in south-central Arizona.


“The Right to More than a Cabbage Patch: Akimel O’odham Sacred Stories and the Form and Content of Petitions to the Federal Government, 1899–1912.”  Ethnohistory 63.1 (2016): 119-142.

“The Price of Pima Cotton: The Cooperative Testing and Demonstration Farm at Sacaton, Arizona, and the Decline of the Pima Agricultural Economy, 1907-1920.” Western Historical Quarterly 46.2 (2015): 171–189.

“The New Egypt, Pima Cotton and the Role of Native Wage Labor on the Cooperative Testing and Demonstration Farm, Sacaton, Arizona, 1907-1917.” Agricultural History 88.4 (2014): 491-516.

“Indigenizing the Safety Zone: Contesting Ideologies in Foodways at the Chilocco Indian Industrial School, 1902-18.” Journal of the Southwest 55.2 (2013): 193-226.

“More than a Food Fight: Intellectual Traditions and Cultural Continuity in Chilocco’s Indian School Journal, 1902-1918.” American Indian Quarterly 37.1/2 (2013): 77-110.

“Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Hema and Kaushik’: An Anatomy of Loneliness, a Transformation of Tragedy.” South Asian Review 33.2 (2012): 117-38.

“Casting a Spell: Acts of Cultural Continuity in Carlisle Indian Industrial School’s The Red Man and Helper.” Wicazo Sa Review 26.2 (2011): 13-38.

François, Irline and Jennifer Bess. “Paradise Deferred: Utopia, Eutopia and Dystopia in Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane.” Anglistica AION: An Interdisciplinary Journal 14.1 (2010): 74-84.

"Schooling to Virtue in Sidney's Astrophil and Stella, Sonnet 49." The Explicator 67.3 (2009): 186-191.

“Imploding the Miranda Complex in Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Acccents.” College Literature 34.1 (2007): 78-105.  

“Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies.” The Explicator 62.6 (2004): 125-8.

“‘Kill the Indian and Save the Man!’ Charles Eastman Surveys His Past.” Wicazo Sa Review 15.1 (2000): 7-28.

“Hakluyt’s Discourse on Western Planting.” The Explicator 55.1 (1996): 3-6.

External Awards, Honors, Grants

2016   James Madison Prize, awarded for outstanding articles or essays on any aspect of the history of the federal government, the Society for History in the Federal Government.

Conference Papers & Panel Participation

“Unpacking the Mirage of Progress and Its Reign over History a Tribute to Michel-Rolph Trouillot.” Haitian Studies Association, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2013

“Integrating Disciplines & Crossing Boundaries: Goucher College’s Senior Service-Learning Capstone 2002.” Paper delivered with Dr. Gail Edmonds, Ray Dabak (’02) and Constance Herasingh (’02). Association of American Colleges and Universities, St. Louis, MO, 2002

“Making Connections: A Service-Learning Liberal Arts Course.” Maryland Association for Higher Education. Baltimore, MD, 2001

“Artifacts and Ambiguities in Myriam Warner-Vieyra’s Juletane.” African Literature Association. Richmond, VA, 2001

“Loud Silences and Original Endings: Narrative Design in Julia Alvarez’ How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.” Northeast Modern Language Association. Buffalo, NY, 2000

“Literacy and Autobiography in Freshman Composition.” Northeast Modern Language Association. Baltimore, MD, 1998

“Pocahontas and Powdered Wife: The Deconstruction of Civility in John Smith’s Historie.” Group for Early Modern Cultural Studies. Pittsburgh, PA, 1996

“Relocating Eden in Early Modern Literature of Exploration.” Purdue University, Lafayette, IN, 1994

“From Mother to Bride: Prefigurations of Francis Bacon’s Image of Nature in Early Modern Travel Literature.” West Chester University, West Chester, PA, 1992