Photo by: Heather M. Mull
Parsons' current book project is a history of "thugs" in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This will be both a labor history and a cultural history of men (and women) whose profession was to commit or threaten violence on behalf of others. She is beginning this project with a series of articles focusing on Pinkertons and other strikebreakers.
Parsons' first book, Manhood Lost: Drunken Men and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), claims that temperance discourse, by questioning men's autonomy and agency, created a space for women's relative empowerment both in the home and the public sphere.
Parsons' articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Southern History, and the Journal of Social History, among others. She has also written several short pieces for HNN, We're History, and Dame Magazine.
Parsons is a proud member of the Elsinore-Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice at State Correctional Institute-Pittsburgh. She is editing a collection of essays and poems written by members of the group, most of whom are serving life sentences without the chance of parole, about how their identities have transformed as a result of their experiences of incarceration.
Parsons is the review editor for the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the director of the Women's and Gender Studies Center at Duquesne University.