Dara Vance is a 4th year PhD student at the University of Kentucky, studying US Southern history. Dara has a background in fine art and works to wed her academic research and paintings into synthesized scholarship. Prior to her studies in Kentucky, Dara earned a MA in Florida History, an MA in Education Leadership, a BFA in Painting, and studied for an MFA in Fashion Design.
Dara’s dissertation investigates the intersection of gender and environment in Southeast Florida’s Indian River region from 1860-1900. Tidal Exchange: Place, Gender, and Improvised Survival in South Florida, 1860-1900 upends the gendering of the environment as feminine and vulnerable and places topography, weather events, and extreme isolation at the center of the Florida migrant experience. As a result the environment becomes the main force informing gender roles across race and class. Using environmental factors to push against gender, racial, and class constructs expands the opportunity for environment study to have a substantial voice in historical inquiry.
Dara currently resides in a small coastal town in central Florida. She spends her free time researching Florida ghost towns, maintaining her xeriscaped yard, and herding three cats. She can be found on Twitter.