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Erin Bush, Ph.D.

Erin Bush
Title: Assistant Professor
Phone: 706-864-1468

Office: Barnes Hall, 325, Dahlonega
View CV
Areas of Expertise: U.S. History, Digital History, Gilded Age & Progressive Era, Interwar U.S., Crime & Punishment in U.S. History, Sensational Trials, Social History, Gender Studies


Dr. Bush’s research revolves around the societal punishments and cultural responses to crime in America, particularly to crimes committed by women or children. She is also a digital historian who uses data and other digital technologies to help ask and answer questions about the past.

She is completing her book, Under the Guise of Protection: Wayward Girls, Eugenics, and the Growth of Social Authority in Twentieth-Century Virginia (under contract at the University of Virginia Press) which explores the child saving movement in Virginia as it related to other eugenic efforts to stabilize the social order and race relations in the New South.

She is the creator of Death in Diorama: The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a digital history project which explores the miniature crime scenes created by Frances Glessner Lee - the "mother" of forensic science - in the 1940s and 1950s. She's also an accomplished writer and photographer with photos recently displayed in the Palais de Tokyo, and in the online magazine Mental Floss.

Prior to returning to finish her doctoral degree, she built a career in technology companies managing digital products and the creative and technical people responsible for building them. Her technology background has influenced both her own research and her teaching.


  • Ph.D., History, George Mason University, 2019
  • Graduate Certificate, Women and Gender Studies, George Mason University, 2014
  • M.A., History & New Media, George Mason University, 2005
  • B.A., Journalism & History, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

Research/Special Interests

  • Social & cultural history of the U.S. since the Civil War
  • Crime & punishment in U.S. History, including constructions of criminality, carceral institutions, and sensational trials
  • Gender studies, particularly how ideals of femininity and masculinity influenced how criminals have been defined in history
  • Digital research & methods, particularly data analysis and data ethics


“Policing Immorality in a Virginia Girls’ Reformatory,” Southern Cultures 25(2). 2019: 46-61.

“‘Attracted by the Khaki’: War Camps and Wayward Girls in Virginia, 1918–1920,” Current Research in Digital History, Vol. 1, 2018.

Personal Information

  • American Society for Legal History
  • Association for Computers and the Humanities
  • Coordinating Council for Women in History
  • Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
  • Southern Association of Women Historians
  • The Southern Historical Association

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