History Department
History Department

Ava Purkiss


M.A., African and African Diaspora Studies, Florida International University

Ava Purkiss

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Interests


Modern U.S. History, African American History, Women’s History, African Diaspora, History of the Body

Biography


Ava Purkiss is a doctoral candidate studying modern U.S., African American, and women’s history. Her dissertation, ‘“Mind, Soul, Body, and Race’: Black Women’s Purposeful Exercise in the Age of Physical Culture, 1900-1939,” investigates how and why physical exercise became essential to black women’s racial uplift campaigns and assertions of citizenship in the early twentieth century.  She examines the economic, political, and social barriers to exercise for black women and how they circumvented those barriers to be meaningful participants in national fitness movements. Purkiss earned her B.A. in psychology from Dickinson College and her M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies from Florida International University. She is currently a pre-doctoral fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. 

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