Beck’s caught the bug for higher education as she earned her BA in English and Psychology at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. After earning insufficient pocket change while performing stand-up comedy and improv professionally, she went on to earn an MA in Women’s Studies from OhioState University and a Ph.D. in American Studies from University of Maryland, College Park. Her research specializations are studies in humor and performance with a focus on stand-up comedy; social justice and resistance movements; media representations; visual and popular culture; and American subcultures, specifically survivalists and preppers or those preparing for large-scale disasters.


  • Women’s history
  • Humor and laughter
  • Social identities
  • Studies of visual and popular culture
  • Identity and difference
  • Theater and performance
  • Preppers and post-apocalyptic cultural texts
  • Pedagogical studies

Current Research

  • “Hannah Gadsby Stands Down: Feminist Comedy Studies,” in Journal of Cinema and Media Studies.

    Winter 2019.

  • Preppers, Survivalists, and Homesteaders: Creating Community Under Crisis

    Monograph in Progress.