Ashley received an M.A. in Women's and Gender Studies from Rutgers University in 2009 and an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2006. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Women's and Gender Studies at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. She is currently researching two new chapters for her book manuscript "Belonging in Myaamionki" on Miami Indian experiences of settler colonialism in the Lower Great Lakes. An article that draws from this research, "Archival Absence: the burdens of history," was recently published in Settler Colonial Studies (Winter 2015.) She teaches courses on interdisciplinary feminist methodologies, the co-constructions of race, gender, and nation, as well as the heteropatriarchy of colonialisms.
Frances Slocum has become the most famous Miami Indian woman in history, which is surprising because she was born to a white Quaker family. This project traces the formation of her captivity narrative as she is transformed into a figure of local history in two distinct places: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania where she was captured and Peru, Indiana where she lived and was buried. Settler Histories of Place examines the periods in which her narrative gains popularity and finds that her story circulates most widely at moments when there are broader movements to take control of Miami Indian lands in Indiana. How storytellers describe her racial identity shapes how she is imagined as a historical figure of settler and native history. What details are included or omitted shapes how the violence of settling the United States is imagined. Narratives about Frances Slocum are used in two particular regions as key historical stories of place. These stories use racial descriptions to naturalize a settler sense of belonging, normalizing settler claims to land inhabited by the Miami. Accounting for Miami perspectives of Frances Slocum disrupts settler narratives of Miami absence and reveals the cultural logics of public history in a settler-context.