Dr. Bray's specialty area is children's and young adult literature, media and culture. She completed her doctorate in English with a major specialization in Children's Literature at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her dissertation, Those Who Nurture: Food, Gender, and the Performance of Family in Fantasy for Young Readers, applies gender studies and performance studies theory to a broad sample of late-twentieth and twenty-first-century juvenile and young adult fantasy novels, arguing that in the novels, the performative act of food-sharing establishes the role of "nurturer," an ungendered alternative to the traditional role "mother," which transcends age and biologically-assigned sex. Dr. Bray also has minor specialities in Composition and Rhetoric, Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature, and Early American Literature. She earned her BA and MA in English at the State University of New York College at New Paltz, and is currently working on the thesis project for her MFA in Children's Literature at Hollins University.
- ’You Love Me. Real’: Gender in the Hunger Games Trilogy” in Critical Insights: The Hunger Games, Edited by Lana A. Whited, Grey House Publishing/Salem Press EBSCO, 1 May 2016, pp. 105-121.
- “Rock Cakes and Reciprocity: Food and the Male Performance of Nurturing in Harry Potter” in Critical Insights: The Harry Potter Series, Edited by Lana A. Whited and Katherine M. Grimes, Grey House Publishing/Salem Press EBSCO, 1 Oct. 2015, pp. 146-162.
- “Sissy Boy Mothering: Male Child Mother-Figures in Middle Grades Fantasy Literature” in Mothers in Children’s and YA Literature, Edited by Lisa Rowe Fraustino and Karen Coats, Special issue of Children’s Literature in Education, vol. 46, no. 2, June 2015, pp.160-174.
Awards, Honors and Recognitions
- Teaching Academy Fellow (AY 2014-15)
- CTL Writing Fellow (AY 2015-16)