Professor Comer is an American Studies scholar of the contemporary period with interests in problems of space, place and their theorization. Her books include Landscapes of the New West: Gender and Genre in Contemporary Women’s Writing (1999) and Surfer Girls in the New World Order (2010). She has published essays about critical regionalism and gender, questions of history in literature and critical theory, Civil Rights literatures and post-Civil Rights political imaginations, feminist environmentalism, and issues of youth politics and girls’ communities under neoliberalism. Professor Comer is at work on several projects. One is an essay collection, Dialogues in US West and Latin American Studies, undertaken through the research cluster of which she is Chair, “The Local/Global West,” in Rice’s Américas Research Center. Another project is collaborative with the filmmaker and surf photographer Elizabeth Pepin, which draws on Professor Comer’s ongoing interests in cultural studies, ethnography, and globalization. She is also completing a memoir, Beyond 766 Valencia. Professor Comer teaches courses in contemporary literature and culture, youth studies and third wave feminism, theories of space and an ethics of place in an era of globalization, and the US West and its Borders and Others. For many years she has served as a core term member of the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. She works closely with the American Studies Association and also the Western Literature Association, serving as Chair of the annual Don D. Walker Prize committee since 2006, and serving as WLA president in 2003.
Professor Comer served as Master of Baker College from 2004-2010.