Kara Dixon Vuic is the LCpl. Benjamin W. Schmidt Professor of War, Conflict, and Society in Twentieth-Century America at Texas Christian University and the author of The Girls Next Door: Bringing the Home Front to the Front Lines (Harvard University Press, 2019), which won the Tonous and Warda Johns Family Book Award from the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch and the Captain Richard Lukaszewicz Memorial Book Award from the U.S. Military History Group.
Her first book, Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), won the Lavinia L. Dock Book Award from the American Association for the History of Nursing, was named a Book of the Year in History and Public Policy by the American Journal of Nursing, and was a finalist for the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award.
She also edited The Routledge Handbook on Gender, War, and the U.S. Military (2017) and is co-editor (with Richard Fogarty) of the University of Nebraska Press’s book series “Studies in War, Society, and the Military.” She co-edited the collection Managing Sex in the U.S. Military (University of Nebraska Press, 2022) and is writing a new book called “Drafting Women.”
Areas of Expertise (5)
War, Gender and the U.S. Military
20th Century United States Social, Cultural, and Gender History
Women and the Military
War and Society
Cokie Roberts Fellowship for Women’s History, National Archives Foundation
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend
John K. Hulston Scholarship, Harry S. Truman Library and Museum
Schlesinger Library Research Grant, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
Roosevelt Institute Research Grant, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library
Ridgeway Research Grant, Military History Institute, Army Heritage and Education Center
2012 – 2013
Research Travel Grant, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library Foundation
2012 – 2013
Loewenstein-Wiener Fellowship, American Jewish Archives
2012 – 2013
Grant-in-Aid, Rockefeller Archive Center
Minigrant, New Jersey Historical Commission
Indiana University: Ph.D., History 2006
Indiana University: M.A., History 2001
Marshall University: B.A., History and English 1999
- Organization of American Historians
- American Historical Association
- Society for Military History
- Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
- Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society
Media Appearances (7)
'The cost of being female': Women in the military pay more to keep their uniforms up to date
USA Today online
Kara Dixon Vuic, a professor at Texas Christian University who studies gender and the military, said the senators’ proposal highlights an attempt to “conscientiously not see the male body as the norm any longer.” It marks an official rethinking of the importance of diversity – both between men and women, but also between people with different body types more generally, Vuic said.
Hallowed Changing of the Guard Gets an All-Female Cast at Arlington
The New York Times online
The altering of the guard was additionally an vital second in army historical past, one which confirmed that ladies are serving in “probably the most revered positions,” stated Kara Dixon Vuic, a professor of battle, battle and society in Twentieth-century America at Texas Christian College in Fort Value. “These are the rituals that the nation holds pricey,” she stated. “Some may name it militaristic and a few may say it represents the perfect of us. However to have girls on the coronary heart of it, no matter your perspective is, is vital as a result of it reveals that ladies are on the coronary heart of those debates now.”
Registering women for the draft wouldn’t be a big departure from the past
The Washington Post online
U.S. law upholds one last legal distinction between the obligations of citizenship for women and men: the requirement that men, but not women, register for Selective Service. In a nation that has not drafted military personnel in almost 50 years, Selective Service registration poses little risk and exacts few burdens. However, failure to comply can carry very serious consequences. Still, if women and men do not bear equal obligations as citizens, they are not equal.
From Doughnut Girls to Den Mothers and Cheerleaders
Foreign Polciy online
Gina Cardi Lee describes herself as an ordinary “suburbanite kid who grew up in a nuclear family,” but her career in U.S. Army recreation gave her anything but an ordinary life. Raised in a working-class Italian family in Brook Park, Ohio, on the outskirts of Cleveland, her parents worked hard in factories so that Lee and her brother could go to college. At Bowling Green State University, only a couple hours away, Lee gravitated toward studies in recreation administration. After graduating in 1981, she immediately entered a master’s program in recreation management and earned her graduate degree the following year. She returned home to Brook Park, where, though overqualified, she worked 20 hours a week at the town’s large community recreation center. Her family wanted her to stay in the area and teach physical education in a local school, but Lee had no interest in teaching or staying home. When she saw an advertisement for a one-year, overseas position in the back of a parks and recreation journal, she jumped at the chance.
This Delaware 'farmette' helped feed America while the men fought in WWII
Dixon Vuic, the TCU professor, said the story of the farmettes is often overlooked because the work was seasonal and less publicized. Generally, Vuic said, the difference between the women who worked in the factories and those who worked on the farms was their socioeconomic status. Women who became the sole provider of their families during the war took the factory jobs because they paid better.
Makeup & War Are More Intricately Connected Than You Realized
For the first time ever, the military broadened the definition of a nurse's role to include career advancement, educational benefits, and equality, but they also stressed the importance of femininity as a key role in army nursing. "She might have been a progressive nurse, specialized, and treated equally, but she was still needed for her touch, smile, and reassuring beauty. She was still needed to restore a sense of domesticity to the troops," Kara Dixon Vuic, author of Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War, shared in her book. It was hard recruiting nurses to ship out to the Mekong Delta, and so wartime posters made sure to present a specific kind of woman bandaging the heads of good ol' American boys. They were all young with perfectly hairsprayed hair, flattering uniforms, and airbrushed makeup, countering the stereotype that military women were 'mannish.' "Military leaders often expected women to appear conventionally feminine. General Westmoreland reportedly said that when soldiers came to hospitals, he wanted them to see nurses wearing white uniforms and lipstick, with their hair styled," Dixon Vuic shared in an interview with Bustle. They were still very much wanted for their feminine comfort, as well as their skills.
Fighting for Women’s Rights, Roy Hollander is His Own Worst Enemy
Dr. Kara Dixon Vuic, a history professor and expert on military and gender at Highpoint University, agrees. She says that many women have wanted these options for a long time. “Many women have historically pushed for greater access to the military and to combat roles because they believed service to be a duty they owed their country,” Vuic says. “They hoped that service would translate to equal citizenship, and they wanted the same benefits of service that men received.”