Virginia Cain

Virginia Cain


  • Southern History
  • United States History
  • Gender and Women's History
  • History of Race



  • MA, The University of Alabama, 2014
  • BA, Furman University, 2010

Research Interests

  • Gender, Race, and Urban Space in the U.S. South
  • Long 19th Century in the U.S.
  • LGBTQ+, Sex, and Sexuality
  • History of Feminism
  • American Reform Movements

Current Projects

  • My dissertation explores Birmingham, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee from 1870 to 1930 as turn-of-the-century boomtowns where laws and morals were continuously negotiated. This indeterminate environment allowed people such as sex workers, who nominally operated outside respectable society, to push through those permeable boundaries. Some sex workers leveraged the growing demand for their services to advocate for the respectability of working women. Government officials’ and reformers’ responses to sex workers changed the shape and organization of Birmingham and Nashville.