Amy C. Sullivan researches and teaches women’s history, children’s history, and the history of medicine. Specific interests include the history of drugs, alcohol, and addiction, trauma studies, and especially where the intersection of race, class, and gender influence these histories. She uses oral history, narrative, digital projects, and a robust public history mindset in all of her scholarship.
Based on oral history interviews with more than fifty narrators, her book Opioid Reckoning: Love, Loss, and Redemption in the Rehab State (University of Minnesota Press, 2021), explores the complexity of America’s opioid epidemic through firsthand accounts of people grappling with the reverberating effects of stigma, treatment, and recovery. Taking a clear-eyed, nonjudgmental perspective of every aspect of these issues—drug use, parenting, harm reduction, medication, abstinence, and stigma—Opioid Reckoning questions current treatment models, healthcare inequities, and the criminal justice system.
A second book project, What Fear Is Like: The Legacy of Trauma, Safety, and Security after the 1977 Girl Scout Murders, recasts the infamous triple murder at Camp Scott in Locust Grove, Oklahoma from the perspective of the survivors, mostly young women at the time, and explores how the trauma had a lasting impact on their lives for decades afterwards.
Dr. Sullivan has been a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at Macalester College in St. Paul since 2015 and has worked as an independent researcher/writer for The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis and the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.
She lives in Minneapolis, MN with her family.