I have studied and taught courses that cover the entirety of American history, but I am particularly drawn to the 19th and 20th centuries. My research has focused on religion, gender, and children while my teaching adds an interest of the media as well. More recently I have looked at white abolitionists and contradictions held by white Americans who claimed to advocate for marginalized populations in the nineteenth-century. I am interested in the role of “everyday” people – how they experienced and shaped our nation. I am inspired by those who challenge the obstacles they face and seek to better understand them.
My dissertation, “Perfect Child, Perfect Faith: Raising Children in Nineteenth-Century Communities,” is a study of how four religious communities raised their children in an effort to embed their differing goals and identity in future generations. The United Society of Believers (better know as Shakers), Oneida Perfectionists, Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Berea abolitionists all created specific communities grounded in their unique interpretations of Christianity in an effort to reform and improve American life through challenging rural and bourgeois notions of family, gender, and race. I completed my PhD at the University of California, Santa Cruz in June 2016.
My most recent research project explored the community of Berea in the post Civil War period, exploring how white supremacy invaded even this “radical abolitionist” town in the former slave-state of Kentucky. The article is scheduled for publication in Fall 2020.
I am passionate about teaching history and have been doing so since 2008. I have had the opportunity to teach at multiple institutions, including community colleges, the University of California, and a private university. I teach the U.S. History survey courses (through 1865 and since 1865), Women in U.S. History, Civil War Era history, American Religious Culture History, and World History. I currently teach courses on the urban landscape and recent turbulent periods in the 20th and 21st century. I believe that History is about interpretation and analysis. I encourage my students to debate arguments using primary and secondary sources. In my teaching I prioritize student participation and developing their thesis-writing skills. For example, each week in my classes students lead discussion forums where they must demonstrate their ability to use critical thinking of the assigned reading material. Additionally, I assign multiple short essays rather than relying on one long essay. By giving students multiple opportunities to write, they learn to hone their abilities to make a historical argument and apply feedback to new prompts and topics.
Outside of my “history life,” I enjoy running and spending time outdoors. I also love eating and baking, but don’t devote nearly enough time to that!