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Personal profile

Research Interests

U.S. empire; women, gender, and sexuality; human and nonhuman resource extraction; Atlantic and Pacific world     

Professional Information

I am currently working on two projects. One examines U.S. expansion into Pacific islands through the lens of race, gender, sexuality, labor, and anthropocentrism. It traces the formation of the U.S. insular empire back to the early nineteenth century, paying attention to its sustenance and promotion through human and nonhuman production of energy. The other investigates how U.S. encounter with East Asians--what nineteenth-century contemporaries called "Orientals" or "Asiatics"--led to complex systems of race, gender, and sexuality that went beyond a black-white binary.  

My first book, Tropical Freedom: Climate, Settler Colonialism, and Black Exclusion in the Age of Emancipation (Duke, 2017), argues that during the late eighteenth and mid nineteenth centuries British and American expansionists and free Black activists produced different imaginings of an Atlantic world that variously and often contrastingly mapped Black freedom within its geographic bounds and that these conflicting geographies of race and freedom became inseparably intertwined with U.S. and British North American settler colonial formations.  Importantly, both promoters and protesters of geographic management of race employed tropes of domesticity and intra-racial reproduction as well as climatic idioms born of the centuries-long development of the plantation economies in the Americas. 

I have also published articles on fugitive slave narratives, women's antislavery activism, and self-emancipated people in Canada, all set in transatlantic settings, and on the intersectional articulations of race, gender, and class among white and American Americans in the context of U.S. expansion into Japan. 



PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Gender and Women's History Program, 2010


Honors & Awards

Conrad Humanities Scholar, 2021-2026

Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professors Award, 2016-18

New Faculty Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, 2012-13


Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2020  

Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2020


HIST171 U.S. History to 1877
HIST285 U.S. Gender History to 1877
HIST316 Global Histories of Gender                                                  HIST317 Birth of U.S.Empire                                                              

Office Address

419C Greg Hall
810 S. Wright St.
M/C 466
Urbana, IL 61801


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