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Associate Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Heritage Hall 356
(205) 934-5487

Research and Teaching Interests: American intellectual and cultural history, American Revolution and early republic, historiography, nationalism, gender

Office Hours: Mon 9:30am - 11:00am and Wed 7:30pm - 8:30pm


  • B.A., University of Tulsa
  • M.A., University of Tulsa
  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2003

I specialize in American intellectual and political history with a particular emphasis on the American Revolution and Early American Republic. My first book Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood (Cambridge, 2012) was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and was named a 2012 notable title by the Society for US Intellectual History.

I teach a wide variety of courses on the graduate and undergraduate level, including Writing and Ratification of the Constitution, the American Revolution, and Capitalism and Democracy in the Early American Republic, as well as special seminars on Lincoln and Jefferson. I’ve been thinking a lot more about the 19th century as a whole and about the relationship between the early republic and the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. I’m broadly interested in the relationship between literature and history, fiction, and historical narrative and am working on a book project about the relationship between memory and history in the first stories told about the early republic (those told by contemporaries who had lived through the events themselves).

I tend to teach and write what you might think of broadly as American Studies, so you may find me teaching courses that range widely across chronology (like my course on the Idea of America) and territory (like my honors seminar on Citizenship, Statelessness, and Human Rights in the Modern World). All of my courses consider the intersections of politics, culture, and thought, and encourage students to think about the cultural productions of an era (novels, poetry, film) as historical artifacts that offer us insight about meaning and the human condition in a particular time and place. One of my favorite courses to teach is our M.A. Seminar on Historiography, which has given me the opportunity to think a lot about what historians do and what makes historical inquiry a uniquely human preoccupation, a way of seeing — and loving — the world.

  • Recent Courses
    • Hamilton, the Musical: The Class!
    • Topics in American Thought: Hannah Arendt in the American Century
    • American Revolution
    • Lincoln in American History and Memory
  • Select Publications
    • "‘The wolf’s dictionary has been repudiated’: Borges for Historians, or The Possibility of National Memory,” Variaciones Borges, vol. 44 (November 2017), 213-238.
    • “Thinking with Jefferson in the Age of Gatsby: Narratives of the Founding in American Political Discourse,” Amerikastudien, vol. 61 (2016), 69-94.
    • “The Literature of Revolution,” in Kevin Hayes, ed., The Cambridge History of Virginia Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2015, 82-95.
  • Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships

    Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood named:

    • Named "Outstanding Teacher in the University Honors Program" by honors students, 2014
    • Finalist for 2013 George Washington Book Prize, C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington's Mount Vernon
    • Notable Title in American Intellectual History by Society for US Intellectual History
  • Student Groups
    • University Honors Program Coffeehouse