Historian telling the story of Civil War America’s opioid crisis

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I’m a historian of the nineteenth-century United States, broadly trained but with particular research and teaching interests in the Civil War era, gender history, and the history of medicine.  Currently, I’m the inaugural Postdoctoral Scholar in Civil War History at Penn State’s George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, where I am preparing my first book manuscript for publication. After Penn State, I’ll be joining the Department of History at Virginia Military Institute (VMI) as an Assistant Professor starting in August 2021. I received my PhD in history in 2020 from Binghamton University, where I earned awards for research and teaching.

My current book project investigates opiate addiction among veterans of the Civil War in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century U.S.—America’s original opioid crisis. Entitled “Opium Slavery: Veterans and Addiction in the American Civil War Era,” my research uncovers the causes of opiate addiction among veterans, the traumatic experience and great personal toll of addiction for veterans and their families, and the radical efforts of Gilded-Age physicians’ and the state to stem the tide of the addiction crisis. My research also illuminates the U.S.’s long, but largely forgotten, history of opioid crises, revealing somber parallels between past and present. My manuscript is based on my dissertation, which I defended in June 2020. You can read more about my research and access several publications derived from my manuscript here.

History has tremendous power to inform public sentiment, and I’m convinced that communicating history to public audiences is one of historians’ most important jobs, especially in these tumultuous times. As a scholar committed to public humanities, I regularly engage with public audiences at museums, historical societies, public radio, podcasts, and other venues. You can access some of these interviews and talks here. I also write for public audiences, and I’ve had bylines in the Washington Post, Slate, The Conversation, and Nursing Clio, among others, which you can read here.

Alongside my scholarship and public humanities work, I’m deeply committed to dynamic, student-centered teaching. My teaching agenda includes a diverse range of topics in the histories of the U.S., medicine and science, gender, as well as “history communication” and teacher preparation. I’ve been fortunate enough to teach graduate, undergraduate, high school, and adult education students. You can read about my background in teaching and my teaching approaches and goals here.

I’m a first-generation college graduate from the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. Before earning my PhD I worked as a public school teacher in North Texas, a wonderful experience that taught me to love the craft of teaching and communicating history to popular audiences.

Want to chat about my scholarship, speaking, or teaching? I’d love to hear from you! You can get in touch with me by email here.