I’m a historian of the United States Civil War era and American medical history, with particular research interests in Civil War veterans, gender, and drugs. Since fall 2021, I’m an assistant professor at Virginia Military Institute. Previously in 2020-21, I was the inaugural Postdoctoral Scholar in Civil War History at Penn State’s George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center. I received my PhD in history in 2020 from Binghamton University, where I earned awards for research and teaching.
My first book manuscript, “Opium Slavery: The Civil War, Veterans, and America’s First Opioid Crisis,” investigates opioid addiction among veterans of the U.S. Civil War. My research uncovers how the Civil War sparked an epidemic of drug addiction among the war’s survivors—America’s first opioid crisis—and investigates the traumatic experiences and personal toll of addiction for veterans and their families. The manuscript also explores radical efforts by physicians and the state to stem the tide of the addiction crisis, which rippled throughout American medicine and society. Ultimately, my book reveals that the U.S. has a long, but largely forgotten, history of opioid crises, with troubling parallels between past and present. This manuscript is based on my doctoral dissertation, which was awarded Binghamton University’s 2020 Distinguished Dissertation Award. You can read more about the project and read publications derived from the manuscript here.
History has tremendous power to inform public sentiment, and I’m convinced that communicating hard history to public audiences is one of historians’ most important jobs, especially in these tumultuous times. I’ve published essays on a wide range of historical topics in outlets including Washington Post, Vice, Slate, and The Conversation, which you can read here. I frequently speak at museums and historical societies and appear on public radio, television, and podcasts, which you can access here.
In the classroom, my teaching agenda includes the Civil War era and nineteenth-century U.S., the history of medicine and science, gender history, as well as “history communication” and teacher preparation. You can read more about about my teaching goals and practices here. I’m a first-generation college graduate from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Before earning my PhD I worked as a public school teacher in Texas, a wonderful experience that taught me to love teaching and communicating history to popular audiences.
Want to chat about my scholarship, speaking, or teaching? Contact me by email here.