I am associate professor of history at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. I am a historian of the nineteenth and twentieth century United States, with an emphasis on the culture, society, and politics of the U.S. South. I offer undergraduate courses on the antebellum South, the South since the Civil War, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and Race in U.S. History. I also regularly teach Theory of History, a required course for undergraduate history majors. I offer graduate seminars on the South, African-American history, historical memory, and U.S. history from the Civil War to the 1920s. I am happy to work with graduate students interested in the South, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, cultural history, race and racism, African-American history, and historical memory.
My book, Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865-1915 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), offers a reconceptualization of the period between the end of the Civil War and the rise of Jim Crow segregation, centered on the changing visions of the South at play in U.S. culture. Stories of the South uses sources drawn from the period’s print, visual, and performance culture to analyze the ways in which southern identity was reconfigured in the wake of the Civil War. More than this, it argues for the centrality of southern identity to the rise and fall of racial democracy in the South. The character of the South – as negotiated by northerners and southerners of both races – may well have been the central question of the post-war era. Stories of the South was selected as sole runner-up for the 2015 Book Prize of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. For more on my book, click here.
My second book project, titled The Ballad of Robert Charles: Race, Violence, and Memory in the Jim Crow South, explores the New Orleans race riot of July 1900. When a black man named Robert Charles killed several white police officers, white residents of New Orleans sought revenge. Over several days of rioting, they injured dozens of African Americans and killed at least five. The riot quickly became a national and international story, as commentators attempted to shape popular understandings of events in New Orleans. Because so little was known about Robert Charles prior to July 1900, he proved an ideal vessel for larger conversations about race, citizenship, power, and violence. For this reason, the Robert Charles riot offers historians an important vantage from which to consider both the intellectual work of turn-of-the-century white supremacy and African American strategies of cultural resistance. More generally, the story presents an extraordinary canvas on which to study the possibilities and limits of the historical imagination. The Ballad of Robert Charles will be the first scholarly monograph on the 1900 New Orleans riot to be published in almost four decades. Fellowships from the Historic New Orleans Collection and the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South (Tulane University) have funded this research.
I am also the author of Radical Reconstruction: A Brief History with Documents, published by Bedford-St. Martin’s as part of the Bedford Series in History and Culture in 2015. For more information, click here
Click here to see a talk I delivered on Stories of the South as part of the University of South Florida Humanities Institute’s “From Civil War to Civil Rights” lecture series in February 2015.