I am a PhD candidate at Duke University, admitted in 2010. I am in the History program working with Laura Edwards, Nancy MacLean, and Jedediah Purdy (at Duke Law). My research is on property law and social order in post-emancipation Virginia. For more information on me and my research interests, see my About Me page, or explore my Preliminary Exam Portfolio.
- Book Review: Pfeiffer Country: The Tenant Farms and Business Activities of Paul Pfeiffer in Clay County, Arkansas: 1902-1954 (Little Rock: Butler Center of Books, 2009). Agricultural History 85.1 (Winter, 2011): 136-137.
- “The Contours of Emancipation: Freedom Comes to Southwest Arkansas,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 70.2 (Summer, 2011): 109-130.
- “Race Riots,” Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, Central Arkansas Libraries System, Spring 2009
- “Working Families and the Reconstruction of Hempstead County, Arkansas,” M.A. Thesis, University of Arkansas, 2010
- “The Laboring Family Through Rebellion and Reconstruction,” Ozark Historical Review 39 (Spring, 2010): 19-47.
Thoughts & Quotations
- Thoreau on Capitalist Agriculture
By avarice and selfishness, and a grovelling habit, from which none of us is free, of regarding the soil as property, or the means of acquiring property chiefly, the landscape is deformed, husbandry is degraded with us, and the farmer leads the meanest of lives. He knows Nature but as a robber.Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Chapter 7
- Nancy Cohen on Deep Thinkers and Influence
The analysis of political ideology requires that ideas be taken seriously, but it is rarely the most original or deepest thinkers of an age who wield the most influence in shaping ideology.Nancy Cohen, The Reconstruction of American Liberalism, 1865-1914, p. 17.
- Gary Younge on the Trayvon Martin Decision
Appeals for calm in the wake of such a verdict raise the question of what calm there can possibly be in a place where such a verdict is possible.Gary Younge, The Guardian
- Bruce Schneier on News
By definition, news is something that almost never happens. The brain fools you into thinking the news is what’s important. Our brains overreact to this stuff.Bruce Schneier, The Washington Post
- What is Law?
To me, law is a contested space through which everyday disputes over legal meaning, procedure, and content are performed. Law, then, becomes a space by which law itself is juxtaposed or brought into line with other means of ordering society (such as tradition, or parochial norms). Law is an institution that is many things to many people at once, but its purpose is to organize society in a certain, presumably mutually beneficial way. This organizational aspect imbues it and the people who are able to make claims on and shape it much social power.
- Food and Appeals to Nature
Why do many intelligent people appeal to nature with their food choices, yet rightfully criticize biological determinists in the next breath without realizing that these views are incompatible? Removing food dyes from your boxed macaroni & cheese doesn’t make it any less unhealthy.
- Gregory Alexander on History, Heterodoxy, and the Future
Americans often assume that their cultural symbols have a single historical tradition, only one tradition. That assumption allows ideological constituencies to lay claim to these symbols as privileging their own particular political visions for the future. The historical reality behind our greatest cultural symbols, however, is seldom that neat.Gregory S. Alexander, Commodity & Propriety, p. 16.
- Academic Writing
Academic writing emphasizes an insidious, anti-democratic professionalism that is not only antiquated, but may be one of the least effective ways of communicating in the twenty-first century. Yet we are trained to jealously guard the line between formal and informal writing to safeguard our monopoly on placid prose and to continue our general irrelevancy.