I study articulations of national identity in early-nineteenth-century American urban print culture, especially in the city of New York. Early American nationalism is often understood as an instrument of political conflict and large-scale violence, but I show that New York literary intellectuals also advanced the concept of nationhood as a way to define individual identity during a time of rapid urbanization and commercialization. In other words, my work reveals ways nation-consciousness addressed a profoundly personal need for belonging and coherence in a dislocated world.
I hold a Ph.D. in American intellectual history (conferred in May 2015) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. A native of Texas, I now teach American and world history at Marywood University and the University of Scranton.
My dissertation, "A New York Mirror," is a study of interconnected circles of literary intellectuals—including the Friendly Club, the Bread and Cheese Lunch, and groups of authors and editors associated with New York periodicals—between 1794 and 1861. It covers publications including the Knickerbocker Magazine, the New York Evening Post (now the New York Post), the Home Journal (now Town & Country), and Freedom's Journal (the first African-American newspaper). "A New York Mirror" shows that these literary circles took part in a decades-long project of bringing coherence and meaning to urban private life by giving American individuals a place in a national narrative.
I am a founding contributor to The Junto: A Group Blog on Early American History and an occasional guest contributor to the blog of the Society for U.S. Intellectual History (S-USIH). In 2015, I served on the conference committee for the seventh annual S-USIH conference, which was held in Washington, D.C. I served as a member of a social media committee of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic in preparation for the annual meeting in July 2017.