Fields: Early America, the Caribbean, Public History
Interests: Colonial and revolutionary-era North America, Atlantic history, Archives
My work as a scholar has been eclectic, but it is fundamentally grounded in exploring the connections created by empire which have since been buried by nationalist historiography, and especially how people make the connections of empire a foundation of their worldview through culture: literature, art, architecture, monuments, and more.
As an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh I trained as a medievalist, researching the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th and 14th centuries and the mixture of pagan and Christian cultures as it was expanding through military conquest and its “official conversion” to Christianity. My research examined how Christians incorporated a growing knowledge of Lithuania as a pagan empire into their worldview by relating it to classical antiquity, which I published in my journal article, “Virgil in Lithuania: Francesco Petrarch’s Interactions with Paganism in the 14th Century.” I also worked for a year in the University's Special Collections department, igniting a passion for using rare books and archives to reach beyond professional historians into the community, and talking with the public about history as a process, rather than the memorization of "names and dates" they were subjected to in school.
Since entering graduate school my research has primarily focused on early American history from an Atlantic perspective, looking at the connections between North America and the Caribbean, especially Haiti and the British and French West Indies. I am currently conducting archival research for a journal article on the experience and spaces of male same-gender desire and love in American Revolution, and hope to begin research for my future dissertation soon, which will be on the colonial and Revolutionary-era history of Charleston, South Carolina and its connections to the larger Atlantic World.
I am continuing to broaden my work experience in archives through my public history coursework. In spring 2018 I interned at Mount Holyoke College’s Special Collections and Archives, and this summer I had the opportunity to intern at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, both in their Collection Services department and in the Adams Papers, which expanded my thinking to include documentary editing and the ways it provides a different kind of access to historical documents than archives. I plan to enter archives or librarianship as a profession following my Master’s, but will continue my own research in preparation for a doctoral program in the coming years.