I am a historian of slavery and abolition in the United States and the wider Atlantic work. My research and teaching focuses on 19th century United States history, African American history, the history of science, technology, and medicine, and the history of climate change.
- B.A., History Department, Princeton University
- M.S. in Journalism, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
- Ph.D., History Department, Columbia University
I am an historian of slavery and abolition in the United States and the wider Atlantic World. My research and teaching interests include 19th century United States history, African American history, climate history, and the history of science, medicine, and technology. My first book, The Science of Abolition: How Slaveholders Became the Enemies of Progress (Yale UP, 2021), explores how men of science and Black and white abolitionists used scientific ideas to cast slaveholders as the enemies of science. My current book-in-progress, Carbon Conscripts: Slavery and the Origins of Climate Change, explores the role slave plantations played in laying the foundations for today's climate crisis.
My scholarship has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as The William & Mary Quarterly, Slavery & Abolition, The Journal of the Early Republic, The Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Early American Studies, as well as other journals. I have published a chapter on climate change and global commodities in the volume Oxford Handbook of Commodities History (Oxford UP, 2023), a chapter on Frederick Douglass and science in Frederick Douglass in Context (Cambridge UP, 2022), and a chapter on slavery, scientific instruments, and colonization in Thinking with Scientific Instruments (Yale UP, under contract). My research has been supported by fellowships and grants from Harvard University’s Warren Center for American History; Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Abolition, and Resistance; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (NYPL); the Huntington Library; the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies; and the National Humanities Center, among other institutions.
I received my Ph.D. in history from Columbia University, a B.A. in history from Princeton University, and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. As a former journalist, I continue to write for publications such as The New York Times, The New Republic, The Washington Post, and The New York Review of Books.