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, the history of science, medicine, and technology, and climate history. My first book, The Science of Aboliiton: How Slaveholders Became the Enemies of Progress (Yale University Press, 2021), explores how men of science and Black and white abolitionists used scientific ideas to cast slaveholders as the enemies of science. It challenges the assumption that slaveholders, vis a vis scientific racism, had the upper hand when it came to scientific debates over slavery. My next book project, tentatily titled Carbon Conscripts: Slavery and the Origins of Climate Change, explores the role slave plantations played in laying the foundations for today's climate change crisis.
My scholarship has been published in peer-reviewed journals including 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 recently published an essay on Frederick Douglass and science in the edited volume Frederick Douglass in Context, edited by Michael Roy (Cambridge University Press, 2021), and have a forthcoming book chapter on climate and global commodities, co-authored with historian John Brooke (Ohio State) and climate scientist Jed O. Kaplan (Univ. of Hong Kong), and set to appear in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Commodities History (Oxford University Press, in press). My reseach has been supported by grants from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the American Philosophical Society, the Huntington Library, the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, the Omohundro Institute, and the African American & African Studies Department at the Ohio State University, 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 also continue to write for publications such as The New York Times, The New Republic, The Washington Post, and The New York Review of Books.
I was born and raised in South Florida.