Associate Chair and Director of Graduate Studies
Faculty Affiliate in American Indian Studies
Office: 5119 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 5017 Mosse Humanities
Curriculum Vitae: View PDF
Office Hours: Wednesdays 9:30 - 10:30
Education: PhD: Princeton;
MA: Princeton; BA: Yale
I am a historian of the nineteenth-century United States. My research and teaching center on the relationships among race, politics, and citizenship. I am particularly interested in individual subjects, not necessarily as the focus of traditional biographies but as windows through which broader transformations can be understood and interpreted. After a decade of research on the politics of white supremacy in the post-Civil War South—which produced my book, Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy -- I shifted focus to explore the political lives of Boston's nineteenth-century black activists. My second book, More than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889, was published by Penguin Press in 2012. An edited collection which also emerged from this research, All Men Free and Brethren: Essays on the History of African American Freemasonry, appeared from Cornell University Press in 2013. I am currently working on projects that follow up on More Than Freedom, and I am in the early stages of a project about the removal of the Ho-Chunk people from Wisconsin during the nineteenth century and the light this process sheds on the broader transformations of American citizenship in the Civil War era.
I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate courses on the nineteenth-century U.S., the Civil War era, slavery, and slave revolts. I have begun to offer courses in Native American history as well. Earlier in my career I helped design and lead several field courses focusing on the American South, including 2001's "Freedom Ride" summer course and a 2004 follow-up visit to Selma, Alabama and the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. I have received several teaching awards, including the UW-Madison History Organization "Instructor of the Year" (2010) and a Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2001).
I received my Ph.D. from Princeton in 1995, where I worked with Nell Irvin Painter, Daniel Rodgers, and James McPherson. I have been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2002-03) and the UW Institute for Research in the Humanities (2001).
In 2007 I was named a Hamel Family Faculty Fellow and an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. In 2013 I was named a Kellett Mid-Career Faculty Researcher.
Reconstruction (North and South); race and politics; white supremacy; citizenship; free black and black Northern life; nineteenth-century Native America; Southern history; masculinity.
- More than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889 (Penguin Press, 2012)
- co-editor, All Men Free and Brethren: Essays on the History of African American Freemasonry (Cornell, 2013)
- Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy (UNC Press, 2000)
- “’Intended for the Better Government of Man’: The Political History of African American Freemasonry in the Era of Emancipation,” Journal of American History (March 2010)
- "A Place for 'Colored Patriots': Crispus Attucks Among the Abolitionists, 1842-1863," Massachusetts Historical Review (spring 2009)
- “Fighting Like Men: Civil War Dilemmas of Abolitionist Manhood,” in Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber, eds., Battle Scars: Gender and Sexuality in the U.S. Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2006).
- "Youngest Living Carpetbagger Tells All, or How Regional Myopia Created 'Pitchfork Ben' Tillman," Southern Cultures 8.3 (fall 2002), 18-37.
- "Ben Tillman and Hendrix McLane, Agrarian Rebels: White Manhood, 'The Farmers,' and the Limits of Southern Populism," The Journal of Southern History LXVI (August 2000), 497-524.
- "One Man's Mob is Another Man's Militia: Violence, Manhood, and Authority in Reconstruction South Carolina" in Jane Dailey, Glenda Gilmore, and Bryant Simon, eds., Jumpin' Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2000), 67-87.
- "The Two Faces of Domination in North Carolina, 1800-1898" in David Cecelski and Timothy B. Tyson, eds., Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 95-112.
- "White Supremacist Justice and the Rule of Law: Lynching, Honor, and the State in Ben Tillman's South Carolina" in Pieter Spierenburg, ed., Men and Violence: Masculinity, Honor Codes and Violent Rituals in Europe and America (Ohio State University Press, 1998), 213-239.
- Ellis W. Hawley Book Prize, Organization of American Historians, 2001
- Outstanding Achievement, Wisconsin Library Association, 2001
- George C. Rogers, Jr. Book Prize, South Carolina Historical Society, 2000
- New York Times Book Review Notable Book for 2000
- UW History organization Instructor of the Year, 2010
- Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2001
- Mark H. Ingraham Distinguished Faculty Award, 2001
- Outstanding Credit Program, North Amer. Assoc. of Summer Sessions, 2001
- Karen F. Johnson Award for Undergraduate Teaching in History, 2000
- History 701 - Introduction to the Professional Practice of History - Syllabus 2013 (pdf)
- History 900 - Introduction to History for American Historians - Syllabus 2006 (pdf)
- History 901 -
Studies in American History - Topics: "Slavery and Freedom, North and South" - Syllabus 2004 (pdf); "Southern History; Populism and 'The People'"
- History 902 - Research Seminar: American History
- History 925 -
Seminar: American History in the Civil War Era - Topic: "Slavery, Politics, and Citizenship in 19th-Century America" - Syllabus 2007 (pdf); "Slaves' Politics and the Politics of Slavery" Syllabus 2009 (pdf)