Office Hours:T/Th 1-3
- History and University Honors Program
I earned my PhD at the University of Colorado at Boulder where I studied modern American history with an emphasis on environmental history and the history of the American West. Most of my recent research deals with land use and labor on the Colorado Plains and seeks to explain how the Dust Bowl New Deal and World War II combined to change agriculture in southeastern Colorado. My first book, Legacies of Dust: Land Use and Labor on the Colorado Plains, is set for publication Spring 2019.
My recent research and teaching interests deal more directly with American territorial expansion and the development of an American empire, specifically in terms of the push west during the 19th century. I'm considering how Americans viewed the relationship between the Mexican War, the so-called Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War as a way to better understand what factors compelled Americans to voice support for these conflicts.
My approach to teaching is pretty straightforward. Historians study the past so that we can achieve some sort of “leverage on the moment.” History does not repeat itself, but there are certainly echoes, and as we look at the past we try to identify key moments that can help us understand the present. That observation informs my approach in the classroom. I have two primary goals as an educator. My first goal is to help students think broadly about how knowledge of history can provide a foundation for understanding contemporary challenges. If I succeed then they can appreciate the importance of causation and that their own time, with all its complexities, represents the consequence of choices made, as well as actions taken and not taken, by our predecessors – that knowledge affords us perspective. My second goal relates to the first in that, while I hope that I instill a love of history in my students, I understand that not all students will walk out of my courses with such affection for the discipline or for the material. Yet, while fledgling scientists, engineers, and marketing experts may not find the content appealing, I strive to help them become more critical thinkers, more polished writers, and better communicators even as I try to win them over to the discipline. My hope is that by reaching out to them and by promoting their intellectual development they leave my classroom more prepared for life after college and to participate in the global community.
Legacies of Dust: Land Use and Labor on the Colorado Plains. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2019.
“The New Deal Personified: A.J. Hamman and the Cooperative Extension Service in Colorado.” Agricultural History 90, no. 3 (Summer 2016): 356-378.
“The Environment and the New Deal” in Aaron D. Purcell, ed., Interpreting American History: The New Deal and the Great Depression. Interpreting American History Series. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.
US History to 1876
US History Since 1876
History of the American West since 1900
U.S. History since 1945