I am a scholar of contemporary and historical American social, political, and cultural life with a particular interest in understanding how various kinds of social inequalities have been produced and at times overcome. My research ranges across a variety of spatial and temporal contexts with foci on the history and present of American labor, political economy, racial and gender ideologies, regionalism, and social movements and particular attention to urban and Gulf South contexts.
Some recent work includes: a book on the concepts of authenticity and exceptionalism as they relate to the study of New Orleans; a forthcoming (March 2023) article in the American Historical Review on the municipal politics of public history; a chapter in the 2020 volume Neoliberal Cities: The Remaking of Postwar America on privatization, low-waged service work, and postwar urbanism; and a more creative essay in Overland Literary Journal considering the relationship between an Australian painting, Mardi Gras ritual, globalization, and ecological catastrophe.
My current work includes completing a book on the history of the “service economy” and American inequality. I am also researching longer term projects on labor, migration, and urban life in the Gulf South from Reconstruction through the Civil Rights era and a synthetic volume rethinking the history and present of work via the forms of compulsion.
My research also includes a variety of public history and engaged social research projects at the grassroots, university, non-profit, and governmental levels.