I am Assistant Professor of American Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. I received a Ph.D. in American Studies and an M.A. in American History from Harvard University, and a B.A. in English and American Literatures from Middlebury College.
I have broad research interests in food, medicine and the body, and material culture in early America and the Atlantic world, with special interests in borderlands, race, and gender. My first book, Violent Appetites, is a history of scarcity among Native, English, and French peoples in the northern borderlands between early colonization and the Revolutionary War. The book argues that hunger simultaneously threatened the social order and led to cultural retrenchment on behalf of both settlers and Native peoples. The book draws attention to hunger’s vital role in shaping settler colonial projects in North America. My second project is a history of dangerous things (material culture) and deviant people in early America—from drunks and cannibals to bad mothers and sex cult leaders.
I have published articles on hunger knowledge and ritual cannibalism in Early American Studies and New England Quarterly. My public scholarship, which has appeared at Nursing Clio, Common-Place, The Recipes Project and in video form on Youtube, has tackled topics from breastfeeding to the religious dimensions of blood pudding to material culture as a historical source.
I am also becoming increasingly involved in public humanities scholarship and administration through my position as Director of the New Jersey Folk Festival, one of the only folk festivals in the United States organized and managed by undergraduate students.
For more information and to contact me, visit my website.