I am an historian of reform and modern social movements. I’m interested in the cultural and political resources activists draw upon in order to define, explain, and respond to social injustice—and in the ways such resources expand or constrain visions for social change. I am particularly keen to explain how attempts to dissolve to certain kinds of social hierarchies can advertently or inadvertently serve to bolster others. And I am fascinated by the ways that activist ideas and repertoires translate—or don’t—across geographic borders.
My training is in United States history in global perspective. My dissertation, “Taking Liberties Abroad: Americans and International Humanitarian Advocacy, 1821-1914,” examined a variety of nineteenth-century social mobilizations in defense of “humanity”: from efforts to protect Ottoman Christians and Eastern European Jews, to campaigns against African slavery, to agitation on behalf of Russian political dissidents. In it, I traced the origins of these movements and explained how humanitarian agendas reverberated in domestic politics and contributed to both critiques and defenses of U.S. imperial expansion.
After completing my Ph.D. at Harvard University in 2010, I relocated to the Netherlands and joined the faculty at Leiden University College The Hague, a small, interdisciplinary liberal arts college dedicated to preparing students to tackle contemporary “global challenges.” As the college’s resident historian, I offer courses in historical methodology, academic writing, “transnational history,” and the histories of feminism, human rights, peace, and other social movements. I am also working to develop a curricular minor in Gender Studies.
In addition to revising my dissertation manuscript for publication, I am embarking on a new project on the history of first-wave feminist contributions to the field of International Relations. And as I continue to develop my Dutch skills, I am interested in exploring transfers and translations in Dutch and American feminism during the 1960s and 1970s.
Find me at Academia.edu.