A PhD candidate at Harvard University puzzling over the past, I am currently finishing my dissertation, a history of the idea of a person in British North America and the new United States. It is a fascinating and very strange story. Make no mistake, the dead do return to us.
I entered Harvard after completing a BA at Vanderbilt and MPhil at Oxford. At the former, I met my mentor and friend, Colin Dayan, whose work continues to powerfully shape my own. At the latter, I studied with Andrew Ashworth to write a thesis arguing that the defendant's dock is a rights issue. At both, I delighted in reading and in work and learned that being an intellectual means being a student my whole life long. Here at Harvard, pursuing my research and writing on the historical questions that have been living inside my head for a very long time, I would be remiss not to confess that my lot is an undeservedly happy one. For teaching me how to find the past, and what to say about the discovery, I am in the mighty debt of my supervisor, Jill Lepore, and under that obligation to do something good with what I’ve found here, I will remain.
After completing my dissertation in the fall of 2017, I will join the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University as a postdoctoral fellow in the spring of 2018.