19th century United States History; Civil War and Reconstruction; Southern History; Gender and Sexuality; Historical Memory; African American History; History of Slavery and Emancipation
577 Park Hall
Buffalo NY, 14260
Phone: (716) 645-8405
My research focuses on the Civil War era, broadly considered. Thematically, I’m interested in how violence shapes our social, political, and cultural worlds both past and present. My first book, Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South after the Civil War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013),
explores how the violence of a protracted civil war shaped the meaning of freedom and citizenship in the new South. I trace the competing meanings that “redemption” held for Americans as they tried to come to terms with the war and the changing social landscape. While some imagined redemption from the brutality of slavery and war, others—like the infamous Ku Klux Klan—sought political and racial redemption for their losses through violence. Beyond Redemption merges studies of race and American manhood with an analysis of post-Civil War American politics to offer unconventional and challenging insight into the violence of Reconstruction.
My new research project grew out of Beyond Redemption. It is a study of ex-slaves’ historical memory of the war and emancipation. Tentatively entitled, A Folk History of Freedom, this study examines the complex and controversial testimonies of ex-slaves collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s. Bridging the history of the Civil War with the New Deal, this study stretches back and forth through time to consider not only the lived experience of the war among the South’s rural black population but also the creation of this important archive of slavery and its political implications in the decades leading to the Civil Rights Movement.
Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence and the American South after the Civil War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013)
"Only Murder Makes Men: Reconsidering the Black Military Experience," Journal of the Civil War Era, 2, NO . 3 (2012):
* Awarded the best article prize for 2012 in the Journal of the Civil War Era
“The Limits of Incorporation: Violence, Gun Rights, and Gun Regulation in the Reconstruction South,” Stanford Law and Policy Review 17, no. 3 (2006): 615-34.
“Reconstructing Loyalty: The Problem of Allegiance in Post-Civil War America," in Reconstruction: The Unfinished Business of the Civil War, Paul Cimbala and Randall Miller, eds. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007).
On History News Network:
“The Real Origins of America’s Gun Culture” (1-14-13)
“The Roots of White Rage” (7-22-13)
In the New York Times “Disunion” series: