Graduated Ph.D. (ABD)
Email: csn6n (at) virginia.edu
Fields & SpecialtiesSpatial History, American Civil War, Southern History, Slavery and Emancipation
I've long been interested in how spaces reflect people's aspirations and struggles and how they in turn shape those who live in them. My dissertation, The Irony of Emancipation in the Civil War South, examined the difference between the end of slavery as a regime and the end of the slavery at the scale of the individual during the American Civil War era. This difference generated irony for all to see: enslaved people who stood to lose more than they gained by immediately aiding the Union army; Confederate slaveholders who privileged their ownership in particular slaves over the sustenance of a crippled regime; and Union officers who, in order to end the Confederacy and slavery brought hard war to slaves' doors. The dissertation depends heavily on an NEH-funded map of the end of slavery that I directed with Ed Ayers, Visualizing Emancipation.
I briefly studied in UVA's Architecture School on similar themes and am now working as the Associate Director of the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab to build a new atlas of American history, which combines my interests in history and geography. I have directed and contributed to a number of digital projects there, including the aforementioned Visualizing Emancipation; the History Engine, an online database of undergraduate-composed episodes about American history; and a digital edition of Charles O. Paullin's 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. My work has appeared in edited collections, and in a number of journals, and has been featured by the Chronicle of Higher Education.