Office Hours: ON LEAVE
Field & Specialties
Modern United States
Political and Social Movements
History of Capitalism
History of Work
Ph.D. Princeton University, 2013
M.A. Princeton University, 2009
B.A. Harvard , 2007
I am a historian of the twentieth century United States. My work focuses on how organized interest groups and everyday Americans influence government policy and the terms of political debate. My current research focuses on the rise of whistleblowing as a form of regulation, a labor right, a mechanism for bureaucratic accountability, a way to save money, and a very contested expression of idealized citizenship. I'm pursuing this research through two book projects: a political and legal history of whistleblowing in the postwar era, and a biography of the nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood.
My first book, The Cigarette: A Political History is a history of tobacco in the twentieth century that places farmers, government officials, and citizen-activists at the center of the story. Rather than focusing exclusively on "Big Tobacco," I argue that domestic and global cigarette consumption rose through the efforts of organized tobacco farmers and US government officials; and that it fell as a result of local government action spurred by the efforts of citizen-activists and activist lawyers. The Cigarette won the Willie Lee Rose Prize from the Society for Southern Women Historians for the best book in Southern History and the PROSE Award for North American History from the Association of American Publishers. It was a finalist for the LA Times Book prize and one of Smithsonian Magazine's "Best History Titles of 2019."
The Cigarette: A Political History (Harvard, 2019).
"Smoke Ring: From American Tobacco to Japanese Data," Osiris 33 (2018): 319-339.
"Promoting Agriculture: Farmers, the State, and Checkoff Marketing, 1935-2005," Business History Review, 90, No. 3 (2016): 505-536.
"Smoking as Statecraft: Promoting American Tobacco Production and Global Cigarette Consumption, 1947–1970," Journal of Policy History 28, No. 4. (2016).
"Clearing the Air and Counting Costs: Shimp v. New Jersey Bell and the Tragedy of Workplace Smoking" in Shaped by the State: Toward a New Political History of the Twentieth Century Ed. Brent Cebul, Lily Geismer, Mason Williams (University of Chicago Press, 2018).
Awards & Honors
Mead Endowment Faculty Award (2018-2019)
Fellow, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (2017)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California-San Francisco (Fall 2013)
Woodrow Wilson Society of Fellows, Princeton University (2011-2012)
FORU 1500: American Dreams
HIST 4890: Distinguished Majors Program Seminar
HIUS 1501: Disasters in America from Cholera to Katrina
HIUS 1501: The United States through Tobacco
HIUS 3151: Moralizing, Modernizing and Mass Politics, US 1900-1945
HIUS 3171: United States Since 1945
HIUS 3559: United States in the 1970s
HIUS 4500/STS3500: Debating Science in Modern America
HIUS 4501: Eugenics
HIUS 9021: United States in Transnational Perspective (Graduate Tutorial)
HIUS 9022: History of US Capitalism (Graduate Tutorial)
Internet and Popular Press Publications
"The End of the Illusion that Smoking is a Choice," New York Times, 6 July 2022.
"Marijuana Reform Should Focus on Inequality," The Atlantic, 5 October 2019.
"How the Vaping Industry is Using a Defensive Technique Pioneered Decades Ago By Big Tobacco," Time, 2 October 2019.
"Like the Tobacco Industry, E-Cigarette Manufacturers are Targeting Children," Washington Post, 18 September 2018.
"Grass Roots Activists Won the War on Smoking. Can They Win the War on Climate Change?" Washington Post, 29 June 2017.
(with Sarah Seo) "Governor Shouldn't Sign Smoking Fine Bill," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 22 March 2016.
(with Gabriel Rosenberg) "Back to school--or back to the fields?" The Hill, 11 August 2015.
"Time to Regulate E-Cigarettes is Now," Christian Science Monitor, 9 January 2014.