B.A. College of Social Studies, Wesleyan University
M.A. History, University of Washington
Ph.D. History, University of Washington
Office: The Truly House
I teach interdisciplinary courses, based in my training as a U.S. historian, that cover topics related to 19th and 20th century U.S. politics, labor studies, African American studies, and the Pacific Northwest.
My courses are designed to use historical inquiry to introduce students to key concepts in multiple academic fields, with particular attention to the intersections and tensions between capitalism and democracy. Though my courses vary in method and topic, they usually share a common interest in exploring the relationship between socio-economic inequality and political citizenship, and exploring intersections between and changes in ideologies of race, gender and class difference. I do not teach the study of history as the recovery of information from the past, but rather as a contested and evolving knowledge project about what is worth preserving from the past to help us understand the present.
To facilitate the development of students’ critical thinking skills, my courses are organized around units framed by a particular question. For each unit, I introduce students to readings, lectures, discussions and films that are intended to provide them with the tools to answer that question as they see fit. By organizing units around students’ own learning process, I encourage students to read texts critically, and work closely with them to develop the ability to produce analytical instead of descriptive writing.
Recent Courses Taught
BIS 293 Pacific Northwest and Washington State History
BIS 327 History of U.S. Labor Institutions
BIS 425 Conservative Thought and Movements
My academic research is primarily focused on U.S. political and social history from the 1930s-70s, with particular attention to intersections and tensions between the labor movement and the black freedom movement. My co-edited book, Black Power at Work, documents the social movement origins of affirmative action law, as well as the labor politics of the Black Power movement in the 1960s and early 1970s. My dissertation, “Black Power’s Labor Politics: The United Construction Workers Association and Title VII Law in the 1970s”, treats the activism of black workplace pioneers in the late 1960s and 1970s as a form of labor radicalism outside of labor unions that paved the way for more contemporary forms of social justice unionism.
In addition to being an academic historian, I am also a digital historian. I am the co-founder of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, which documents the history of racial segregation and of multi-racial movements for social justice in the Seattle area from the 1920s-70s. This work has involved not just publishing history online, but also advising student research projects, developing community collaborations, facilitating archival acquisition and digitization, and public speaking.
I am currently at work in creating the FBI and Civil Rights History Project—a digital archive of U.S. government domestic intelligence documents about the black freedom movement from the 1920s-70s, drawn from Federal Bureau of Investigation and some Central Intelligence Agency files. I also hope to publish a companion book to this digital project that I have tentatively titled “Racial Intelligence.”
“History Declassified: Using U.S. Government Intelligence Documents to Write Left History”, Left History (Spring/ Summer, 2012)
“Rethinking Race and Place: The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project,” Magazine of History, (January, 2012).
David Goldberg and Trevor Griffey, eds., Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010).
Co-Author, Introduction and Conclusion.
Author, Chapter 6, “The Blacks Should Not be Administering the Philadelphia Plan: Nixon, the Hardhats, and Voluntary Affirmative Action”, pp. 134-60
Author, Chapter 7, “From Jobs to Power: The United Construction Workers Association and Title VII Organizing in the 1970s”, pp. 161-88