B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Florida
B.S. Journalism, University of Florida
Ph.D. Communications, University of Pennsylvania
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246
Teaching, to me, is an act of mentorship. I view the classroom as a space where students can ask questions, pose challenges, experiment with ideas, and discuss key concerns about the world in a supportive environment. I see my role as a teacher in helping students think critically and creatively—about both course materials and society at large. The classroom is not a bubble separate from the rest of the world but rather a laboratory in which to understand it. I try to minimize the gap between what we study and the “real world” by animating the ways complex ideas and histories continue to structure our daily experiences and practices. My classes utilize a variety of mechanisms, from small group discussions and student-led presentations to a range of participatory activities, to work through core concepts. Learning is a collaborative process, done through individual and collective work, and my classes try to strike that balance. I hope that by participating in their own learning students will take intellectual risks—will engage new concepts thoughtfully and articulate taken-for-granted concepts differently.
Recent Courses Taught
BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 364 Public Memory and Dissent in American Culture
BIS 585 Advanced Topics in Cultural Activism and Advocacy: Prisons, Politics and Activism
My research lies at the intersection of critical race theory, collective action, and American history. I believe people have a tremendous power in shaping their world and am interested in bottoms-up explorations of identity and politics. My work has focused especially on American social movements from World War II to the present. I have been interested in movements that have typically eluded the historian’s gaze or that reveal productive and largely overlooked tensions in society. My first authored book, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity (AK Press, 2006), used a range of oral histories to examine the political orbit of one of the New Left’s most controversial organizations. The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism (Rutgers University Press, 2010) emphasized the wide range of social movements that animated an era often described as being dominated by either conservatism or apathy. The Hidden 1970s was my second edited volume. In 2005 I co-edited Letters From Young Activists, an anthology that brought together forty-five youth from across the country working for racial, economic, and gender justice. These anthologies have been collaborative exercises in knowledge production, something I value highly as a crucial element of interdisciplinary scholarship.
The prison has been an undercurrent to much of my published work to date, and it occupies an increasingly central place within it. I am completing a book called Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era that examines the crucial role that black prisoners played in the black freedom struggle. I argue that the prison proved a useful institution in making sense of race and politics in the era immediately preceding the rise of mass incarceration. That book will be published by the new Justice, Power, and Politics series at the University of North Carolina Press. I am also writing a chapter for the Retrieving the American Past textbook series about mass incarceration.
While most of my work has been historical and archival, I have also written about contemporary politics and theory. I participated in a Social Science Research Council grant to study the Philadelphia-based Media Mobilizing Project, and have written about Hurricane Katrina and contemporary legal battles involving the memory of the civil rights movement. As my work expands, I find myself increasingly drawn to the power of arts and the imagination in animating subaltern politics.
I have served as a peer reviewer for several scholarly journals and currently sit on the editorial board of The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture.
Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era. Chapel Hill: North Carolina Press (Justice, Power, and Politics series), forthcoming.
“Mass Incarceration: A History Since the 1970s,” module for Retrieving The American Past Textbook, forthcoming.
“Carceral Journeys: Blackness, Migration, and Slavery in 1970s California Prison Radicalism,” in Moon-Ho Jung, ed., Race, Radicalism and Repression on the Pacific Coast and Beyond. Seattle: University of Washington Press, forthcoming.
“Marilyn Buck’s Playlist,” Polygraph: An International Journal of Politics and Culture 23/24, forthcoming.
“Communications Networks, Movements and the Neoliberal City: The Media Mobilizing Project in Philadelphia,” Transforming Anthropology 19: 2 (2011), 191-206. (Co-authored with Peter Funke, and Todd Wolfson.)
The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010.
“Constructing Crime, Framing Disaster: Routines of Criminalization and Crisis in Hurricane Katrina,” Punishment and Society 11: 4 (2009), 491-510.
“Rescuing Civil Rights from Black Power: Collective Memory and Saving the State in Twenty-First Century Prosecutions of 1960s-Era Cases,” Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 3: 1 (2009), 1-27.
“Defining Democracy: Coalition Politics and the Struggle for Media Reform,” International Journal of Communication (special section on media reform), 3 (2009), 3-22.
Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity. Oakland: AK Press, 2006.