I have a BA in History (Honours) and Women’s Studies from the University of California at San Diego, and MA and PhD degrees in United States History from Northwestern University.
I have taught at Laurier since 2008, and I enjoy presenting at scholarly conferences and sharing history with broader audiences. I research race and identity, grassroots politics, social reform and debates over rights in early U.S. history. I teach about the development of race in the United States, slavery, the intersection of politics with women's and gender history, activism, the Civil War era, and the myriad changes that the new nation experienced as it unified, expanded and divided in its early centuries of existence. Feel free to stop by office hours to discuss any of these issues, or United States history more generally.
My research explores race, identity, grassroots politics and the historical connections among race, rights and citizenship. I have researched and published about antislavery and antiracist activism in the present day Midwest, and I am currently exploring the racialization of rights in early 19th century California and the California "Black Laws."
I focus on citizenship claims and rights activism among California African Americans from 1821-1870, and I analyze and re-evaluate 19th century debates between the state and California African Americans over citizenship’s meanings. In recent years I have participated in an institute sponsored by the (U.S.) National Endowment for the Humanities and in a symposium, "Laying Down the Law: Critical Legal Histories of the North American West," sponsored by the William Clements Center at Southern Methodist University and the University of Nebraska. Subsequently, I published a chapter in the edited volume Beyond the Borders of the Law. I also co-organized a symposium, "African Americans in the Nineteenth-Century West," held at Saint Louis University. I am a faculty associate with the Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African Peoples at York University.