Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Website URL
censorship, immigration, policing, surveillance, urban
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of the 20th century American state, with expertise in urban, immigration, and policing history. My research focuses on the relationship between private organizations and agencies of the state; more specifically, I seek to illuminate the role that private, non-state actors have played in social control and the production of social knowledge in the twentieth-century United States. My first book, New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era (2009), examined how five different organizations, staffed by social activists, empowered themselves to police gambling, sexual behavior, interracial sociability, perceived juvenile delinquency, and radical political commitments in the two decades before World War I.

My second book, Monitoring the Movies: The Fight over Film Censorship in Early Twentieth-Century Urban America (2017), details how Americans grappled with the issues that arose alongside the powerful new medium of film: the extent of the right to produce and consume images, and the proper scope of government control over what citizens could see and show. Motion picture censorship was an important site at which multiple stakeholders negotiated the role of the state and the meaning of the First Amendment in the early twentieth-century United States.

In addition, my research has been incorporated into permanent exhibits at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. As a public historian, I endeavor to expand the public’s engagement with the history of immigration through museum work and outreach to local high school teachers.

Recent Publications

New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era


Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Migration & Immigration, Public History, Race, Women