Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Bard College
Website URL
child labor, capitalism, law, politics, U.S. labor history
Additional Contact Information
I regularly speak to the media (TV, podcast, radio, print) about the status of child labor laws in the U.S. See links below. Please email for availability.

Personal Info

About Me

I have a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago with a focus on American labor, law, and politics from the 1850s to the modern era. My work seeks to explain how the decades-long battle over child labor in the United States created political and ideological divisions in American life that continue to the present day.

My book, Upon the Altar of Work: Child Labor & the Rise of a New American Sectionalism (University of Illinois Press, 2020) is the first book-length study of how North-South conflict shaped legal, political, and ideological disagreements about child labor in America. This book is based on my 2011 dissertation which won the Herbert G. Gutman Prize for Best Dissertation in U.S. Labor History.

I regularly speak to the media about the status of child labor laws in the U.S. and have recently been interviewed by The Guardian, Bloomberg News on “The Big Take” podcast, YES! Magazine, “Rising Up with Sonali” syndicated news program, U.S. News & World Report, the DNA of the News / El ADN de las Noticias international news program, and others. I have also written extensively for broad public audiences in widely-read national publications, including “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Conversation,” and many others.

My current position is Assistant Professor of History at Bard Early College in Newark, NJ. Prior to teaching, I served as a policy and research analyst at The Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C.


“Fresh, exciting, and original. . . .Upon the Altar of Work is a signal achievement.”  –Labor/Le Travail
“Highly original . . . extraordinarily timely.” –Eric Foner, Columbia University
“An exemplary work of intellectual and political history.”  –Labor
“An ambitious book that recognizes and highlights the importance of child labor as a cultural symbol.” –Journal of American History
 Upon the Altar of Work demonstrates that child labor was a lightning rod within larger conflicts over the moral and social costs of capitalism.”–The American Historical Review
“Highly interesting and novel reading of the child labor reform movement.”
”Innovative and persuasive.”  –Journal of Southern History
“An excellent work well worth the attention of all labor and southern historians.”  –-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
“A very good book that should inspire additional research in other times and places.”  –Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth
“Slim, engaging . . . Upon the Altar of Work offers a novel interpretation of child labor debates.”  –Journal of Civil War Era
Recent Publications


Upon the Altar of Work: Child Labor & the Rise of a New American Sectionalism (University of Illinois Press, September 2020)

Featured by the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY) as a feature book on their website and SHCY’s monthly podcast

In the News

Interviewed by The Guardian for an article about child labor in restaurants and bars

Interviewed by Bloomberg News on the podcast, “The Big Take”

Quoted in YES! Magazine article, “Pushing Back Against Loosening Child Labor Laws”

Appeared on Latin American TV news program, The DNA of the News/El ADN de las Noticias, to explain the weakening of child labor laws in the U.S.

Appeared on TV news program, “Rising Up With Sonali.” (aired on Free Speech TV which is on Dish network, DirecTV, Roku, Sling TV, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and others)

Co-authored an article in “The Conversation” about why states are loosening child labor laws

Co-authored this article republished by U.S. News & World Report

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Capitalism, Emancipation, Family, Gender, Labor, Law, Race, Religion, Slavery