Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Bard Early College
Website URL
labor, capitalism, law, gender, South, slavery, emancipation, 19th century, sectionalism
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I have a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago with a focus on the 19th-century United States. My research examines how the conflict over slavery shaped the development of American labor, law, politics, and ideas on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line for decades after the Civil War. My work seeks to explain how a deep and abiding antagonism between North and South, rooted in the slavery conflict, shaped the development of American political and ideological divisions in the modern industrial era.

My first book, Upon the Altar of Work: Child Labor & the Rise of a New American Sectionalism, was published by the University of Illinois Press in September 2020 as part of “The Working Class in American History” series. This book is based on my 2011 dissertation which won the Herbert G. Gutman Prize for Best Dissertation in U.S. Labor History.

Upon the Altar of Work — a “highly original” and “extraordinarily timely” monograph, according to Eric Foner — examines how debates about children and their labor shaped the way Northerners and Southerners defined work, freedom, morality, and the market from the sectional crisis through the early-20th century. Tracing the origins and politics of these debates over the course of 80 years, Upon the Altar of Work shows how the battle over child labor bequeathed an enduring legacy of sectionalist conflict to modern American capitalist society.

I have published three op-eds in The New York Times that address today’s crisis of poverty and inequality and have written dozens of op-eds for newspapers across the country. Most recently, I have published pieces based on my work in The Conversation and The Washington Post. In addition to teaching American history, I have worked for various social justice organizations including GoodWeave International, The Center for Innovation in Worker Organizing at Rutgers University, and Slave-Free Trade. I also served as a writer and researcher for 2 years at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank in Washington, D.C.

In September of 2021, I started a new position as Assistant Professor of History at Bard Early College in Newark, N.J.

Recent Publications


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

See feature (including interview + podcast) for the Society for the History of Children and Youth (May 2022) at the link below:

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