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Professor of History, Mississippi State University

I am an historian of early America who specializes in ethnicity and immigration, material culture, and oral and public history. My current book project, Clothing the Babel, traces how early Americans stereotyped various immigrant groups based on their dress and physical appearance.

My first book, A Town In-Between: Carlisle Pennsylvania and the Early Mid-Atlantic Interior, (Philadelphia, 2010) reconsidered the role that early American towns and immigrant colonists played in the development of the early American West. My second book, The Scots Irish of Early Pennsylvania: A Varied People (Philadelphia, 2018) offered a new synthesis of one of early America’s most significant immigrant groups and assessed their legacy in the state’s history.

I’ve also led two community-based oral and public history projects, including the Starkville Civil Rights Project. That project created the website "A Shaky Truce: Civil Rights Struggles in Starkville, MS, 1960-1980" (, which used oral histories and digitized archival documents to narrate the story of school desegregation and the struggle for racial justice in Starkville and at Mississippi State.


  • –present
    Professor of History, Mississippi State University