I am a historian of American governance, focusing predominantly on the twentieth century. My teaching and research explore state-built infrastructure and the questions infrastructure projects reveal about race, class, community, and the nature of democratic power in modern America. My work is informed by political, economic, legal, and social history.
My dissertation, Remapping America: The Interstate Highway System and Infrastructural Governance in The Postwar United States, examines the most expensive and expansive public works project in American history. The interstate system reshaped rural farms, suburban cul-de-sacs, and city blocks. But rather than focusing on modifications of particular places, the dissertation’s preoccupation is with American governance itself. Tracing the invention, construction, and contestation of the interstate system reveals the ambitions, practices, mechanisms, and ultimately, the inequalities of the governing regime that built it. Remapping America investigates how officials fastened political priorities in place across long horizons of space and time, and created near-permanent structures of governance girded in fiscal obligations, legal mechanisms, and shear physicality. In the broadest terms, the project explores how infrastructure governs the future—in ways intended and not—and examines what this means for communities and for democracy in modern America.
An article adapted from my dissertation, “Partisanship and Permanence: How Congress Contested the Origins of the Interstate Highway System and the Future of American Political Economy,” is forthcoming in Modern American History. Another article, “Concrete Leviathan: Interstate Highway Litigation and the Clash of Experts and Citizens in Modern America,” received the Kathryn T. Preyer Memorial Scholars prize from the American Society for Legal History in 2021. I am a past recipient of the Eisenhower/Roberts Graduate Fellowship from the Eisenhower Institute, and my research has been supported by the Hagley Museum and Library, the Linda Hall Library, and by Princeton University. I have served as a teaching assistant for “Gender and Sexuality in Modern America” (Margot Canaday) and "The United States, 1920-1974" (Kevin Kruse). I also co-teach a MOOC on the global history of capitalism (Princeton edX).