areas of focus
My classes examine Native American, early American, environmental, and material culture topics, with special emphasis on the Northeast/New England and Atlantic World. See below for a full listing of introductory, intermediate, and upper-level courses. All of my classes emphasize engagement with primary sources, critical thinking and writing, discussion, and collaborative learning. I welcome students from all academic and personal backgrounds, and strive to create inclusive, supportive spaces for rigorous as well as creative learning.
Tangible objects can convey stories about the past and its peoples that are absent in written documents, or difficult to access. Many of my courses use material culture--ceramics, furniture, tavern signs, garments, tools, and other items--to investigate how diverse individuals and communities made sense of the world around them. I often collaborate with curators and educators at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum to bring students into gallery and study spaces.
Indigenous methodologies often center place as a key pathway to knowledge. I adopt place-based learning in a number of my classes, assisting students in examining nearby historical landscapes to gain first-hand exposure to their complexities and multi-layered human and natural stories. The Kwinitekw River Valley is a richly textured environment in which to approach historical topics. My classes make ample use of campus terrain, local mountains and rivers, and features of the built environment such as buildings and monuments in order to better comprehend how past societies shaped--and were shaped by--their surroundings.
I strongly believe that students can begin to explore research processes as soon as they arrive on campus. In all of my classes, from first-year seminars to upper-level research seminars, students have opportunities to engage in original investigations of historical topics. I help introduce them to research methodologies and resources, including excellent campus professionals in the Library, Archives and Special Collections, and the Art Museum. When appropriate, advanced students who are thinking about pursuing independent study or a senior thesis project are welcome to talk further with me about possibilities.
Gossips, Liars, Preachers, Truth-Tellers: Information Networks and (Mis)Communication in Early America (first-year seminar)
The American Peoples to 1865 (introductory course)
The Atlantic World
Place and Power in the American West and Pacific World
Native American History through 1865
Disturbances: War, Violence, and the Aftermath of Conflict in Early North America
Homelands and New Worlds: Landscapes of Encounter in the Native Northeast and Colonial New England
The Afterlives of Objects: Revisiting Early American and Indigenous Histories through Material Culture (research seminar)
Cartography and Exploration in Early North America (research seminar)