I completed a PhD in American History at University College London (UCL) in 2015 and am currently completing my first book called Harnessing Harmony: Music, Politics, and Power in the United States, 1788-1865, which is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. It explores the significance of why and how music was incorporated into early American political culture and, in turn, sheds light on the relationship between elite power and ‘the people’ through their uses of culture in politics. The work has received support from the Newberry Library, the Royal Historical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Maryland History Society. And a selection from this project about Federalists and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was published in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of the Early Republic.
Before coming to UBC, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in History with the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri, a doctoral exchange scholar at Yale University, and held teaching posts at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Portsmouth. Born in Houston but raised in Sydney, Australia, I earned my BA with honours and the University Medal from the University of New South Wales.
The complicated political, economic and social history of the United States in the three decades following the Civil War.
Early America in the 21st Century. This course invites students to explore the role of early American history–from the colonial era through to the Civil War–in contemporary American life. It aims both to assess the use and politicization of early American history in the 21st century as well as to consider how early Americans approached a range of issues that continue to confront Americans in the present. Then, as now, Americans negotiated the effects of climate change, immigration, and income inequality; agitated and resisted calls for gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights; navigated the morality and profits of human trafficking and slavery; addressed the place of indigenous peoples and tribal sovereignty; argued over the substance of an American identity; and debated the meaning of their nation and its founding. In coming to grips with the implications of a living past, this course challenges students to articulate how and why history remains an animating force in American politics, culture, and society today.
The contributions of music to American political life can be easy to observe but hard to assess. What is the point of a presidential campaign song? How can we measure the impact of a protest song? And what does a larger history of music and politics tell us about the American political experience? This course provides a foundation for thinking through the political implications of American music and a framework for considering how and why connections between music and politics may have changed over time. Beginning in the colonial period and continuing through to present day we explore how Americans of all kinds have approached the politicization of music and ask what light a musical perspective can shed on the connections between American art, culture, society, and power.
HIST 490T: Music and Politics in the United States
HIST 311: The United States, 1865-1900: Labour, Race, Gender and Empire
HIST447A: Early America in the 21st Century