I am an assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada, Reno. Before joining the history department at UNR, I worked as the Program Coordinator for the Social Sciences Data Lab (D-Lab) and the Digital Humanities Coordinator for the history department at the University of California, Berkeley. Due to my research interests in communal justice, natural and anthropogenic disasters, digital humanities, piracy, and hacking, I am also an affiliated faculty member at the University of Nevada’s Cyber Security Center. Recently I received the 2018 Mousel-Feltner Award for Excellence in Research.
I am a cultural historian and digital historian of the French colonial world who specializes in disasters, nationalism, and social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries. I employ new methods from data science and the digital humanities to answer age-old questions about the relationship between citizens, the public sphere, and the state. My intellectual interests include colonialism, citizenship, and environmental history, as well as databases, GIS, scripting, and web design. In addition to traditional history courses on French history and natural disasters, I have also taught courses and workshops on Python, Network Analysis, Data Management, and Web Design.
My first book, Paradise Destroyed: Catastrophe and Citizenship in the French Caribbean (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), explores the impact of natural and man-made disasters in the late nineteenth-century French Caribbean, where a colonial population–predominately former slaves–possessed French citizenship, looking at the social, economic, and political implications of shared citizenship in times of natural catastrophe and civil unrest. Additionally, I have written an article on hurricanes, urban development, and economic collapse in the 1920s Greater Caribbean for the edited volume, Environmental Disaster in the Gulf South (LSU Press, 2018). My current book project, Hacking Justice: Vigilantes, Outcasts, and Miscreants from the Early Modern to the Present, explores the long social roots of piracy and hacking, teasing out the continuities over the past several centuries in how society’s outcasts have responded to the development of the modern global economy.
I also work on a number of digital humanities projects, many of them through the Nevada Center for Data and Design. My current project entails ethically visualizing historical textual data in a way that provides insights into the nineteenth-century French colonial imagination, but I also work on public history projects. I was a collaborator on Pryor’s Peoria, an online archive that presents a micro-history of the mid-western town where comedian Richard Pryor grew up amid brothels, racial tension, social inequity, and violence. And I am currently building an online, annotated edition of the Journals of Alfred Doten.