Ph. D., History, Stanford University, 2005
M.S., Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, 1997
B.A., History, University of California, Berkeley, 1991
My work examines the intersection between human beings and the natural world in North America, with a particular focus on the coastal regions. My first book, Down by the Bay: San Francisco's History between the Tides (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2013), is the first history of the West's largest estuary and oldest and densest city. In my current project, I am researching the history of the oyster industry in the United States during the industrial and urban revolutions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Oysters are a window onto a bigger transformation, which I imagine as "why did urban Americans lose faith in local food in the twentieth century?"
I joined the N.C. State History Department in August 2004. I have offered courses in modern U.S. history, American environmental history, the history of American suburbs, and a graduate writing seminar.
A native of Northern California, I descend from Maine businesspeople (by way of Bellingham, Washington) on my mother's side and Virginia tobacco farmers (by way of Independence, Texas) on my father's side. I have been through a variety of educational institutions, including an inner-city nursery school, grades K-8 in a tiny rural school, a suburban Catholic high school, the University of California at Berkeley, Hindu College at the University of Delhi, India, the University of Oregon in Eugene, the University of Washington in Seattle, and Stanford University. Before, during and between schools, I have worked with varying success as a bus driver, wine server, carpenter, landscaper, tile-setter's assistant, title insurance examiner, field ecologist, and newspaper editor.
Environmental History, History of the American West, Twentieth Century United States, Urban History, Food History
Modern American History
American Environmental History
Recent Work & Publications
- Down by the Bay: San Francisco’s History between the Tides. University of California Press, June 30, 2013
- “Oyster Growers and Oyster Pirates in San Francisco Bay.” Pacific Historical Review , no. 75:1 February ( 2006): 63-88 Winner of the 2007 W. Turrentine Jackson Prize, American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch.
- “Visualizing San Francisco Bay's Forgotten Past.” Journal of Digital Humanities , no. Vol. 1, Issue 3 Summer (2012)