Rice University: Ph.D. in History, expected 2018 (ABD)

  • Dissertation in progress: “No Northern or Southern Religion: Cumberland Presbyterians and the Christian Nation, 1800–1906”
  • Fields of study: 19th-century United States, American South, Atlantic world

Western Kentucky University: M.A. in History, 2013

  • Thesis: “Went off to the Shakers: The First Converts of South Union”

Bethel University (TN): B.A. in History, 2011


Refereed Articles

“How Watermelons Became Black: Emancipation and the Origins of a Racist Trope,” Journal of the Civil War Era, 8 (April 2018), forthcoming

Helen Keller Jokes, Body and Soul,” Journal of Popular Culture, 47 (December 2014), 1167–79

Book Review

Review of K. Stephen Prince, Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865–1915, in American Nineteenth Century History, 16 (Summer 2015), 368–70

Edited Primary Sources

“Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, 1814” and “Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, 1883,” in Andreas Mühling and Peter Opitz, eds., Reformierte Bekenntnisschriften [Reformed Confessions], vol. 4 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), under contract

Public Writing

Untangling the Lost Cause Myth from the American Story Will Be Hard, Washington Post, August 25, 2017

Celebrating Nathan Bedford Forrest Is Celebrating White Supremacy, MLK50, July 12, 2017

Why Couldnt the Civil War Have Been Worked? Some Smart People Take the Question Seriously, Vox, May 11, 2017

Your Neighborhood Midwife, Afua Hassan, Scalawag, April 7, 2017

Confessions of a Former Neo-Confederate, Vox, September 30, 2016

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope, The Atlantic, December 8, 2014

End-times Watcher Sees Satan in an Energy Drink, Religion Dispatches, November 14, 2014


University of Memphis: Adjunct Instructor, HIST 2020: U.S. History Since 1877 (Fall 2017)

Rice University: Teaching Assistant, HIST 246: The American Civil War Era (Fall 2014)

Journal of Southern History: Editorial Assistant (2013–14, Spring 2015)

Western Kentucky University: Research Assistant, Institute for Civil War Studies (2012–13)

Interviews and Invited Talks

“How Watermelons Became Black: Emancipation and the Origins of a Racist Stereotype,” Annual Civil War Lecture, Western Kentucky University, October 19, 2017 (forthcoming)

Conversation with Aryeh Cohen-WadeCulturally Determined at, August 29, 2017


“Border States, Border Church: Cumberland Presbyterians and the Slavery Question,” Organization of American Historians, Sacramento, April 2018 (forthcoming)

“Cumberland Presbyterians and the Project of the Christian Nation,” Society for U.S. Intellectual Historians, Plano, Tex., October 2017 (forthcoming)

Boler v. Boler: Anti-Shakerism and Marriage Law in Kentucky,” Communal Studies Association, Pleasant Hill, Ky., October 2, 2015

“When Honest Abe Came Down South: Lincoln Sightings in African-American Folklore,” Southern American Studies Association, Charleston, S.C., January 31, 2013

“‘Because She Can’t Hear Them Anyway’: The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller Jokes, and Historical Memory,” Midwest Popular Culture Association, Milwaukee, October 14, 2011

Grants and Awards

Graduate Student Research Grants (two of $500 each), Humanities Research Council, Rice University (2015–16)

Outstanding Graduate Student Award, Potter College of Arts and Letters, Western Kentucky University (2013)

George C. Herring Graduate Student Writing Award, Kentucky Association of Teachers of History (2012)