- Department, Office, or School
- Department of History
I teach various graduate and undergraduate lecture courses and seminars in Early American History, Atlantic History, Comparative History, Historiography, and Jazz History. Even in lecture courses, I encourage and expect extensive student participation and discussion, and readings center around primary sources and interpretive essays that encourage students to think beyond factual narrative. In addition, I maintain a commitment to involvement in the world beyond academia, particularly through public libraries. To that end, I’ve led dozens of multi-part discussion programs in libraries throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island, and was a consultant and grant writer for the NEH award winning program, American Lives.
B.A. Merrimack College, summa cum laude
M.A., Ph.D. College of William and Mary
1969/70, Woodrow Wilson Fellow
2006/7 Mary Tucker Thorpe Professor
Modernization in Colonial Massachusetts, 1630-1763 (Garland, 1987)
Colonial America (West, 1994)
Associate Editor for Jazz and Blues, American National Biography (Oxford, 1998)
Numerous biographical essays of jazz and early American figures for the ANB
A dozen biographical essays of jazz artists for the African-American National Biography (Oxford, 2008)
Numerous other essays and reviews for various publications.
I’m currently involved in several research projects:
The creation of national identity in early Connecticut
Changing attitudes towards and experiences of work in early national Connecticut (with a particular focus on the 1833 Thompsonville strike)
The relationship between jazz, personal identity and civil rights, in a global context
In general, I am interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the past, and in teaching about and researching the lives of ordinary people.
I spend much of my non-class time listening to music, particularly jazz and classical, in conjunction with my research, reading, and class preparation.
I am an avid kayaker and canoeist, often pursued during an evening of bass fishing. I run daily, and I’m an enthusiastic hiker—from the trails and mountains of Acadia National Park, to the national and state parks and Indian Canyons in and around Palm Springs. This year I became an official Appalachian Mountain Club volunteer hike leader.