My research and teaching interests are in American political thought, democratic theory, the politics of race and indigeneity, and political theories of empire and colonialism. My first book, Empire of the People: Settler Colonialism and the Foundations of Modern Democratic Thought (University Press of Kansas, 2018), examines the constitutive role of settler colonialism in shaping modern norms of democratic legitimacy. My current project, tentatively titled Transnational Democracy in the Americas, explores the interconnected dynamics of internationalism, anti-imperialism, and transnational citizenship in the American democratic tradition, focusing on the political thought of Ottobah Cugoano, Frederick Douglass, Randolph Bourne, W.E.B. Du Bois, C.L.R. James, and Herman Melville. My research has appeared or is forthcoming in journals like Polity, Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Politics, and Political Research Quarterly, among others, and has received financial support from the Mellon Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, the W.E.B. Du Bois Center, and the Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (CLACLS). Before coming to UMass, he taught at the University of Minnesota and the University of the South.
I am interested in working with graduate students with broad interests in the history of democratic theory, American political thought and culture, postcolonial and anti-imperial thought, race and politics, and legacies of empire in modern political thought. In the past, I have hired graduate students to conduct archival research in the W.E.B. Du Bois papers at UMass and the C.L.R. James papers at Columbia University.
Area of Study:
- Political theory
- Political Science