Degrees

University of Virginia (2015), Ph.D. 
University of Virginia (2010), M.A. 
University of Iowa (2006), B.A. 

Research Interests

My current research examines the maritime dimensions of the African Diaspora, with a particular focus on eighteenth and early nineteenth century Colonial Brazil. By concentrating on the seafaring activities of enslaved Africans and creoles, my work integrates the economic and cultural histories of the Bight of Benin and Salvador da Bahia during the era of the late slave trade, and uncovers the heretofore unexamined commercial agency of subalterns in the South Atlantic World. Enslaved and free seamen in these culturally hybrid urban milieus, I argue, spearheaded exchanges of material goods, medicinal and navigational knowledge across the Atlantic Ocean.

More broadly, my research seeks to interrogate the multiplicity of connections between coastal West Africa and Brazil through the lens of mutual cultural, technological, commercial, intellectual and environmental influences. Furthermore, I aim to redefine how historians understand experiences of enslavement and the middle passage. In addition to investigating the lives of African sailors, my current work also reveals the centrality of enslaved and free African women’s market activities in introducing West African material culture to urban Salvador.

Teaching Interests

I offer a wide range of courses, including surveys of colonial Latin America, comparative slavery and emancipation, the African Diaspora, and the formation of the Atlantic World.  These courses not only introduce students to the broad contours of four hundred years of history on four continents, but are also intended as an introduction to the methods that historians use to study and analyze the past through in-class engagements with a wide array of textual, visual and aural sources. My upper level colloquia focus on more specialized topics, including the interrelated histories of Brazil and West Africa, and the early modern roots of contemporary globalization. These courses are cross-listed with the Departments of History and Black Studies and are based on interdisciplinary methodologies, making them suitable for students with backgrounds in a variety of majors and concentrations.

Awards and Honors

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, University of Virginia (2014-2015)

Jefferson Foundation Fellowship, University of Virginia (2008-2013)