My work centers on the intersection of labor history and the struggle for racial justice in societies shaped by white supremacy, particularly the U.S. South (1865-1954) and 20th-century South Africa. My first book, Twice the Work of Free Labor examines the role of convict leasing and chain gangs in the remaking of the American South in the half century after the Civil War. Subsequently, I have written extensively about race relations in the labor movement, interracial agrarian radicalism, early civil rights struggles, and the impact of anticommunism on the labor and civil rights movements. My current book project, Trouble in Paradise: Labor Radicalism, Race Relations, and Anticommunism in Florida, 1940-1960, explores the interplay of the civil rights and labor movements in Florida during the 1940s. In 2000, I traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright Fellowship, where I became interested in comparative U.S./South African history and began research on the history of black and "mixed" trade unions under apartheid. This work will form the basis of a future book on South African labor relations and the state, tentatively entitled Making Apartheid Work. Currently I am curating an exhibit of photographs taken by Margaret Bourke-White in South Africa in 1950. The exhibit opens at IU in Fall 2013, and then will travel to Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Associate Professor, Department of History
Interim Editor, American Historical Review
Department of History