I work on the cultural history of American capitalism, researching, writing and teaching in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London. As a researcher, my inspiration often comes from seeing the scraps of everyday life that have been left behind. A trade card, a teapot, a broadside or bedspread, these are the things that catch my eye and fire my imagination. My writing is connected to that fascination. I write to evoke the material realities of the past and connect them to the broader ideas and assumptions that made these objects and texts meaningful.
For me, writing has become a way of thinking, but it also a way of being part of something bigger than myself. As a graduate student I belonged to a writing group. Swapping chapters and other pieces of writing made something that could have been quite solitary into one of the most sociable and rewarding parts of my graduate career. For me, being a part of this blog is a way of continuing that tradition: writing as part of a community.