Welcome to my website! I am a professor of Religious Studies at IUPUI in Indianapolis, teaching courses in American religion, Native American religions, early American history, and research design. Before arriving at IUPUI in 2004, I taught for five years at Lewis and Clark College after receiving my PhD in History from Yale in 1998, where I was lucky to work with John Demos, Jon Butler and Harry (Skip) Stout.
For over a quarter century, the constant in my scholarship has been a focus on the history and legacy of Mohican encounters with Christian missionaries. While this subject has remained constant, I have ranged widely methodologically: working between and across disciplines from ethnohistory to lived religion to Native American and Indigenous Studies to musicology and community engaged scholarship. My work has been published in a wide range of scholarly, professional and general media outlets, including The William and Mary Quarterly, Church History, the Journal of the Early Republic, the Journal of Moravian History, as well as the Washington Post and Religion & Politics.
Much of my work centers on the politics of historiography and the question: who gets to tell the story? To answer this question, I pay attention to the interplay of individual and community agency and networks of relationships in the context of structural systems of power.
Lately, I’ve taken an unexpected turn into app development, releasing two version of CovidCV, an app designed to document the differential impact of the pandemic on women and minoritized faculty in the academy.
Charlottesville, Exodus, and the Politics of Nostalgia
August 2017 essay in Religion & Politics exploring the different uses of the biblical story of Exodus.
The Left Needs Its Own Story of American Greatness
October 2018 "Made by History" column in The Washington Post likening the debates over Christine Blasey Ford's testimony in the Kavanaugh hearings to the battles over the history of America's founding.
April 2019 essay in the American Historical Association's Perspectives magazine calling on history teachers to not cede the task of narrating America's founding.
April 2020 essay in Women in Higher Education on the long term impacts of an early career experience of sexual harassment. (This one is behind a paywall - contact me for a copy!)
CovidCV: Planning for the Post-Pandemic
May 2020 "University of Venus" blog post for Inside Higher Ed about the unequal impact of the pandemic.
The CV Needs a Makeover
June 2022 guest blog entry for Academe on the ways the traditional academic CV reinforces structural inequities.
A history of Mohican encounters with New England Congregational and German Moravian missionaries in the mid-18th century, published with Cornell University Press (2008), with a focus on the ways Mohican communities indigenized Christianity. The book was selected as a finalist for the American Academy of Religion’s best first book in religion prize in 2009. The central intervention of the book is to shift focus away from asking whether Native Christians were sincere and instead asking how and why two Mohican communities – at Stockbridge, Massachusetts and Shekomeko, New York – adapted Christianity in ways that became expressions of Mohican identity.
Singing Box 331 began with the desire to hear the silent words of eighteenth-century Mohican language hymn texts archived within Box 331 of the Moravian Mission Records in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It evolved into a multifaceted project including an article published in The William and Mary Quarterly, with accompanying website, a documentary, and a Mohican hymnal. The website includes audio recordings of a single hymn, Jesu Pashgon Kia in three different modes, produced in collaboration with a Mohican descendant musicians and community members from the Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohicans.
For more than two decades, I’ve been wanting to write the biography of Joshua, a Mohican man who lived from 1742-1806. He was there at the center of so many major events of the long eighteenth century: the revivals of the great awakening, the imperial wors including King George’s War, the Seven Years War, Pontiac’s Rebellion, the Revolutionary War, and Tecumseh’s pan-Indian movement. He was born in the Mohican homelands in Shekomeko, New York, and died along the banks of the White River in Indiana. His life, lived as Mohican and Moravian Christian, offers a unique perspective on this formative era.
This project is a dramatic departure from my other work. The cultural moment that produced the #MeToo movement prompted me to reflect on an early career experience of sexual harassment that had a profound impact on the course of my career and my life, while remaining completely unremarked on my CV. The rage I experienced watching the Kavanaugh hearings led me to create what I called My RealCV: in which I took my traditional CV and then added additional lines in various font colors representing the stressors of harassment and its aftermath, including a cross-country move, single parenthood, etc.
That core idea became the basis for the CovidCV app, which helps users to document the impact of the pandemic on their personal and professional lives.
(Only the home page is live currently as I work to build out the rest of the website! Bear with me as I learn my way around WordPress!)