My first book, Rape and Sexual Power in Early America (University of North Carolina Press, 2006) focuses on forced heterosexual sex in British America from 1700 to 1820. Based on research in more than twenty-five archives, I combine social, cultural and legal histories to create a multi-dimensional picture of sexual violence. My qualitative and quantitative analyses of personal, institutional, and popular representations of coerced sex reveal how sexuality was crucial to the production of a New World.
My current book project, focuses on the representation of physical bodies in eighteenth-century colonial North America. By examining how early Americans talked about physicality, I recapture the meanings of the body, and answer questions about the impact of attraction, sensation and desire before the nineteenth-century rise of sentimentality with its attendant emphasis on the connections between female morality and beauty.
I also research cutting-edge technological applications for historical analysis. I am currently using topic modeling (a kind of data mining) to do new kinds of research on the expanding realm of digitized documents.
I have a strong commitment to diversity and equity issues in academia.
I teach courses on Colonial America, History of Sexuality, History of Crime, Race and Slavery, and Comparative Gender Frontiers. In all of my courses, students examine the relationships between institutional power structures and individual experiences to understand the multiple perspectives of various groups in a given time and place.
» Rape and Sexual Power in Early America (OIEAHC Imprint, University of North Carolina Press, 2006).
» "Doing More with Digitization: An Introduction to Topic Modeling Early American Sources," Common-place (Jan 2006).
» "Rape without Women: Print Culture and the Politicization of Rape, 1765–1815" Journal of American History 89 (Dec 2002).
» Editor, Special Issue on Sexuality in Early America William and Mary Quarterly 60 (Jan 2003).
» "How Should we look at Rape in Early America? History Compass (Feb 2006).
» "Early American Sexuality: Race, Colonialism, Power and Culture", Radical History Review 82 (Winter 2002).
» "Lines of Color, Sex, and Service: Comparative Sexual Coercion in Early America" in Sex, Love, Race: Crossing Boundaries in North American History Martha Hodes, ed. (NY: New York University Press, 1998).
» See also "Ask and You Might Receive," Inside Higher Ed (April 2006).