I teach courses in History and American Conversations, including classes on cities, work, race, politics, and social change. Recent courses include: a research seminar on race and capitalism in the modern U.S.; a class on the 1920s and 1930s that focuses on inequality and social conflict; and a seminar on conservatism in the modern United States. Many courses that I teach incorporate an academic civic engagement (ACE) project, an opportunity to bring together academic and community-based work. Students worked recently with the Mapping Prejudice project, an initiative to document how restrictive covenants on property solidified racial divisions in Minneapolis. And American Conversations students produced podcasts about 2020 election issues for Compact Nation. I also was honored to serve as faculty mentor for the college’s first group of Posse scholars. In addition to St. Olaf, I taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Oslo (as a Fulbright Scholar).
In my research and writing I concentrate on twentieth-century U.S. working-class history, with an interest in urban political culture. My first book is Contesting the Postwar City: Working-Class and Growth Politics in 1940s Milwaukee (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013). Along with essays and articles on cities, urban policy, class, and contingent academic labor, I contributed chapters to Labor’s Cold War: Local Politics in a Global Context, ed. Shelton Stromquist (2008) and Perspectives on Milwaukee’s Past, eds. Margo Anderson and Victor Greene (2009). I also recently co-edited, with Dennis Deslippe and John McKerley, a collection of essays, Civic Labors: Scholar Activism and Working-Class Studies (University of Illinois Press, 2016).I now am working on two books: Contingent Faculty: A Labor History (co-edited with Claire Goldstene the for University of Illinois Press); and Constraining Egalitarianism, 1944: Properties of Racial Capitalism and Democracy in the Wartime American Neighborhood, City, and Nation.
My wife Carolyn, who is Carleton College’s chaplain, and I have two children and two children-in-law. Before returning to graduate school to complete a Ph.D. in history, I earned an M.A. in public policy and worked for a decade as a community organizer.