I'm an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, with a focus on material culture, capitalism, race, gender, and sexuality. As a public historian, I emphasize the importance of making history exciting and accessible to that vast universe outside of academia. My work has appeared at smithsonianmag.com, Racked.com, theconversation.com, at well as in Winterthur Portfolio and The New England Quarterly. I am currently co-editing a special issue of Business History, "Changing Secondhand Economies," due out in 2019.
My book, From Goodwill to Grunge: A History of Secondhand Styles and Alternative Economies looks at how secondhand goods sold at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales came to be both profitable and culturally influential. By focusing on dress and clothing, the book shows how conservative and progressive social activists--from religious and business leaders to anti-Vietnam protesters and drag queens-- used the exchange of secondhand goods for economic and political ends. Artists and performers, from Marcel Duchamp and Fanny Brice to Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain, all helped make secondhand style a visual marker for youth in revolt.