“[I]n a world where children are still not safe from starvation or bombs, should not the historian thrust himself and his writing into history, on behalf of goals in which he deeply believes? Are we historians not humans first, and scholars because of that?” “Howard Zinn, The Politics of History
I am a modern US historian who specializes in domestic politics and American foreign policy. I filed my dissertation (“The Challenge of Peace: Ronald Reagan, Public Opinion, and the Movement to Freeze the Arms Race”) in December 2015. My dissertation explores the dynamic of domestic politics and foreign policy through a case study of the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign of the 1980s. Through extensive archival research, I measure the sway of public opinion and antinuclear activism across several dimensions to demonstrate how politics, religion, and culture shaped the national dialogue surrounding nuclear weapons and the arms race during the 1980s. I argue that the Reagan Administration strategically co-opted the movement in the face of domestic political challenges. Although the Freeze campaign ultimately failed in its primary objectives, I conclude the Reagan Administration was forced to abandon its hostile rhetoric and make substantive overtures towards the Soviet Union on arms control—or continue to face a domestic backlash with potential electoral repercussions.
The result of this work forces historians to reconsider the importance of peace movements in relationship to the end of the Cold War. It challenges traditional Cold War historiography, while bridging the growing gap between the historiography of the Reagan presidency and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign.
My dissertation received support from several institutions, including the American Institute of Physics, the CUSHWA Center at Notre Dame, the UCSB History Department Associates, the Philip and Aidia Siff Foundation of Santa Barbara, and the Institute of Global Conflict and Cooperation at UCSD.
Outside of my primary research, my interests include the history of popular culture, particularly as it interacts with, shapes, or reflects the political realm. I am also interested in the history of science and technology. I am specifically interested in the relationship between the government and science, and the role of scientists as activists (for or against animal testing and nuclear weapons) as well as how social movements interact with technology.
“The Challenge of Peace: Ronald Reagan, Public Opinion, and the Movement to Freeze the Arms Race.”
“Preserving Disorder: The Chicago Demonstrations of 1968,” Journal of Illinois History, Volume 12, Issue 4 (Winter 2009), 279-302.
“Subtraction by Addition: The Nixon Administration and the Domestic Politics of Arms Control,” in The Tocqueville Oscillation: The Intersection of Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy, University of Kentucky Press, 2016, Andy Johns and Mitch Lerner (eds.), currently revising for publication.
US History, Cold War, Popular Culture, Technology, Western Civilization
Hist 191C (The Cold War, UCSB)
Hum 200 (Western Civ I, Brooks Institute)
Soc 302 (Popular Culture, Brooks Institute)
Awards & Professional Activities:
Honorable Mention, Cold War Essay contest, “Three Megatons of ‘Peace’: The Revolutionary MX Missile and the Meaning of Survival During the Second Cold War,” The John A. Adams ’71 Center for Military History & Strategic Analysis, Virginia Military Institute
John Coleman Award, best paper in Cold War History, International History, or Military History, “‘A Force to be Reckoned With’: The Ronald Reagan Administration and the Antinuclear Revolution,” UC Santa Barbara, Spring 2014
Lawrence Badash Prize, best paper in History of Science, Technology, Medicine, or Arms Control, “Three Megatons of ‘Peace’: The Revolutionary MX Missile and the Meaning of Survival During the Second Cold War,” UC Santa Barbara, Spring 2013
John Coleman Award, best paper in Cold War History, International History, or Military History, “Three Megatons of ‘Peace’: The Revolutionary MX Missile and the Meaning of Survival During the Second Cold War,” UC Santa Barbara, Spring 2011
William E. Nida Scholarship, UC Santa Barbara, Fall 2008
John Baur Departmental Scholarship, Cal State Northridge, Fall 2007
GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS
Philip and Aida Siff Foundation Fellowship, 2014 – 2015
Humanities and Social Science Research Grant, UC Santa Barbara Graduate Division, Spring 2014
Nuclear Security Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Institute of Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), University of California, San Diego, 2013 – 2014, 2014 – 2015
University of Notre Dame, Cushwa Center Research Travel Grant, January 2013
American Institute of Physics, Grants-in-Aid, December 2011
UCSB History Department, One-quarter Dissertation Fellowship, Winter 2013; Fall 2014
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center Graduate Collaborative Research Grant (with Regina Longo of Film Studies), for organizing the Ninth Annual UCSB-GWU-LSE Cold War History Conference
History Associates Fellowship, UC Santa Barbara, 2010, 2014