Welcome, web traveler, to my History Department web HQ. I earned my B.S. (Secondary Education/Social Studies, 1976), MA and PhD (History, 1981, 1989) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I studied under Richard Sewell. My scholarly research has focused on the sectional crisis and American political culture and behavior during the Civil War era; my first book, The Union As It Is: Constitutional Unionism and Sectional Compromise, 1787-1861, examines the civic tradition of grand compromises over morally and economically intractable issues in the early republic. I have since studied the late antebellum activities of Unionists and conservatives, and I am working on a study of the election of 1860. I also have pursued career interests in public history, cultural heritage, history education, and digital humanities. As the executive director of H-Net, and an associate director of MATRIX, MSU’s digital humanities center, I help to administer the largest online scholarly community in the social sciences and humanities and continue to serve as an editor of H-SHEAR, our network on the early republic. After spending a year with my family in South Africa, I administered a Ford/Mellon-funded technology training program for cultural heritage professionals there. My interest in history education has encompassed participation in a series of Teaching American History grant programs, and a recent chapter about postsecondary history teaching in Kelly Woestman and Rachel Ragland’s anthology on TAH; I also coordinate the Department’s K12 outreach and professional development activities through its Center for History Teaching and Learning, and service this year as President of the Michigan Council for History Education.
In the Spring semester of 2013, I am teaching a Senior Seminar in U.S. History, “History Beyond the Classroom.”
I also play the fiddle.