I am in my seventh year in the Potter College of Arts & Letters Dean's office. The job of the Dean's office staff is to help faculty, staff, and students do their work with as little interference as possible. My primary duties involve: fostering research and creative activity within the college, especially as it relates to securing outside funding through grants and fellowships; curriculum oversight; part-time faculty credentials; outreach to local K-12 schools; coordinating teacher education; academic program assessment. I also take seriously the mission of thinking of ways to promote the interests of the college across the campus and in the community. That could involve activities as mundane as helping to shepherd college curriculum through the University, to meeting with folks in the community, to trying out new ways of showcasing the interesting, creative, and fun faculty we have in Potter College.
My original scholarly interest was the colonial American Atlantic World, focusing on British colonial North America and its connections with Latin America. The University of Georgia Press published my first monograph, Atlantic Loyalties: Americans in Spanish West Florida, 1785-1810. My current research focuses on food and drink, most specifically in the area of alcohol consumption. I recently published several encyclopedia entries in Sage Publications' series entitled Alcohol: Social, Cultural, and Historical Perspectives. My chapters "Alcohol Production, 1850 – 1950,” in A Cultural History of Alcohol, Volume 5: Industry, Empire, and War (1850-1950), edited by Deborah Toner, and “Commerce, Business, and Trade” in A Cultural History of Alcohol, Volume 3: The Early Modern World (1500-1750), edited by Ann Tlusty are forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press in 2018. Prufrock Press recently published my co-authored Teaching Social Studies Through Inquiry, and I have two more volumes under contract with them.
I mainly teach HIST 463: The Atlantic World and HIST 341: The History of Alcohol, and occasionally HIST 440: Colonial America, HIST 441: The American Revolution and Early Republic. I believe that students should be challenged to think about history in new ways, that they should think about how history is packaged, sold, and “used” in the public space, and the ways that a knowledge of history can help them better understand the world around us. If my classes don't get students to ask questions about their assumptions about the world in which they live and their social and cultural viewpoints then I'm not doing my job. I lecture, but we also spend a great deal of time discussing readings, concepts, and problems. I have used video games to teach Western Civ and brewed beer in the History of Alcohol, and hope that my classes are as interesting and instructive for my students as they are for me.