I am an Assistant Professor of History at Penn State York where I currently teach the United States History survey courses, History of Technology, History of Western Medicine, African American History, the Civil War Era, and the History of Death & Mourning.
My research interests mainly focus on topics related to commemorative culture – cemeteries, gravestones, public monuments and memorials, the politics of memory (both public and private), and mourning customs and material culture. I am primarily interested in the ways in which society uses and manipulates the landscapes and material culture of memory in order to fashion a specific identity. My most recent research has focused on the cemeteries established as part of the Rural Cemetery Movement during the 19th century – how they reflected the identity (both real and fabricated) of the communities in which they were created; how people behaved in them; and how they functioned as performative spaces during and immediately after the Civil War.
(Peaslee Sphinx at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, KY)