I am a historian of nineteenth-century North America, and I teach classes on the Old South, American expansion, slavery, Texas, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and digital scholarship. My work has revolved around two intersecting themes: the expansion of the American South into the West, and developing new digital methods for research, scholarship, and teaching.
My most recent book is Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (2015), which won the David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America from the Western History Association.
I also run a digital scholarship lab that experiments with applying advances in technology and computer science toward developing new methods for historical research and teaching. Some of our recent projects have included the Digital Austin Papers (http://digitalaustinpapers.org/) and Mapping Texts (mappingtexts.org).
I am currently writing a history of the rise and fall of nineteenth-century Galveston as the key to the development of the American Southwest, editing a book on the history of violence along the U.S.-Mexico border, and developing two digital scholarship projects (the Digital Austin Papers and the Galveston City Company Papers project).
Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
"The Problem of Slave Flight in Civil War Texas," in Jesús F. de la Teja, ed., Lone Star Unionism, Dissent, and Resistance: Other Sides of Civil War Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016).
"The Saltillo Slavery Debates: Mexicans, Anglo-Americans, and Slavery's Future in Nineteenth-Century North America," in Bonnie Martin and James F. Brooks, eds., Linking the Histories of Slavery: North America and Its Borderlands (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2015).
"Stephen F. Austin's Views on Slavery in Early Texas," in This Corner of Canaan: Essays on Texas (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2013).
"Mapping Texts: Visualizing American Historical Newspapers" and "Building New Windows into Digitized Newspapers," in Journal of Digital Humanities 1:3 (Summer 2012), first author (with Jon Christensen).
The Digital Stephen F. Austin Papers (http://www.DigitalAustinPapers.org).
Mapping Texts: Combining Text-Mining and Geo-Visualization to Unlock the Research Potential of Historical Newspapers (http://www.MappingTexts.org).
University Distinguished Teaching Professorship, University of North Texas, 2019.
Piper Professor Nomination Award, University of North Texas, 2019.
Set Guinness World Record for "World's Longest History Lesson," August 24-25, 2018
David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America, Western History Association, 2016.
William M. LeoGrande Prize for Best Book on U.S.-Latin American relations, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies, American University, 2016.
Ramirez Family Award for Most Significant Scholarly Book, Texas Institute of Letters, 2016.
J. H. Shelton Excellence in Teaching Award, University of North Texas, 2016.
Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize for Best Book on Texas History, Texas State Historical Association, 2016.
Ottis G. Lock Prize for Best Book of the Year, East Texas Historical Association, 2016.
Kate Broocks Bates Award for Historical Research, Texas State Historical Association, 2016.
Teaching Excellence Award, College of Arts and Sciences, University of North Texas, 2014.