I am a historian of the post-World War II United States specializing in the histories of childhood, the Cold War, and America in the world. I’m particularly interested in the ways in which culture shapes politics, and this focus is at the center of both my research and my teaching. My book, Raising the World: Child Welfare in the American Century (Harvard University Press, 2015), explores the nexus of culture and politics by examining American efforts to assist children around the world during the three decades following the Second World War. Child welfare programs, I argue, were at once humanitarian gestures and political projects aimed at expanding the United States’ global hegemony. Americans believed that U.S. methods of child rearing could prevent the rise of future dictators, curb the appeal of communism, and facilitate economic development around the world. At the same time, the prominence of international child welfare programs within the United States taught ordinary Americans—many of whom contributed funds and even built relationships with foreign children through sponsorship programs—to view their country’s forays overseas as acts of charity, not imperialism.
I am also the co-editor of Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945, a collection of essays on youngsters and American politics co-edited with Susan Eckelmann Berghel and Paul Renfro. By unveiling how science fairs, breakfast nooks, Boy Scout meetings, home economics classrooms, and correspondence functioned as political spaces, this anthology encourages a reassessment of the scope and nature of modern politics itself.
My current book project, Shopping for Empire: American Tourists, Consumption, and Power after World War II, is a history of American tourism overseas that focuses on souvenir-hunting and shopping.
At Seton Hall, my courses include America Since 1945, the History of New York City, the History of the Family in America, and the History of Travel and Tourism in the United States.
- Ph.D., Yale University
- M.Phil., Yale University
- B.A., Barnard College
- Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945, co-edited with Susan Eckelmann Berghel and Paul M. Renfro (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2019).
- “Introduction,” with Susan Eckelmann Berghel and Paul M. Renfro, in Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2019), 1-16.
- “The ‘Junior Marshall Plan’: Children, World Friendship, and Internationalism after World War II,” in Growing Up America: Youth and Politics since 1945 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2019), 19-35.
- “The Nursery’s Iron Curtain: Children, Childhood, and the Global Cold War,” History Compass 17, issue 6 (June 2019). https://doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12547
- "Our Dollars Are Celebrities Abroad: American Tourists, Consumption, and Power after World War II,” Journal of Tourism History 11, issue 2 (May 29, 2019), 187-207.
- " Raising the World: Child Welfare in the American Century." Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
- " The Now Forgotten Battlefield for Hearts and Minds in the Cold War." History News Network, 2015.
- "Little Cold Warriors: Child Sponsorship and International Affairs." Diplomatic History 38:2, 240-250, March 2014.
- College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Teacher of the Year Award, 2019
- Finalist, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize (2015)
- George Washington Egleston Dissertation Prize, Yale University (2013)
- Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2012-2013)
- Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2011-2012)
- Phi Beta Kappa (2004), Barnard College