My research and teaching primarily deal with the history of the United States in the world. I am also very interested in the history of Southeast Asia, including, but not limited to, European and American involvement in the region. I approach the study of U.S. foreign relations broadly, and my work and courses integrate cultural, political, and social histories into more traditional explorations of high-level diplomacy. I am particularly interested in the role of non-state actors in advancing and carrying out American policies overseas.
I did not follow a direct academic path from college to the doctorate, but spent years working alternately as a baker, an electrician and a community advocate for the elderly poor. As the first American-born in a family of post-World War II French immigrants, I have always been a gatherer of stories. In graduate school and for years thereafter, my scholarly work focused primarily on labor militancy, political radicalism, and the intersection of ethnic, national and class identities. After leaving New York City for the San Francisco Bay Area, I offered courses in U.S.
My area is the history of world politics, mainly war and peace issues among the great states, which I approach as a kind of intellectual and social history necessarily connected to the revolutions of the last three centuries. The country I know best is Russia and a good deal of my published work has dealt with the Russian revolution and its impact on the world. I have devoted attention to its internal power struggles which I have approached as a Kremlinologist, but chiefly as a Kremlinologist of ideas.
I am a historian of nineteenth-century France, especially interested in social, cultural, religious, and gender history in both metropolitan France and the wider French empire. My first book, Educating the Faithful, on Catholic primary education in nineteenth-century France argued that religious teaching orders pioneered a system of schools that predated the one created by the French state.
I study the changing relationship between religion and nation in the Atlantic World during the ‘Age of Revolution and Reaction’ (roughly 1750 – 1830). My book, An Holy Nation, argues that the Society of Friends challenged the ways in which the wars for independence and empire of this era reconfigured definitions of citizenship and subjecthood. Quakers resisted the demands for loyalty and sacrifice by the worldly governments under which they lived; in so doing, they represented a markedly different way of thinking about and being part of civil society.
My research interests include the study of states and families, early modern empires in the Indo-Islamic World, comparative colonialisms and nationalisms, modern Telugu literary criticism and globalization.
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005
I teach mostly general modern history of the Middle East and North Africa, history of Iran and Afghanistan, and the role of imperialism in the region. I also teach graduate and –pro-seminar courses on the history of the Middle East. Teaching lower division modern world history is also part of my teaching responsibility.
I have been working in the education field for nearly two decades. After some time working in adult education I began lecturing in history at San Francisco State University, as well as other campuses throughout the Bay Area. My teaching interests are in World History, Latin American History and U.S. History. I especially like teaching World History because it allows me to explore diverse people and cultures and to discuss global developments.
My area of research is in the history and languages of the ancient Near East. My primary specialization is in the Hittites (ancient Anatolia/Turkey), the Hurrians (northern Mesopotamia, Syria, southeastern Anatolia) and the Urartians (eastern Anatolia). I have also been heavily involved with administrative material written in Elamite from the Achaemenid (Old Persian) period. My teaching interests cover the breadth of the ancient world. I teach courses on the history of the ancient Near East, Greece and Rome.