I originally grew up outside of Albany NY. After completing a B.A. in history from SUNY Cortland, I went on to earn a Ph.D. in African history from Indiana University. My teaching and research interests are broadly defined in both African history and the experience of people of African descent around the world. At SLU I teach survey courses in African history and African studies, upper division classes on constructions of identity and conflict, and seminars on colonial and urban history.
As a contemporary historian of East Africa, I am an the co-author with Katherine Luongo of Obama and Kenya: Contested Histories and the Politics of Belonging (Ohio University Press, 2016) which examines the ways African and non-African audiences have used controversial readings of Kenya's past to interpret the political ascendency of a U.S. president. I have also published scholarly articles on the colonial and contemporary links between histories of ethnicity, gender, conflict and sport in Kenya. I have also written popular critiques about African affairs and study abroad for popular media sites such as The Hill, Africa Is A Country, The Huffington Post, Open Democracy, Politico Magazine, Salon, and The Washington Post.
When not in the classroom or doing research I enjoy working with students on a variety of projects. Outside of the history department I coordinated the African Studies program for many years and I am an active supporter of study abroad on campus. As an alumnus of SLU’s Kenya Semester Program (KSP) and the current on-campus coordinator I am always thrilled to talk with students about study abroad in East Africa (so please don’t hesitate to contact me). To learn more join the KSP Facebook Group or hear about current student experiences on the official Kenya Semester Program Blog.
My wife Jolene and I also love the outdoors, and been known to cook Kenyan food for students on select occasions. After many years of competing I have also been involved as a volunteer wrestling coach for a number of high-school, college and community programs.