I was born to be a French historian! My birthplace, Gallipolis Ohio, was founded in the late 18th century by emigrés from the French Revolution seeking a paradise in the New World. This accident of birth actually had nothing to do (as far as I am aware) with my choice of profession. For me, history is the record not only of how things change, but how people make things change, how they act individually and collectively to create a better world. My focus is on the history of modern and twentieth century France, about which I have written several books and articles. My studies have ranged from the Paris suburbs to black American expatriates in France to the French Caribbean, and I am
particularly interested in questions of race and class, blackness, postcolonial history, and transnational history. I am currently working on a book about the intersections of race and liberty in modern history, exploring the ways in which ideas of freedom are racialized.
When not considering these weighty historical topics I have two major administrative responsibilities. Since 2015 I have been the Dean of Humanities at UC-Santa Cruz. I am also currently the President of the American Historical Association. These responsibilities keep me extremely busy, but I feel privileged and proud to be able to contribute to my profession in these positions.
Humanities Dean's Office
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064