About Me

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I study the social and cultural history of Southern Africa, a region that has fascinated me ever since I first stumbled across kwaito music as a bored high schooler.  More specifically, I am interested in the history of humor and satire in South African literature and everyday life.  My dissertation will focus on the rich and largely neglected history of humor in Union-era South Africa, from 1910 to 1961.  Throughout history people have used humor for both oppression and resistance, and I believe it is an enormously revealing lens through which to explore past societies.  My essay “No Laughing Matter?  Humor and the Performance of South Africa” won the M.S.U. History Department’s 2016-2017 Jeff Rooney Prize for best seminar paper.

Born and bred in  Fairfax County, Virginia, I graduated from the College of William and Mary in 2014 as a double-major in history and religious studies.  My undergraduate thesis, which achieved Highest Honors, explored America’s often neglected experience of the Jameson Raid and the 1899-1902 South African War, focusing especially on the successes and failures of pro-Republikeinse (“pro-Boer”) activism and the rhetorical co-optation of the conflict by Americans as a space to work through their own questions of history and identity in a post-Civil War world.

My other academic interests include African history more broadly, American history, pilgrimage studies and the history of leisure.

I am also an avid hiker.  Whenever the Michigan climate allows, you’ll find me outside.

My CV is available at this link