Research

Luminous Brotherhood CoverMy first book, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in Fall of 2016. The book won the 2017 Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association and the 2017 Michael Thomason Book Award from the Gulf South Historical Association. It was also selected as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Reviews. The book examines how the beliefs and practice of Spiritualism helped Afro-Creoles mediate the political, social, and cultural changes in New Orleans as the city moved from the antebellum period through Reconstruction. The messages the Cercle Harmonique received from the spirit world and the spirits who sent them offered the circle a forum for airing their political grievances and looking forward to a more egalitarian world. For more on this book, including reviews and other media about it, check out the book’s page.

My second monograph is tentatively titled Spiritual Matters: American Spiritualism and Material Culture (better title coming later). It’s under advance contract with University of North Carolina Press. It’s in the research-in-progress stage.

I am the co-editor of Race and NRMS book cover Race and New Religious Movements in the USA: A Documentary Reader with Brad Stoddard. Exploring a variety of new religious movements with an emphasis on race, the book is the first of its kind. 

I’m also completing a smaller project on the Jesuit missions to Alaska and the interactions between Jesuits and indigenous Alaskan communities.

My academic work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Academy of Religion, the Lily Endowment and Louisville Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Gonzaga University’s Research Council, and a Florida State University Dissertation Grant.