Present and future research interests:

My research focuses on the social, intellectual, constitutional, and religious history of North America from 1600-1865.

I have been interested in the contested role of the Scottish Enlightenment and Scottish evangelicalism in America during the long-eighteenth century, particularly the career of John Witherspoon.

banner research Current and future areas of research include:

• Confederal and federal ideology in the American and Caribbean colonies, 1607-1776. •The nexus between early-American history and Atlantic history. • Notions of freedom and un-freedom in the American colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. • The impact of the 1707 Act of Union on American theories of union, disunion, and confederation. • The Church of Scotland and the North American colonies. • Anglo-Scottish unionism and the Spanish borderlands in Florida and California, c. 1660-1776. • Intellectual, legal, and religious origins of the American Revolution. • Religion and the American Revolution in the Atlantic World. • Enlightenment and religion in the early American republic. • Scottish common sense philosophy, evangelicalism, and the literary culture of early nineteenth-century America. • Moral philosophy and the question of American slavery from the colonial era to the US Civil War. • 20th century and contemporary political thought (including the Tea Party movement) and the American founding.


A secondary interest relates to the role of Anglo-American religion in the history of Sudan. I am part of the ‘Protect Darfur’ coalition, and have written about the genocide that continues to take place in Sudan.


A third related research interest highlights the importance of historical study in the promotion of “ancestral health” principles (an understanding of the human diet as a primary means to prevent chronic “diseases of civilization”, the mixed used of land rather than mono-cultured crops, and an evolutionary understanding of human well-being). I try to understand how studying the history of early America – particularly contact between Native Americans (Indians) and Europeans from the 1500s – can inform students and the wider community about the nature of ancestral health principles. I am excited to address the Ancestral Health Symposium meeting at University of California, Berkeley in August 2014, on this research project.


Between history and public health at the Ancestral Health Symposium meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

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