Matthew Morse Booker

Associate Professor

Picture of Matthew Morse Booker


A native of Northern California, I descend from Maine businesspeople (by way of Bellingham, Washington) on my mother's side and Virginia tobacco farmers (by way of Independence, Texas) on my father's side. I have been through a variety of educational institutions, including an inner-city nursery school, grades K-8 in a tiny rural school, a suburban Catholic high school, the University of California at Berkeley, Hindu College at the University of Delhi, the University of Oregon, the University of Washington, and Stanford University. Before, during and between schools, I worked with varying success as a farm laborer, bus driver, wine server, carpenter, Forest Service grunt, landscaper, tile-setter's apprentice, title insurance examiner, field ecologist, and newspaper editor.

At NC State, I direct the Science, Technology and Society program, am a University Faculty Scholar, and a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers.

With Arnav Jhala in Computer Science, I coordinate the Visual Narrative Initiative, an interdisciplinary faculty cluster in the Chancellor's Faculty Excellence Program.

I am an affiliate of the Southeast Climate Science Center and a faculty fellow at the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, where I lead the Archive of Agricultural Genetic Engineering and Society, an oral history initiative.

Teaching and Research Interests

My work examines the intersection between human beings and the natural world in North America, with a particular focus on coastal cities. I study the boundaries of history, ecology, law and agriculture.

I edit a new volume on food history (with Chad Ludington) appearing November 11. Food Fights: How the Past Matters to Contemporary Food Debates is available from the University of North Carolina Press.

In summer 2019 I was an Alumni Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, working on The Rise and Fall of the Edible City. This is a history of local food production within cities during the industrial and urban revolutions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The project began in a fellowship at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany in 2014, and advanced at the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Munson Institute on the maritime commons at Mystic, Connecticut, in summer 2016 and as a fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2016-2017.

My first book Down By The Bay: San Francisco's History Between The Tides (University of California Press, 2013) investigates disputes over public access and ecological change in a contested urban and natural space. It was a runnerup for the 2013 Northern California Book Award and was reviewed in the Journal of American History, Environmental History, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, and in journals and newspapers as far afield as Australia.

With colleagues at Duke and UNC, I helped organize a national conference, "Beyond Despair: Theory and Practice in the Environmental Humanities" at the National Humanitie Center in 2019. With my colleague Chad Ludington, I organized a national conference on Food + History at NC State in May 2012. 

With partners at the NCSU Libraries Special Collections and Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NCSU, I lead an effort to archive oral histories of genetic engineering in agriculture. We launched in September 2017.

I am a founder of the Visual Narrative research cluster, an ambitious effort funded by the Chancellor's Faculty Excellence Program that hired new faculty in four collaborating departments: History, Art+Design, Computer Science, and Electrical and Computer Engineering. The initiative builds on my longstanding interest in digital humanities, including relationships with collaborators at Stanford, UNC, Duke and the Triangle Digital Humanities Network.

I am also interested in the causes and consequences of urban and suburban patterns of living, in using digital tools to analyze and map historical sources, in the history of agricultural technologies and the history of disease both as a physical reality and as a source of fear and spur to policy. Other projects include an effort to catalog all the species that traveled on Columbus' voyages to the Americas and a public science effort on the history and dispersal of sourdough, both with Rob Dunn, Department of Applied Ecology at NC State. 

Anthropologist Monica Sanchez, ecologist Rob Dunn and I are collaborating on an audiobook entitled "A Field Guide to the Kitchen," with help from the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and many interesting collaborators within and outside academia. We are also working with NC State's Sustainability Fund on a related project, "A Field Guide to the Dining Hall."

I often work with schools and museums, including an onging effort to apply history, landscape architecture and ecological science to adapting to sea level rise in San Francisco Bay (with Susan Schwartzenberg, Fisher Bay Observatory, San Francisco Exploratorium, and Jane Wolff, University of Toronto). 

I joined the N.C. State History Department in August 2004. I offer courses in modern U.S. history, environmental history, the history of American suburbs, U.S. agricultural history, historical methods, digital humanities, 1968, and advanced research and writing courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

I also teach outside History. In 2013 and 2015 I co-taught an interdisciplinary graduate seminar in the social consequences of introducing new technologies, using case studies of the Green Revolution and pesticides in agriculture (with Nora Haenn, Bill Kinsella, Andy Binder and Jason Delborne). In summer 2013 I co-taught a field course on managing endangered and invasive species on islands for incoming doctoral students in an NSF-funded interdisciplinary program (with Fred GouldJohn Godwin and Eric Aschehoug). In fall 2013 I taught a graduate seminar in digital humanities offered simultaneously with courses at UNC (Bobby Allen) and Duke (Mark Olson).

In 2016 I offered a history of US agriculture at NC State for the first time in living memory. Guest speakers included Chancellor Randy Woodson and faculty from applied ecology, crop science, entomology, archivists at NCSU libraries, and the Duke Homestead Historical Site. In fall 2017, I began teaching Interdisciplinary Studies 303 "Humanities and the Environment," an introductory environmental studies course. In the future I hope to offer courses in the history of cities and the history of North Carolina foodways.

In 2009 I was awarded the Lonnie and Carol Poole Award for excellence in teaching. In 2012 I received the College of Humanities and Sciences teaching award and was named to the Academy of Outstanding Teachers at N.C. State University. In 2018 I was named a University Faculty Scholar.

I am proud of my graduate students, all of whom have completed significant MA theses and gone on to PhD programs or rewarding careers.


My 2013 book on San Francisco Bay's tidal margin, Down by the Bay: San Francisco's History Between the Tides incorporates historical ecology, legal history, subaltern studies, economic history and political history into the first environmental history of San Francisco Bay. It is the first environmental history of a western estuary.

My current research project asks, why did urban Americans stop eating locally? The project is set in the industrial port cities of the American coastline and begins by investigating the food panics that helped replace locally-harvested shellfish as the Big Mac of the nineteenth century with industrial beef, pork and chicken as the daily food of the twentieth century working poor. With help from departmental grants, I did preliminary research in New York in 2012 and New Haven in 2013. I am also working to analyze the New York Public Library menus collection to track changing consumer preference.

I am affiliated with the National Science Foundation-funded IGERT- Genetic Engineering and Society: The Case of Transgenic Pests at North Carolina State University and am a faculty affiliate of the Southeast Climate Science Center (USGS/NC State) and the Global WaSH cluster.

Since spring 2014, I lead an initiative to archive video interviews with key figures in the field of genetic engineering and the regulators, theorists and critics of that suite of technologies. We are funded by the Center on Genetic Engineering and Society and cooperate with the N.C. State University libraries.

On and off campus, I give public talks on a range of issues. In 2014 I was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilian University/Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany. Later that year I was an urban fellow at the Fisher Bay Observatory at the Exploratorium in San Francisco where I continue to collaborate with Observatory director Susan Schwartzenberg and landscape architect Jane Wolff, mingling art, history and ecological science in talks and events and an upcoming symposium on the fertile relationship between ecologist Ed Ricketts and writer John Steinbeck. I am also engaged with restoration ecologists in efforts to use history and science to adapt to rapid global change.

Recently, I served as a historical consultant for the Forest History Society's 2015 documentary film about German-American forester Carl Schenck, who started the first Forestry School in the United States. I serve on the board of the Forest History Society. I was a consultant for an award-winning exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California on San Francisco Bay. I was guest editor of the Fall 2013 issue of the Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine special issue on environmental history. And for a decade, in cooperation with the Gilder Lehrman Institute in New York and the Teaching American History program, I regularly give workshops on teaching history for K-12 teachers. On campus, I speak to student groups, lead book discussions for freshmen and their families, participate in seminars at the NCSU libraries, and for eight years, advised the NCSU undergraduate History Club.

I am also part of an effort to promote digital and spatial humanities at North Carolina State. I helped found and co-coordinate the Visual Narrative initiative, uniting scholars from art+design, engineering, computer science, and history. In 2013 I helped found the Triangle Digital Humanities Network with Victora Szabo (Duke), Paul Fyfe (NC State), Bobby Allen (UNC) and Mark Olson (Duke). In the future I hope to teach a new graduate course called "Foodways and Public Digital Humanities," with student work in historical fisheries, farmers markets, and cooperative extension archival collections at NC State, state archives, and UNC-CH special collections as well as oral histories collected in eastern North Carolina.

Funded Research

2017-18, co-PI with Monica Sanchez, independent anthropologist and Rob Dunn, Applied Ecology, "A Field Guide to the Dining Hall," Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and NCSU Sustainability Fund

2016-17, "The Rise and Fall of the Edible City, 1870-1930," Donnelley Family Fellow, National Humanities Center

2015- Coordinator, Visual Narrative Initiative, co-chaired four successful tenure-track searches with a committee of 11 faculty from five departments in three colleges at NC State

2015- "Connecting Landscape Adaptation and National Cultural Resource Policy to Climate Change and Cultural Resource Adaptation Decisions," USGS Southeast Climate Science Center (Erin Seekamp, PRTM, primary investigator)

2014- Director, Archive of Agricultural Genetic Engineering and Society, Genetic Engineering and Society Center and NC State Libraries

2014 - Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Germany

2012, 2015 - Teaching subvention, NSF-funded IGERT in Genetic Engineering and Society, NCSU

2012 - Summer funding grant, Department of History, NCSU

2011 - Faculty Development Grant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, NCSU

2008-10 - Investigator, “Between the Tides,” Mellon Foundation Grant, Spatial History Project, Stanford University

2008-9 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Lane Center for the North American West, Stanford University

2006 - Faculty Development Grant, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, NCSU

2003-2004 - GJ Lieberman Teaching and Research Dissertation Fellow, Stanford University

Extension and Community Engagement

2018 - "A Look at Dunkirk," with Jane Clayson, Cara Buckley, and John Broich, OnPoint, WBUR Boston, January 26

2018 - "The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Oyster," Office of Environmental Education, Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina Museum of Natural History, Jan 24

2017 - "The True Story of Dunkirk," with John Broich and Doug Fabrizio, RadioWest podcast, KUER Salt Lake City, July 27

2017 - Isaac Weeks, "Is Dunkirk Done Right? Ask NC State Assoc. Prof. of History Matthew Booker" Raleigh & Company, July 22

2017 - "Dunkirk: History, Memory and World War II," Marbles Museum & IMAX Theater, Raleigh, July 20

2017 - "Lessons from the Industrial Oyster," National Humanities Center trustees, March 23

2017 - "What will the Trump administration mean for American agriculture?" NC State Agriculture Awareness Week panel, March 20

2017 - "The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Oyster," National Humanities Center, March 9

2017 - "A Very Brief History of North Carolina Agriculture," Center for the Study of the American South, February 1

2017-2019 - Board of Directors, The Forest History Society, Durham

2016 - "History Professor Named National Humanities Center Fellow," March 17

2016 - "Chancellor Gives Guest Lecture in New History Course," February 22

2015-16 - Adviser, CityLab, City of Raleigh Museum, Raleigh

2014-15 - Member of the Board, Historic Oak View County Park, Raleigh

2014-15 - Urban Fellow, Fisher Bay Observatory, the Exploratorium, San Francisco, October 18-25, 2014, March 5-11, 2015, July 6-10, 2015.

2014-15 - Historical consultant, "First in Forestry: Carl Alvin Schenck and the Biltmore Forest School," Forest History Society and Bonesteel films, Durham NC

2014 - Jonathan Kauffman, "Oysters Raised in the San Francisco Bay? An Interview with Historian Matthew Booker," San Francisco Chronicle, September 2, 2014

2014 - Jonathan Kauffman, "The Neighborhood Oyster Bar Resurfaces in the Bay Area," San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 2014

2014 - Designbox Raleigh, "Why did Americans lose their faith in local food in the twentieth century?"

2014 - "Soft Rock, Gerald Ford, and the 1970s," with Pete Farquhar, on The Mystery Roach Radio Hour, WKNC 88.1 FM

2014 - Informant, Lessley Anderson, "Inside California's $25B Plot to Save Its Water Supply," The Verge, Jan 15, 2014

2014 - Interview, "New Fields for Food" WUNC television, Feb 6, 2014

2013 - Guest editor, Fall 2013 issue of Tar Heel Junior Historian magazine (North Carolina Museum of History), special issue on North Carolinians and the natural world

2013 - Guest post, "Why I wrote Down by the Bay," Save the Bay Blog, Sept 16, 2013

2013 - Lauren Kilpatrick, Down by the Bay, CHASS News, July 29, 2013

2013 - Interview, KWMR Point Reyes Station, California, July 24, 2013

2013 - Dave Iverson, KQED Forum, "An In-Depth Look at the History of San Francisco's Estuary," July 19, 2013

2012-2014 - Adviser, Above and Below: Stories From Our Changing Bay (Oakland Museum of California)

2008-2013 - Consultant, Gilder Lehrman Institute, Teaching American History grants (US Department of Education) with school districts from Idaho, Washington, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Louisiana

2013 - "Vaccines and Vaccine Denial: Past and Present," with David Kroll, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, on The Mystery Roach Radio Hour, WKNC 88.1 FM

2013 - "The Legacy of Rachel Carson," talk for incoming freshmen and families, NC State University

2012 - "Food and History: From Theory to Practice" conference, May 4-5 (co-organizer, with Chad Ludington), at NC State University

2012 -"1865: What Would Freedom Mean?" talk for incoming freshmen and families, NC State University

2011 - "Oysters" with Ashlee Lillis (Marine, Environmental and Atmospheric Sciences, NCSU), on The Mystery Roach Radio Hour, WKNC 88.1 FM

2012 - "How is History Interdisciplinary?" talk for first-year Humanities and Social Science students, NCSU

2011 - "Remembering the Future: Bad Ideas that Refuse to Die" Phi Alpha Theta Commencement Speaker, NC State University

2010 - "Suburbs" with Pete Farquhar, on The Mystery Roach Radio Hour, WKNC 88.1 FM

2010 - "What Will You Do with Your History Degree?" History Department Commencement Speaker, NC State University


2019 - "Sourdough Cultures," Seeing the Woods Blog, Rachel Carson Center, Munich, Aug 29

2019 - Charles Ludington and Matthew Booker, eds. Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates (University of North Carolina Press)

2019 - “The Century-Old Origins of Contemporary Food Safety Debates,” in Booker and Ludington, eds. Food Fights: How History Matters to Contemporary Food Debates (University of North Carolina Press)

2018 - “Before The Jungle: The Atlantic Origins of US Food Safety Regulation,” Global Environment: A Journal of Transdisciplinary History 11.1 (2018): 12-35

2017 - "Resilience, Humility, and Picnics," Humanities Moments, National Humanities Center

2017 - Matthew Booker and Kim Gilman, "Environmental Humanities," in Andy Mink, ed. Humanities in Class: How to Think and Learn in the Humanities (National Humanities Center)

2017 - With Kim Gilman, "How to Think in the Environmental Humanites," Humanities in Class, National Humanities Center

2015 - "The Uses and Limits of Local Food," Think Global, Eat Local: Exploring Foodways, RCC Perspectives 2015:1, Rachel Carson Center, Munich

2014 - H-Environment Roundtable Review, P. Garone, The Fall and Rise of the Wetlands of California's Great Central Valley. H-Environment Roundtable Reviews 4: 10 (2014).

2014 - Blog post, "Why Did Americans Stop Eating Locally?" Making Tracks: A Blog of the Rachel Carson Center, LMU, Munich

2013 - Down By The Bay: San Francisco's History Between the Tides (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press) (nominated for the 2013 Northern California Book Award) - reviewed in the American Historical Review, Environmental History, Pacific Historical Review, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Cited by articles in California History, The Public Historian and San Francisco Estuary & Watershed Science.

2012 - "Visualizing San Francisco Bay's Forgotten Past," Journal of Digital Humanities 1(3) Fall 2012

2012 - Blog post, "Visualizing San Francisco Bay's Forgotten Past," Ant-Spider-Bee: Exploring the Digital Humanities, June 11, 2012

2010 - Matthew Booker, Michael De Groot, and Kathy Harris, “From Salt Ponds to Refuge in San Francisco Bay,” Spatial History Project, Stanford University, August 1, 2010

2009 - Michael De Groot and Matthew Booker, “The Struggle for Ownership of the San Francisco Bay Area, 1769-1972” Spatial History Project, Stanford University, August 28, 2009 

2009 - Gabriel Lee, Alec Norton, Andrew Robichaud and Matthew Booker, “The Production of Space in San Francisco Bay: San Francisco Bay’s Atlantic Oyster Industry, 1869-1920s,” Spatial History Project, Stanford University, May 15, 2009 

2009 - Matthew Booker and Alec Norton, “Visualizing Sea Level Rise and Early Bay Habitation, 6000BP to Present: The Emeryville Shellmound,” Spatial History Project, Stanford University, March, 2009 

2009 - Allen Roberts and Matthew Booker, “Shell Mounds in San Francisco Bay Area,” Spatial History Project, Stanford University, February, 2009 

2008 - Gabriel Lee, Alec Norton, Andrew Robichaud and Matthew Booker, “Morgan Oyster Company’s Bay Holdings, 1930”, Spatial History Project, Stanford University, December 10, 2008 

2008 - Gabriel Lee, Alec Norton, Andrew Robichaud and Matthew Booker, “San Mateo County Bay Ownership, 1877-1927”, Spatial History Project, Stanford University, December 1, 2008 

2007 - “Legacy of the Gold Rush,” Bill Lane Center for the Study of the American West, Stanford University

2006 - “Primary Sources in the Environmental History of San Francisco Bay: An Online Archive,” Bill Lane Center for the Study of the American West, Stanford University

2006 - “Oyster Growers and Oyster Pirates in San Francisco Bay,” Pacific Historical Review 75(1) February 2006: 63-88. (Winner, W. Turrentine Jackson Award, American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch)

2004-2013 - Book reviews in Environmental History, Pacific Historical Review, Journal of the History of Biology, and Wetlands: The Journal of the Society of Wetlands Scientists


2019 -  "The Sourdough Project: How Public Science and History Reveal Stories Behind Our Daily Bread," Environmental Studies Program, Bowdoin College, October 10

2019 - Organizer, Panelist, Moderator, "Beyond Despair: Theory and Practice in Environmental Humanities," National Humanities Center, April 3-5

2018 - “What Sourdough Bread Tells Us About the Anthropocene,” with Lori Shapiro, Harvard Medical School/NC State Department of Applied Ecology, Deutsches Museum, Munich. July 19

2018 - "Creating and Performing Stories in the Humanities and Sciences," National Humanities Center, April 7

2018 - "Visualizing Venice," Wired! Lab, Duke University, February 19

2018 - "Being Presidential," with Skip Elsheimer of A/V Geeks, Hunt Library, February 9

2018 - "The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Oyster," Office of Environmental Education/Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, January 24

2018 - "Environmental History: Eating the City," with Kim Gilman, K-12 teacher, National Humanities Center webinar, January 23

2017 - "La Ostra y La Ciudad: La Historia Ambiental de un Alimento Industrial," INECOL, Coatepec, Veracruz, August 2

2017 - “Space and Place in the Organic City,” Geo-Inquiry Leadership Institute, North Carolina Geographic Alliance, June 28

2017 - "The Rise and Fall of the Industrial Oyster," National Humanities Center, March 9

2016 - "Food History and Environmental History: A Roundtable Discussion," American Society for Environmental History meeting, Seattle, March 29

2016 - "Regulating Culture: Food Safety in the 20th Century U.S.," Consuming the World Workshop, Rachel Carson Center, Munich

2015 - Poster: "Lessons from Rapid Change: San Francisco Bay's Oyster Industry, 1870-1920," Global Change Symposium, Southeast Climate Center, NCSU

2015 - "Visualization as a Research Tool in the Humanities," Coffee and Viz Seminar, NCSU Libraries, November 20

2015 - "Oyster Panics: Placing Responsibility for Food Safety." Annual meeting of the American Society for Environmental History, Washington, DC, March 21

2015 - "The Century-Old Origins of Our Contemporary Food Debates," Environments and Societies Seminar, UC Davis, March 11

2015 - "San Francisco Bay's Edible Past as a Shared Problem for Ecologists and Historians." Ecology and Evolution Seminar, UC Davis, March 12

2014 - With Jane Wolff, "Intimacies of Time and Place: Reading San Francisco Bay," Exploratorium, San Francisco, October 23, 2014

2014 - "An Edible Bay," Exploratorium, San Francisco, October 21, 2014

2014 - "When Local Food Left the City," Pints of Science! Raleigh, September 23, 2014

2014 - "Digital History for Everyone," Bowdoin College, Maine, Sept 12, 2014

2014 - "Why did Americans Stop Eating Locally?" Bowdoin College, Maine, Sept 11, 2014

2014 -"Why did Urban Americans Stop Eating Locally in the 20th Century?" Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, July 10, 2014

2014 - Comment and discussion, "The Greening of Everyday Life Workshop," Rachel Carson Center, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, June 21, 2014

2014 - "Some Lessons from the Rise, Collapse and Revival of the American Oyster," at the "Understanding Ecology through the Humanities: From the Wild to Post-collapse" conference, University of Zurich, Switzerland, June 16-19, 2014

2014 - "Saltworks and Shorelines: a Visual and Social History of the San Francisco Bay," with Cris Benton (University of California, emeritus), Quezada Center for Art and Politics, San Francisco

2014 - Chair and panelist, "Writers on the environmental history of San Francisco Bay," American Society for Environmental History annual meeting, San Francisco, March 2014

2014 - Comment, "Public history and environmental history," American Society for Environmental History annual meeting, San Francisco, March 2014

2014 - Comment, "Social Movements of the 1960s," History Graduate Student Association Conference, Feb 2014

2012 - Organizer, "Food and History: From Theory to Practice" conference, North Carolina State University, May 2012

2012 - Participant, roundtable on “Assessing the Spatial Turn in US History,” Organization of American Historians/National Council of Public Historians annual meeting Milwaukee, WI, April 2012

2012 - Paper presented, panel on “Making Use of Nature: How Resources Became Commodities in America during the Nineteenth Century,” Organization of American Historians/National Council of Public Historians annual meeting Milwaukee, WI, April 2012

2012 - Paper presented, panel on “Digital Urban Environmental Histories,” American Society for Environmental History annual meeting Madison, WI, March 2012

2012 - Comment, panel on "Intellectual and Diplomatic History: A Fresh Look at Traditional History," North Carolina Graduate Student History Conference, Raleigh, Feb 2012

2011 - Comment, panel “Global Perspectives on Urban Landscapes and Cultural Identities,” North Carolina Graduate Student History Conference, Raleigh, Feb 2011

2010 - Paper presented, “Immigrant Biotechnology: Japanese Oysters in Puget Sound, 1900-1941,” Society for the History of Technology annual meeting, Tacoma, WA

2010 - Paper presented, “Spatial Visualization for San Francisco Bay History,” Visualizing Narratives Conference, North Carolina State University

2010 - Comment, panel “Expanding the Civil Rights Movement: Gender, Religion, Class,” North Carolina Graduate Student History Conference, Raleigh

2010 - Chair, “From Sweetwater to Seawater: Integrating Terrestrial and Marine Environmental Histories in the Coastal Zone,” American Historical Association annual meeting, San Diego

2009 - Paper presented, “Wired West: Spatial History in Practice,” Western Historical Association annual meeting, Denver

2009 - Paper presented, San Francisco Estuary Institute and Spatial History Project, “Making Environmental History Practical,” Stanford University

2007 - Interview, “Environmental Connections: Europe and the Wider World,” Exploring Environmental History podcast,

2007 - Paper presented, “The Oysters That Took the Train: Atlantic Oysters in San Francisco Bay,” European Society for Environmental History biennial meeting, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2007 - Invited speaker, “Is the City Natural?” Inaugural Lecture, Distinguished Speaker Series, University of Oregon Environmental History Program

2007 - Invited speaker, “Globalizing American History Through Cotton: Teaching Industrialization and the Environment,” North Carolina State University Workshop on Teaching World History, National Humanities Center

2007 - Commentator, panel “Horses and Horse Power: Sports Culture Through History,” North Carolina Graduate Student History Conference, Raleigh

2006 - Participant, “Shellfish and Marine History,” Marine Environmental History Workshop, Key West, May 13-16, 2006 Sea Educational Association (Woods Hole, MA)

2006 - Panelist, “Centering Nature: Humans, History and the Environment,” at “Method and Meaning: A Workshop in Historical Interpretation,” Duke University, North Carolina

2006 - Discussant, “Dust Bowl: Telling Stories About History,” Honors Seminar, Department of History, North Carolina State University

2006 - Invited speaker, “Environmental History and San Francisco Bay,” Jefferson Scholars Program, North Carolina State University

2005 - Invited speaker, “Mercury Contamination of San Francisco Bay: An Historical Perspective,” Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, North Carolina State University

2005 - Discussant and Chair, “The Chao Praya, Arakawa, and Thames: Re-Engineering Rivers and Societies in Bangkok, Tokyo, and London,” American Society for Environmental History annual meeting, Houston

2005 - Invited Speaker, “The Atlantic Oyster in the Pacific: Some Links Between History and Ecology,” Zoology Department, North Carolina State University

2004 - Panelist, “Foraging, Property, and Environmental Inequality on Bay Area Shorelines,” American Society for Environmental History annual meeting, Victoria, British Columbia

2004 - Invited speaker, “Public Access and Private Property in San Francisco Bay’s Tidelands, 1870-1930,” Seminar on the North American West, Stanford University

Graduate Advising


2019- Andre Taylor, "Memory and History in the Expansion of Rice Cultivation from South Carolina into North Carolina," MA, Public History (Co-chair)

2014- Lauren Vilbert, “Tourism’s Past, Present and Future on the Outer Banks,” Ph.D. candidate, Public History (Co-chair)

2015- Liz Wardzinski, "A Model for the World: Tennessee Valley Authority and the Postwar World,” Ph.D. candidate, Architecture

2013- Nicholas Serrano, “Landscape History of the Triangle Region, North Carolina,” Ph.D. candidate, Landscape Architecture


2019 Sophia Webster, "Killer-Rescue Gene Drive for Population Replacement in the Dengue Vector Aedes Aegypti," Ph.D., Entomology

2019 Megan Serr, "How to Become One of the Islanders: Assessing Farallones Island House Mice Colony Resistance to Secondary Establishers," PhD., Zoology

2018 Dean Bruno, "A Place Called Home: Dispossession and Remembrance of a Central New York Landscape," PhD, History, Vanderbilt University

2017 Cameron Mills, "College Men Go to War: The American University Union in Europe during the First World War," M.A., History (Chair)

2017 Gabriel Zilnik, "Evolution of Insects in Agricultural Systems," MS, Entomology

2016 Rachel Jacobson, “Raleigh’s Greenways and Racial Exclusion,” M.A. student, Public History (Co-chair)

2016 Charlton Brown, "Analysis of Wetland Communities along Historic Ditches in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina," M.S., Forestry and Environmental Resources

2015 Madison Cates, “White Men Without Side-Arms: Moderation, Manhood, and the Politics of Civil Rights in North Carolina, 1960-1965,” M.A., History

2014 Stacy Roberts, “How We Have Forgotten: Chemical Strawberries and Their Archived Alternatives in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries,” M.A., History (Chair)

2014 Jesse Hall, “The Nation’s River: An Environmental History of the Potomac,” M.A., History (Chair)

2011 Shane Cruise, “Blighted People in a Blighted Place: Disease, Environment, and Slum Clearance in Winston-Salem, NC, 1880-1960,” M.A., History

2010 Laura Hepp Bradshaw, “Naturalized Citizens: Conservation, Gender, and the Tennessee Valley Authority during the New Deal,” M.A., History (Co-chair)

2009 Robert Paine Shapard, “Building an Inland Sea: Clarks Hill Lake on the Upper Savannah and the Twentieth-Century Lives, Land, and River Hidden by its Waters,” M.A., History (Chair)

2009 Zach Gillan, “Consumerism and Radical Protest in the 1960s: Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers, and the Diggers,” M.A., History

2008 Gabriel Lee, “Constructing the Outer Banks: Land Use, Management, and Meaning in the Creation of an American Place,” M.A., History (Chair)

2008 L. Dean Bruno, ““Once a Home, Now a Memory:” Dispossession, Possession and Remembrance of the Landscape of the Former Seneca Army Depot,” M.A., History (Chair)

2008 April Grecho, “From Knowledge to Management: Assessing and communicating the efficacy of sustainable resource education programs in the U.S.,” Ph.D., Forestry and Environmental Resources

2008 Neil Shafer Oatsvall, “War on Nature, War on Bodies: The United States' Chemical Defoliant Use During the Vietnam War and Its Consequences,” M.A., History (Chair)

2008 Andrea Gray, “Supper on the Trail: How Food and Provisions Shaped Nineteenth-Century Westward Migration,” M.A., History

2008 Leslie Erin Hawkins, “’I Am History, Don’t Destroy Please’: Three Gristmills and Their Communities in Wake County, North Carolina,” M.A., Public History

2007 Scott McDuffie, “James Lawson: Leading Architect and Educator of Nonviolence and Nonviolent Direct Action Protest Strategies During the Student Sit-in Movement of 1960,” M.A., History


Since 2017 - Director, Science, Technology & Society program, NCSU

Since 2015 - Faculty affiliate, Southeast Climate Science Center, USGS/NCSU

Since 2015 - Coordinator, Visual Narrative cluster, Chancellors Faculty Excellence Program, NCSU

Since 2014 -  Faculty Fellow, Center for Genetic Engineering and Society, NCSU

2012-2016 - Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship, "Genetic Engineering and Society," NCSU

Since 2011 - Triangle Digital Humanities Network, National Humanities Center/NCSU/UNC/Duke

2011-13 - Intellectual Entrepreneurship working group, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, NCSU

2007-15 - Faculty adviser, NC State University History Club

Since 2005 - Environmental Studies committee, NCSU

Since 2006 - Native American Studies committee, NCSU

Since 2004 - Departmental committees on graduate admissions, budget, salary merit points, strategic planning, curriculum, and research, as well as three successful search committees

Since 2004 - served on 17 MA thesis committees in History, chairing 7; served on 22 MA committees in Public History; served on 1 MS committee in Forestry; served on PhD committees in Architecture, Entomology (2), Biology and Forestry.


  • PhD in History from Stanford University, 2005
  • MS in Environmental Studies from University of Oregon, 1997
  • BA in Latin American History from University of California at Berkeley, 1991