Academic Interests

My research interests are broadly structured around the fields of late 19th and pre-war 20th century Central and Mediterranean World European history and 20th century American history. I am also interested in the history of the Arab world, particularly at points of intellectual and socio-political transfer between the Middle East and Europe.

Thematically, what unites these disparate fields is my concern with issues of motivation, group culture, and commitment; my overriding historical concern is with the reanimation of historical moments — particularly movements and cultures that were once popular but now discredited or forgotten — through the reconstruction of their total contexts. Movements that cross international and cultural borders are of particular interest.

This leads, out of necessity, to a eclectic methodological approach. I seek to incorporate elements of political, social, immigration, and cultural history into my work, and am increasingly concerned with ‘reading’ visual culture and found artifacts, as well as with the potentialities of oral history. My background in digital humanities and in business and economics leads me to incorporate quantitative methods into my research; I am excited about the potential benefits (and pitfalls) of digital history, and actively seek to incorporate digital techniques into my research, both as source and method.

Some broad areas of interest for a potential dissertation appear below (in no particular order); because I am interested mainly in obscure and/or forgotten historical moments or little-known aspects of recognized historical phenomenon, I welcome suggestions for more closely defined topics or themes:

  • Volunteer soldier movements (Second Italo-Ethiopian War; Spanish Civil War; present-day Somalia, Syria)
  • The construction of Italian fascism
    • Appropriation of Roman antiquity, use of visual culture
  • Catholic experiences of modernity, particularly:
    • Interactions with communism and the USSR
    • Interactions with democracy
  • Revolutionary leftist figures, parties, and movements
    • Fin de siècle anarchism
    • International intervention in the Spanish Civil War
    • Spanish POUM and CNT-AIF revolution-in-war
    • American radicalisms (Socialisms, Marxisms, labor)
      • Immigration and radical politics
      • CPUSA (religious elements, political independence, intersections with race, class, and ethnicity)
  • Republican prisoners in the Spanish Civil War
  • War commemoration and memory in Spain