The Department of History
19th & 20th century history, focus on immigration & labor, New York City, childhood
Phone: (646) 312-4334
Location: VC 5428
I am excited to be teaching at Baruch College of the City University of New York. A native Californian, I was educated at UC Berkeley, but had my most life changing intellectual experience at the CUNY Graduate Center in 1980.
I was two years out of college and working for a newspaper in San Francisco when I attended a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar on working-class history led by CUNY professors Herb Gutman and Steve Brier. The seminar helped me to see ordinary working people—immigrants, slaves, and families—as active participants in history who contributed to the ideas, institutions, and values that shaped this country.
I went home and wrote with new understanding and passion about migrant cannery workers in Alaska, a Mexican-American theater troupe in the Salinas Valley, and Vietnamese refugee fishermen in my hometown, which became the subject of my PBS documentary, “Monterey's Boat People.” These interests and a growing desire to teach led me to graduate school. I earned an M.A. in comparative social history at UC Santa Cruz and a Ph.D in history at Princeton University.
I have since taught at Princeton, Santa Cruz, George Mason University, and in Beijing, China. Now at Baruch, I hope to inspire—and be inspired by—a new generation of CUNY students. I am teaching courses on the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, with a focus on immigration, labor, New York City, and childhood.
My forthcoming book, Crying the News, is a history of newsboys from the Revolution to the Great Depression. It analyzes their role as political actors and symbols in American culture. I am also working on the CUNY-based American Social History Project’s “Young America” website, editing the autobiography of a New York City newsboy in the 1850s, and reexamining the documentary tradition of American artists, writers, and photographers in the 1930s.
I want Baruch students to know that I am anxious to meet you, help you realize your own aspirations, and appreciate your own unique place in America’s history.