I’m currently a PhD candidate in modern Chinese history, with an anticipated graduation date of May or August 2018. My research focuses on bridging the gap between the cultural, political, environmental and economic history of China’s southwest borderlands. I like to study historical communities over short time periods in ethnographic detail in relation to long-term processes–an approach inspired by both microhistory and cultural anthropology. My dissertation, “The Rooted State: Plants and Power in the Making of Modern China’s Xikang Province,” chronicles the 1939 establishment of a new Chinese province in the mountainous Kham region from an ecological perspective.
I was born to American parents in Castries, St. Lucia and grew up there, moving to the US shortly before college. The prospect of learning a non-Indo-European language prompted me to take my first trip to Beijing in 2005 for undergraduate study abroad. I contemplated getting a graduate degree in Chinese linguistics but discovered that I was more interested in Chinese history. I’ve returned to China at least once every year since 2007 and have lived in Beijing, Qingdao, Chengdu and the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Gardze, accumulating a total of nearly five years in the mainland as well as travel experience in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
I have recently returned to the United States from archival research and dissertation writing in mainland China and Taiwan. From 2015 to early 2017 I lived in the city of Chengdu, which I absolutely love. When I’m not working I like backpacking, playing the piano, and getting people together for board games.