- PhD, University of Virginia, 2000
- Nineteenth-Century America
- Southern History
- Race and Slavery
- Social and Cultural History
- American South to 1865
- American South, 1865-1929
- American Civilization to 1865
- Slavery in American Popular Culture, 1845-Present
- Reform Movements in Antebellum America
- The Nineteenth Century American West
- Proseminar and Seminar on Southern History, 1776-1865 (Graduate)
- Proseminar in United States History since 1877 (Graduate)
- Literature of American History to 1865 (Graduate)
- Proseminar and Seminar in United States History to 1877 (Graduate)
Awards and Honors
- Edna and Norman Freehling Fellow in South Atlantic Studies, Virginia Humanities, 2020.
- American Council of Learned Society Fellowship, 2019-2020.
- Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition Fellowship, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, 2015-2016.
- Short-term Fellowship, Program in Early American Economy and Society, Library Company of Philadelphia, 2015-2016.
- Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2015-2016.
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library, 2015-2016.
- Woest Fellowship, Historic New Orleans Collection, 2015-2016.
- Mellon Research Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society, 2015-2016.
- Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Award, Southern Historical Association, 2013.
- Michael V.R. Thomason Book Award, Gulf South Historical Association, 2013.
- Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2008-2011, 2011-2014, 2015-present.
- Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition Fellowship, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, 2008-2009.
- American Antiquarian Society-National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, Worcester, Massachusetts, 2005-2006.
- Outstanding Book Award, Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender, 2004.
- Joel Williamson Research Stipend, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Academic Libraries, Summer 2003.
- Faculty/Independent Scholar Summer Research Fellowship, Deep South Regional Humanities Center, Tulane University, May-October 2003
- The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America (New York: Basic Books, 2021).
- Flush Times & Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2012).
- “The Contours of Cotton Capitalism: Slavery, Speculation, and Economic Panic in Mississippi, 1832-1841,” in Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development, eds. Seth Rockman and Sven Beckert (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016).
- Reforming America, 1815-1860: a Norton Documents Reader (New York: W.W. Norton, 2010).
- “‘The Hazards of the Flush Times: Gambling, Mob Violence, and the Anxieties of America’s Market Revolution,” Journal of American History 95 (December 2008): 651-77.
- Notorious in the Neighborhood: Sex and Families across the Color Line in Virginia, 1787-1861 (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2003).
- “Hardly Sallygate: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and the Sex Scandal That Wasn’t,” in Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals, eds. Juliet A. Williams and Paul Apostolidis (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004): 101-33.
- “‘Notorious in the Neighborhood’: An Interracial Family in Early National and Antebellum Virginia,” Journal of Southern History 67 (February 2001): 73-114.
- “James Callender and Social Knowledge of Interracial Sex in Antebellum Virginia,” in Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: History, Memory, and Civic Culture, eds. Jan Lewis and Peter S. Onuf (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1999): 87-113.
- “‘To Be Freed from Thate Curs and Let at Liberty’: Interracial Adultery and Divorce in Antebellum Virginia,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 106 (Autumn 1998): 443-81.