My research interests include the history and theory of collecting, material culture studies methodology and historiography, craft and design history, digital oral history, public humanities, and vernacular photography. My forthcoming book is Material Politics: Francis P. Garvan, American Antiques, and the Alchemy of Collecting in the Interwar United States, for the series Public History in Historical Perspective from the University of Massachusetts Press. Rather than offer a conventional biography, I show how this outspoken ideologue’s political and business dealings informed his collecting practices and unpack the hefty symbolic freight that he believed American antiques carried in service of what was, by the 1930s, an ambitious project of cultural and economic nationalism. By doing so, I elucidate how objects perform a material politics; that is, enact political agendas and operate as an important form of cultural power. I am also the author of “Collecting as Historical Practice and the Conundrum of the Unmoored Object” in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of History and Material Culture, edited by Ivan Gaskell and Sarah Anne Carter. Currently I am co-editing Paul Hollister: Collected Writings on Studio Glass, with Irene Hollister. This volume brings together important published work by this noted critic and historian of the studio glass movement, accompanied by essays on his significance to the field and an annotated bibliography. I direct the Bard Graduate Center Craft and Design Oral History Project, a digital archive of interviews with contemporary craftspeople and designers conducted by graduate students in the seminar 693. Craft and Design in the U.S.A., 1945-present. In collaboration with the Chipstone Foundation, I offer the course 912. Curatorial Practice as Experiment, which gives students the opportunity to explore innovative curation and create their own exhibition.

Selected Recent Publications

Co-author, with Pat Kirkham and Amy F. Ogata, “Europe and North America 1900-1945,” and co-author, with Pat Kirkham, Christian A. Larsen, Sarah A. Litchtman, and Tom Tredway, “Europe and North America 1945-2000.” In History of Design, Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000, edited by Pat Kirkham and Susan Weber. Yale University Press, 2013.

“Interpreting Vernacular Photography, Finding ‘Me’: A Case Study.” In Using Visual Evidence, edited by Richard Howells and Robert W. Matson. Open University Press/McGraw Hill, 2009.

“American Decorative Arts Studies at Yale and Winterthur: The Politics of Gender, Gentility, and Academia.” Studies in the Decorative Arts 9, no. 1 (Fall-Winter 2001-2002): 108-44.

From the Collection: The Pickman Family Vues d’Optique.” Winterthur Portfolio 33, no. 1 (1998): 75-88.

“Philadelphia Cabinetmaker Isaac Jones and the Vansyckel Bedchamber Suite.” Nineteenth Century 18, no. 2 (1998): 20-24.

Selected Courses

606 The Colonial Revival

622 Issues in Design History and Material Culture Studies

692 American Material Culture Studies: Methods and Models

693 Craft and Design in the USA, 1945 to the Present

754 Film and Design in Hollywood

823 American Consumer Culture

829 Industrial Design in the 20th-Century United States

834 American Collectors and Collections

845 American Craft, Design, and Folk Art in the 1920s and 1930s

877 Picturing Things: Photography as Material Culture

912 Curatorial Practice as Experiment: A Chipstone Foundation-Bard Graduate Center Collaboration