Teaching Kentucky History

240FlyerI’m excited to teach Kentucky History this summer at UK. It’s always energizing to work with undergraduates. It challenges you to clearly convey the importance of the material in a way that writing for other academics often doesn’t. Students might not realize it, but teaching helps me as much as it helps them.

I have a fun syllabus planned, though some writing is required, of course. The summer course will even include local field trips, roleplaying activities designed by my colleagues at KHS and work with primary documents.

See HIS 240: History of Kentucky for more details.

ASEH 2016

I’m excited to be traveling to Seattle for the annual meeting of American Society of Environmental Historians. The panels look highly interesting, though I’m unsure how I’ll attend 3 simultaneously.

My poster on the agricultural landscape of Fayette County, Kentucky and the Purchase of Development Rights program that aims to limit urban sprawl will be on display in the Grand Foyer all weekend. I’ll be around to discuss during the poster session on Saturday morning, but leave me feedback on here or via Twitter if I’m not there when you check it out. I’m posting it below for those who are missing the weekend’s fun.


Special thanks to the Kentucky Historical Society: a) for their flexibility regarding my hours and b) for the scholarly fellowship last summer during which I found the Ronald Morgan postcard collection that I’ve used here.

Atlantic Environments and the American South


The Atlantic Environments and the American South conference held at Rice exceeded the high expectations I had after seeing the program. There wasn’t a dull panel, our hosts were delightful, but I must admit the fantastic keynotes by Drs. Jeffery Bolster and Paul Sutter stood out.

My own contribution, modest in comparison, was on a panel tasked with “Expanding the Atlantic” and I gave a talk entitled “Clothing King Cotton: Kentucky Hemp in the Atlantic World.” The word cloud below gives a fair idea of the themes.

ClothingKingCotton Word Cloud (detailed)

Dogs of War Podcast with Long Story Short

I had a great time chatting with Dara and Cody of the Long Story Short Podcast about the many roles played by dogs on the Kentucky frontier.

Check out the rest of their great episodes at the Long Story Short Podcast


Long Hunters like Daniel Boone judged a dog to be an essential companion, along with a gun and a horse, when exploring the Bluegrass.

I love imagining my mutts playing the part of frontier dogs, but doubt they’d really have enjoyed it much.


New Paths Conference

The conference on new directions in North American and Ohio Valley environmental history proved quite stimulating. A number of leading scholars asked interesting and thought provoking questions and the geographic focus illuminated connections between seemingly disparate topics. All in all, a fantastic weekend.

Below is a word cloud of my paper “Hand Brakes and Ropewalks: Technology of Hemp Culture in Kentucky 1792-1860.”Hand Brakes and Ropewalks wordle2

Agricultural History Society Conference

Stoked for the Agricultural History Society Conference kicking off this evening in Lexington. Lots of interesting panels and a fascinating keynote on the cultural ecology of bourbon production during the nineteenth century given by Dr. Karl Raitz.

I’ll be presenting a paper titled “Dogs on the Frontier: Human-Canine Relationships in Central Kentucky, 1770-1792” on Friday morning. See the word cloud below for a preview:

Word cloud of "Dogs on the Frontier: Human-Canine Relationships in Central Kentucky, 1770-1792"

Word cloud of “Dogs on the Frontier: Human-Canine Relationships in Central Kentucky, 1770-1792”

New Paths Conference

I’m excited to be participating in the “New Paths in Environmental History of North America and the Ohio Valley” conference hosted by the Filson Historical Society and the University of Louisville this October. I’ll be part of a panel focused on technology, presenting a paper titled “‘Cotton Bagging and Bale Rope’: Technology of Hemp Culture in Early Statehood Kentucky.”