I am a historian interested in the intersection of race, capitalism, and popular culture. I grew up in Santa Cruz, California, received my BA in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and my PhD in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a recipient of the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity.
My book project, The Industry is Playing the People Cheap: Race and the Country Music Business From Nixon to 9/11, reframes the country music genre as the product of Black and Brown artists and listeners, and reveals how the music industry disregarded the music’s multiracial and multiethnic roots and embraced a politics of white conservatism. I argue that while Black and Brown artists resisted the industry’s exclusionary marketing practices and suggested country music had the potential to become a symbol of inclusivity, the music business instead found it more financially valuable to cling to the optics of whiteness. During the late twentieth century, I reveal how the music industry branded country as the sound of wholesome, family-friendly white conservatism.
My writing has appeared in California History, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, NPR, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. I am a former postdoctoral fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race & Difference at Emory University, Diversity Dissertation Fellow at Middle Tennessee State University, and Doris G. Quinn Foundation Fellow.