Education: PhD: Stanford University;
MA: University College London; B.A. University of Oxford
I am an historian of modern Eastern Europe, with a research focus on Poland between the two world wars. In my current book project I explore the ways in which Polish national identity was shaped by perceptions of—and encounters with—Poland’s multiethnic eastern borderlands. Drawing on historical geography and environmental history, I show how a range of Polish actors, including border guards, boy and girl scouts, ethnographers, and military settlers, linked the physical spaces of everyday life with imagined hierarchies of civilization between Ukrainians, Jews, Poles, and others. Based on archival research in Poland, Ukraine, the U.S., and the U.K., my work looks beyond official minority policies and toward how the nation was imagined through local experiences of marshlands, village huts, and town streets.
Furthering my work on the links between physical spaces, projected identities, and hierarchies of civilization, I am beginning work on a new transnational history of the relationships between the Polish interwar state, Polish citizens abroad, and members of the Polish diaspora.
My teaching interests include modern Europe and Eastern Europe, Poland, mass violence, nationalism, and ethnic relations. In my classes I like to experiment with innovative assignments, including those that ask students to create and develop fictional historical characters.