I'm a PhD candidate in the History Department at Duke University, where I work on Latin American cultural and intellectual history. My research interests include the history of philanthropy, medicine, science, technology, and global health.
My dissertation, titled "Brazo-a-Brazo: Humanitarian Medicine and the Preservation of Empire, 1767-1841" traces the development of humanitarianism within the Spanish Atlantic World. My research examines how responses to epidemic disease, between Spain, Cuba, and Mexico, shaped scientific and religious debate about health and aid and informed the practice of medicine and charity through the late colonial and early republican periods. Medical interventions have often been interpreted as a form of social discipline, however, this framework tends to ignore the beliefs about care and religiosity that sustained humanitarian intervention in colonial Latin America. I argue instead for a reanalysis that asks how the Catholic traditions of aid and salvation that physicians and reformers drew upon in their work shaped the moral economy of medicine during this time. By examining claims to humanitarianism through this lens, my research addresses how contagion and immunity were variously imagined and ultimately informed public health practices in the Spanish Atlantic.
Before graduate school, I worked as a curatorial assistant and archaeologist at the Kingsley Plantation, the home of Zephaniah Kingsley and his wife, Anna Madgigine Jai, a Senegalese woman who was purchased by Kingsley as a slave and freed in 1811. The work I focus on now—tracing ideas and connections across the Spanish Atlantic—is yet animated by my anthropological training and my curiosity about the outer spaces of empire.
I am a member of the Duke Digital History Working Group and a co-founder of Duke HAW (Historians are Writers), a group committed to thinking deeply about creative writing in the world of academia and beyond.
My current scholarly projects also include an upcoming exhibit at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library on the Enlightenment in Latin America: the Legacy of John Tate Lanning.