I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research has focused on understanding 19th- and 20th-century life in the United States and Caribbean, combining documentary and material sources of evidence to understand the recent past. Through a focus on household archaeology, my work has focused upon two principal themes: how expressions of social difference - gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sex, socioeconomics and politics - can be understood through the materiality of everyday life; and how a sense of material heritage has shaped human life in the recent past, and continues to do so today.
My work has always been closely engaged with stakeholder communities. I have long been concerned about how to make archaeological knowledge accessible and widely available to a range of interdisciplinary and public audiences. I have worked closely with community heritage groups in Louisiana, California, Alabama and the Bahamas, collaborating with descendent groups, local museums and state agencies.
My current research (with Dr Dan Hicks, Oxford University explores the history of the modern preservation movements in New York City and London. This research aims to rewrite traditional narratives of historical preservation, acknowledging the significance of the past to the practice of modern urbanism in the 20th century, using methods from historical archaeology and anthropological material culture studies to contribute to current debates over the material remains of the modern city.
2010. The Lost Boys of Zeta Psi: A Historical Archaeology of Masculinity in a University Fraternity. University of California Press, Berkeley.
2005. Sampling Many Pots: A Historical Archaeology of a Multi-Ethnic Bahamian Community. University Press of Florida. [With Paul Farnsworth]
2003. The Archaeology of Mothering: An African-American Midwife’s Tale. Routledge, New York. Awarded 2005 James Deetz Book Prize by the Society for Historical Archaeology.
2000. Creating Freedom: Material Culture and African-American Identity at Oakley Plantation, Louisiana, 1845-1950. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge. Awarded 2002 James Mooney Book Prize for by the Southern Anthropological Association.