My research focuses on the history of health care and hospitals in the post-World War II United States, civil rights, labor history, urban politics, social movements, African American history, and comparative ethnic studies.
My current research focuses on the history of health care, hospital-based medicine, and health care delivery in the post-World War II United States. Grounded in a multi-year oral history project on Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia, my research examines health care policy, business models and the economics of health care, the relationship between the medical staff and hospital administration, the history of not-for-profit hospitals, and intersections between hospital-based medical care, primary care, and public health.
My book manuscript, Centering the Left: Civil Rights, Labor, and Progressive Politics, helps to explain how progressive politics became a defining characteristic of Northern California life by documenting the history of left-labor-civil rights coalition building in the San Francisco Bay Area from the 1930s to the 1970s. The San Francisco Bay Area’s progressive politics and culture are rooted in left-labor-civil rights coalitions, which began to emerge in the 1930s and solidified during World War II. The book examines how the left shifted to the center and became part of the political mainstream. The left-labor-civil rights alliances in the Bay Area survived the McCarthy era and reentered electoral politics during the Vietnam War. Thus, the region’s liberal politics involve far more than ideological beliefs and they are grounded in social movements growing out of progressive coalitions from the 1940s. This book helps to illuminate how electoral strategies that drew on left-labor-civil rights alliances became a key component for progressive, center-left politics that are now defining features of Northern California politics and culture.
I am writing an article that examines memory, narrative, and the importance of stories about the California Labor School; it is tentatively titled, “‘The Impact is Lifetime. I Love it, too.’: Memory, Narrative, and the Lasting Influence of the California Labor School.” Through close reading of oral history interviews, I analyze the lasting influence of the California Labor School on people’s lives, politics, activism, and memories. In the midst of World War II, a period of change and experimentation, leftists, progressive leaders, and unions opened the California Labor School (CLS) to solidify alliances, serve local unions and their members, and support their movements and ideals. The CLS was vital in shaping progressive activism during World War II and in the years immediately following the war, and it helped shift left-leaning politics to the center of the Bay Area’s political mainstream. It is evident in the interviews that people’s experiences with and memories of the California Labor School hold significant meaning for the narrators.