I’m a part-time photographer, amateur accordionist, and professor of history at Stony Brook University. I study the overlapping historical dimensions of landscape, environment, technology, science, religion, and culture. I have regional expertise in the North American West. My latest book is Trees in Paradise: A California History.
I earned degrees from Utah State University, the University of Montana, and Stanford. I have received fellowships and grants from the Stanford Humanities Center, the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the Tanner Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. See my curriculum vitae.
My book On Zion’s Mount won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians for the best-written non-fiction book on an American theme, a literary award that honors the “union of the historian and the artist.” In 2014 the Dallas Institute awarded me the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, and in 2017 the Carnegie Corporation of New York named me an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.
My next major project (under contract with Basic Books) is a creative non-fiction book. I’m bringing together the history of trees and the science of longevity to contemplate the ethics and politics of long-term thinking in the Anthropocene. The provisional title is Latest Oldest Living Beings.