Speaking

I’ve been invited to discuss my research at Yale, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins, and at the American Philosophical Society, German Historical Institute, and Museum of Chinese in America, among others. This page lists my upcoming and past speaking engagements. (You can also follow me on Twitter for periodic updates about future events.)

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“The Forgotten History of the Transcontinental Railroads,” an invited presentation at the Museum of Chinese in America. New York City, October 24, 2019.

If you’re interested in having me speak at your campus, museum, or other institution, please get in touch. I’m also available to comment on other scholarly work at workshops and symposia, and I’m always interested in collaborating with other scholars on panel proposals for future conferences.

Upcoming events.

I’ll present an invited lecture, “Pacific Dreams: Puget Sound, the Northwest Passage, and the Transcontinental Railroads” to the Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, via Zoom, on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

I’ll participate in the “Digital Coasts” roundtable, part of the “Coastal Connections” seminar series, hosted by the Institute for Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, via Zoom on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

I’ll present a paper, “Pacific Points: Steam Sovereignty and U.S. Territorial Expansion by Land and Sea,” as part of the panel “Commercial Diplomacy, Railroad Expansion, and International Activism Across the Nineteenth-and-Twentieth-Century Pacific World” at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations 2021 annual meeting, via Zoom, in June 2021.

I’ll present a paper, “Routes to the Pacific: Terraqueous Mobility, Geographic Imagination, and American Westward Expansion, 1776–1846,” as part of the panel “Geography Lessons: Spatial Thinking Beyond the Map” at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic 2021 annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, via Zoom, in July 2021. [This paper was first accepted for SHEAR’s 2020 annual meeting, which was rescheduled to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.]

I’ll present a paper, “Steam Technology, Native Labor, and Maritime Mobility in the Pacific Northwest, 1846–1860,” as part of the panel “Technology Transfers in the Early American West” at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic 2021 annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, via Zoom, in July 2021.

I’ll present a paper, “Whistling in the Dark: Steamboat Pilots and Navigational Labor in Puget Sound, 1870–1920,” as part of a panel I organized, “Coastal Connections: Environmental Knowledge, Circulation, and Power in the Northwest Coast and Northeastern Pacific Ocean,” at the Western History Association 2021 annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, in October 2021.


Past events.

Invited talks

  • “They Came on Waves of Ink: Digitally Mapping Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade Networks During American Settlement, 1851–1861,” at the Digital History Workshop, co-sponsored by the Modern America Workshop, hosted by the Department of History, Johns Hopkins University, over Zoom, on March 26, 2021.
  • The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Ocean: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility, 1869–1914,” at the Dina G. Malgeri Modern American Society and Culture Seminarhosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, over Zoom, on February 23, 2021.
  • Class visit: I discussed my Western Historical Quarterly article, “‘An Outlet to the Western Sea’: Puget Sound, Terraqueous Mobility, and Northern Pacific Railroad’s Pursuit of Trade with Asia, 1864–1892,” with James Gerien-Chen’s “Pacific Empires and Migrations” senior history seminar at the University of Florida, over Zoom on February 10, 2021.
  • “Settler Steamboats: Mobility, Settler Colonialism, and Steam Power in the Terraqueous Pacific Northwest, 1846–1872,” at the History of Ocean Science, Technology and Medicine working group, a part of the Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, over Zoom on September 15, 2020.
  • “They Came on Waves of Ink: Digitally Mapping Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade Networks During American Settlement, 1851–1861,” at the American Philosophical Society, over Zoom on May 19, 2020.
  • “The Forgotten History of the Transcontinental Railroads,” at the Museum of Chinese in America, New York City, N.Y., October 24, 2019.
  • The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Ocean: A Reassessment, at the Yale Westerners’ Lunch, hosted by the Department of History and the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borderlands, Yale University, March 27, 2019.

Conference activity

Conferences organized

Conference roundtables

Conference papers presented

Campus workshops and comments

Workshop papers presented

  • “Digitally Mapping Commercial Currents: Narrating a U.S. Customs Logbook with Digital Humanities Tools,” as part of the U.S.C. Center for Law, History and Culture workshop series, hosted by the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California, via Zoom, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
  • A draft chapter from my in-progress book manuscript at the History Workshop, hosted by the Department of History at the University of Southern California, via Zoom, on Monday, February 22, 2021.
  • “The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Worlds: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility,” at the Long Nineteenth Century Workshop, hosted by the Humanities Council, Princeton University. [Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.]
  • “Settler Steamboats: Mobility, Settler Colonialism, and Steam Power in the Terraqueous Pacific Northwest, 1846–1872,” at the Colonialism and Imperialism Workshop, hosted by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University, February 12, 2020.
  • “The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific World: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility,” Princeton American Studies Graduate Salon, May 13, 2019.
  • “Using Digital Mapping to Illuminate Non-Narrative Sources,” Data Conversations in History, organized by the Center for Digital Humanities and hosted by the Department of History, Princeton University, April 11, 2019.
  • “Water Lines: Marine Borders, Maritime Trade, and Steamboat Sovereignty in the Terraqueous Pacific Northwest, 1846–1872,” Long Nineteenth Century Workshop, the Humanities Council, Princeton University, December 12, 2018.
  • “Borders and the Wet West: Indigenous Treaties, Marine Boundaries, and Annexation Schemes in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Pacific Northwest,” Colonialism and Imperialism Workshop, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (P.I.I.R.S.), Princeton University, April 5, 2018.
  • “Harbors and the Wet West: The Northwest Passage, Commercial Expansionism, and Maritime Trade in the Nineteenth-Century Pacific Northwest,” Modern America Workshop (M.A.W.), Department of History, Princeton University, November 9, 2017.
  • “A Watery Critique of Settler Colonialism,” Colonialism and Imperialism Workshop, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (P.I.I.R.S.), Princeton University, May 3, 2017.
  • “Waterlocked: Connection, Distance, and Isolation in the New Northwest,” Modern America Workshop (M.A.W.), Department of History, Princeton University, March 6, 2017.
  • “Changes on the Waters: Indigenous and Settler Place-Making on the Salish Sea,” Works-in-Progress Session, Princeton–Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, School of Architecture, Princeton University, July 9, 2015.
  • “‘Whether They Are To Be Exterminated’: Native Americans, Military Science, and Ambivalence on the Pacific Railroad Surveys, 1853–1855,” Colonialism and Imperialism Workshop, P.I.I.R.S., Princeton University, March 11, 2015.

Comments delivered

  • For Sarah Hunt, “Plural Legal Geographies of the B.C. Coast: Struggles over Water, Fish and Jurisdiction,” at “Contested Lands: Territory, Resources, and Identity in Contemporary Canada” (symposium), Princeton–Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities, Princeton University, September 30, 2017.
  • For Michael Rawson, “The Nature of Tomorrow: A History of the Environmental Future,” Modern America Workshop, Dept. of History, Princeton Univ., April 27, 2017.

Other events