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 Massachusetts Historical Society, 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 introduce Booksnake, a scholarly app for viewing digitized archival materials in augmented reality, at the first meeting of the U.S.C. Working Group on Scholarly VR, AR, and 3D Modeling, on Friday, October 1, 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.

I’ll participate in a roundtable discussion, “The Promise & Pitfalls of Digital Legal History for Americanists,” at the Organization of American Historians 2022 annual meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, in March–April 2022.

I’ll present a paper, “Whistling in the Dark: Steamboat Pilots and Navigational Labor in Puget Sound, 1870–1920,” at the European Society for Environmental History conference in Bristol, U.K., in July 2022.


Past events.

Invited events

  • Class visit: I discussed my digital humanities project, “They Came on Waves of Ink,” with Kathy Aiken’s history methods seminar, “The Historian’s Craft,” at the University of Idaho, over Zoom on September 16, 2021.
  • Panelist for Digital Coasts, part of the Coastal Connections seminar series, hosted by the Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London, over Zoom, in May 2021. [Audio recording, YouTube link]
  • “Pacific Dreams: Puget Sound, the Northwest Passage, and the Transcontinental Railroads,” hosted by the Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, over Zoom, in April 2021.
  • “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, in March 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, in February 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,” and my DH project, “They Came on Waves of Ink,” with James Gerien-Chen’s “Pacific Empires and Migrations” senior history seminar at the University of Florida, over Zoom in February 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 in September 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, in May 2020.
  • “The Forgotten History of the Transcontinental Railroads,” at the Museum of Chinese in America, New York City, N.Y., in October 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, in March 2019.

Conference activity

Conferences organized

Conference roundtables

Conference papers presented

  • “Introducing Booksnake: An Augmented Reality Viewer for Digitized Archival Materials,” presented with my colleagues Christy Ye and Curtis Fletcher at the Association for Computers and the Humanities 2021 annual meeting (online) in July 2021.
  • “Routes to the Pacific: Terraqueous Mobility, Geographic Imagination, and American Westward Expansion, 1763–1805,” 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 July 2021. [This paper was first accepted for SHEAR’s 2020 annual meeting, which was rescheduled to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.]
  • “Steam Technology, Native Labor, and Maritime Mobility in the Pacific Northwest, 1846–1873,” 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 July 2021.
  • “Whistling in the Dark: Steamboat Pilots and Navigational Labor in the Pacific Northwest, 1870–1920,” at the North American Society for Oceanic History 2021 annual meeting in Pensacola, Florida, via Zoom, in July 2021.
  • “Introducing Booksnake: An Augmented Reality Viewer for IIIF-Compliant Materials,” presented with my colleagues Christy Ye and Samir Ghosh at the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) annual meeting in June 2021. [YouTube link]
  • “The Pacific Railroads and Pacific Worlds: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility, 1840–1914” 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 in June 2021.
  • “Settler Steamboats: Mobility, Settler Colonialism, and Steam Power in the Terraqueous Pacific Northwest, 1846–1872,” at the virtual Western History Association 2020 annual meeting in October 2020, as part of a conference panel, “Mobility, Settler Colonialism, and Place in the North American West,” that I organized.
  • “The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific Worlds: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility,” 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 2020 annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, in June 2020. [Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.]
  • “Whistling in the Dark: Steamboat Pilots and Navigational Labor in the Pacific Northwest, 1870–1920,” as part of the panel “Wayfinding: Mobility, Mediating Technologies, and Landscapes in Environmental History” at the American Society for Environmental History 2020 annual conference in Ottawa, Canada, in March 2020. [Canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.]
  • “The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific World: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility,” at the American Historical Association 2020 annual conference, in New York City, N.Y., on January 4, 2020, as part of a conference panel, “Imperial Ties: The U.S. Transcontinental Railroads in Global and Indigenous Contexts,” that I organized.
  • “The Pacific Railroads and the Pacific World: American Expansion, Asian Trade, and Terraqueous Mobility,” at the Western History Association 2019 annual conference, Las Vegas, Nev., October 18, 2019, as part of a conference panel, “Western Waterfronts: The Pacific Coast and the North American West,” that I co-organized with Madison Heslop.
  • “Digital Visualizations of Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade Networks During American Settlement, 1851–61,” as part of “Six Shooters: A Digital Frontiers Lightning Round” at the Western History Association 2019 annual conference, Las Vegas, Nev., October 17, 2019.
  • “Routes to the Pacific: Maps, Terraqueous Mobility, and American Westward Expansion, 1776–1846,” at “The Power of Maps and the Politics of Borders,” a conference hosted by the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pa., October 12, 2019. (YouTube link.)
  • “Stories in a Muddy Ledger: Narrating a Non-Narrative Source with Digital Humanities Tools” (invited paper), “Digital Hermeneutics: From Research to Dissemination” conference, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C., October 11, 2019.
  • “Mapping Pacific Northwest Maritime Trade Networks During American Settlement, 1851–61,” North American Society for Oceanic History 2019 annual conference [schedule], New Bedford, Mass., May 16, 2019.
  • “Water Lines: Maritime Mobility and Marine Borders in the Pacific Northwest,” Western History Association 2018 annual conference, San Antonio, Tex., October 19, 2018. [Conference schedule: PDF, Issuu]
  • “Enclosing the Water: Houseboats, Law, and Property in Puget Sound,” at “Life and Law in Rural America,” American Studies Graduate Student Conference, Princeton University, March 26, 2016.
  • “Saltwater Settlement: Water, Sovereignty, and Settler Colonialism,” Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies (N.C.A.I.S.) Graduate Student Conference, Newberry Library, Chicago, Ill., August 7, 2015.
  • “‘The Only Chinese Aviator in the World’: Tom Gunn, Race, and Aviation in the U.S. and China, 1912–1925,” James A. Barnes Club Graduate Student Conference, Department of History, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., March 28, 2015.
  • “‘Chinese Birdmen’: Aviation and Race in the Transnational American West, 1895–1919,” at “Race, Ethnicity, and Migration: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference,” Center for the Study of Ethnicity & Race and Departments of History and Sociology, Columbia University, New York City, N.Y., February 26, 2015.

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