Josh previously taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his Ph.D. He holds a BA in History and Political Science from Marshall University. Josh studies nineteenth-century politics, culture, and political thought in the United States, with particular attention to the interaction of race, gender, and conservatism in antebellum political culture.
He is currently revising a book manuscript on the racial and gender basis of the Democratic party’s political culture in the 1840s and 1850s. “Preserving the White Man’s Republic: The Democratic Party and the Transformation of American Conservatism, 1847-1860” argues that Democrats redefined American conservatism by placing it on a basis of liberal individualism and majoritarian democracy, as they looked to local majorities of white men to uphold racial and gender exclusion on the eve of the Civil War. The injection of grassroots democracy into conservative thought is a legacy that continues to animate American conservatism down to the modern New Right.
Josh’s work investigates the intersection of political thought and cultural constructions of race, gender, sexuality, and the body. His article on ideological constructions of presidential candidate James Buchanan’s masculinity is forthcoming in The Journal of the Civil War Era. He is also developing an article exploring the relationship between abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Democratic white supremacist Stephen A. Douglas—the “Black Douglass and the White Douglas”—to understand the racial basis of democratic participation in the Civil War era.
Josh has shared his work with a variety of academic and governmental audiences both in the United States and abroad. He has presented his research before the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Virginia Forum. Fellowships from the William L. Clements Library, the Virginia Historical Society, the UNC Center for the Study of the American South, and the Institute for Humane Studies have funded his archival research and writing.
Josh is a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher. He teaches early and modern U.S. history, film and history, and classes on American politics and culture. Josh has taught multiple courses in correctional institutions and particularly enjoys working with students on writing.