Josh studies nineteenth-century politics, culture, and political thought in the United States. His research focuses on the intersection of political culture with constructions of race, gender, and sexuality. Josh is also an historian of American conservatism. He previously taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his Ph.D. in History.
His first book, Preserving the White Man’s Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism, will be published by University of Virginia Press. In it, he argues that late antebellum 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 is currently working on his second book, “The Black Douglass and the White Douglas: Embodying Race, Manhood, and Democracy in Civil War America.” It examines the long-running feud between Frederick Douglass and Stephen A. Douglas. Each man embodied competing conceptions of race, gender, and democracy. Putting them in dialogue allows for a unique exploration of the gender and racial basis of democratic citizenship in Civil War America.
To critically reassess the legacy of Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian “Democracy” on the occasion of 2017 being the 250th anniversary of Jackson’s birth, Josh is organizing a conference on behalf of the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions. Andrew Jackson at 250: Revisiting Race, Politics, and Culture in the Age of Jacksonian “Democracy” will be held at Yale, Dec. 1-2, 2017. The conference will bring together historians and political scientists for two days of panels on topics including legal culture, slavery and antislavery, political thought, white supremacy, and political economy in the “Age of Jackson.”
Josh is also guest editor of the Fall 2017 special issue of the Tennessee Historical Quarterly dedicated to reassessing Jackson’s populist legacy.
- Preserving the White Man’s Republic: Jacksonian Democracy, Race, and the Transformation of American Conservatism. To be published by UVA Press.
- “A Manly Doughface: James Buchanan and the Sectional Politics of Gender.” The Journal of the Civil War Era. Forthcoming.
- “From the Money Power to the Antislavery Power: Jacksonian Democracy and White Supremacy after Jackson.” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 76, no. 3 (Fall 2017). Special issue on Andrew Jackson’s 250th.
- “Interracial Sex and American Conservatism, from the Civil War Era to the Age of Trump.” Muster Blog, The Journal of the Civil War Era. Sept. 13, 2016.
Josh teaches U.S. history, film and history, and classes on American politics and culture. He has taught in correctional institutions and particularly enjoys working with students on writing.
Josh teaches the following courses:
· US History to 1865
· US History since 1865
· US History through Film
· Popular Politics in the 19th-Century US
· The Long History of American Conservatism
· Race, Gender, and Jacksonian Democracy
Watch Josh’s interview on Yale’s The MacMillan Report.
Listen to Josh’s interview on the Slavery and Its Legacies podcast, produced by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition.