My first book, Suspect Relations: Sex, Race, and Resistance in Colonial North Carolina (Cornell, 2002), explores the dynamics of racism in the 18th century. It focuses on the interactions of ordinary people in a slave society, and on the way their intimate relationships (and the treatment of these in court) made racial difference seem increasingly real. My current research is about freethought in the early Republic. I am writing a book about Elihu Palmer and other advocates of some of the most radical ideas of the age. (For a sampling of this, see the Spring 2015 issue of common-place.org) My research and teaching also include much 20th-century history, with a focus on the "culture wars" over religion and politics. I am also interested in memoir as a lens into the past. In April 2011, I was honored to receive the Horace T. Morse - University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. In 2011/12, I was a Fulbright scholar at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, University of Heidelberg, Germany.