Matt is in the third year of research for his project, which investigates ideas about the natural world in the mid-nineteenth-century United States by studying how these attitudes intersected with political debates, especially regarding race, slavery, and regional and national identities. He is particularly interested in the interplay between a strong sense of confidence about a technologically driven ability to transcend natural obstacles and an enduring, powerful commitment to environmental determinism.
Supervisor: Adam Smith
Working title: 'The Environmental Imagination and Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Politics'
Expected completion date: 2018
Conference papers and presentations
- 'The Environmental Imagination and the Post-Emancipation "Destiny" of African-Americans', British American Nineteenth Century Historians Annual Conference, Warwick University, October 2017
- 'The Natural Limits of Slavery Reconsidered: The Environment and American Politics, 1846-1850', UCL Institute of Americas Conference, UCL, April 2016
- 'British Antislavery in the American Civil War: A Triumph of Transatlantic Collaboration', British Association of American Studies Postgraduate Conference, University of Glsagow, December 2015
Media appearances and outreach work
- Co-creator and editor of The Young Americanists blog with fellow UCL American History PhD students
- Appeared on the American History Too podcast discussing trans-Atlantic anti-slavery, September 2016
Teaching 2018-19 (postgraduate teaching assistant)
- Writing History
- Building the American Nation: The United States 1789-1920