WHO I AM
I'm a journalist, lawyer, historian, and competitive powerlifter. I was born in Southwestern Pennsylvania, where I grew up on a farm a few miles from the West Virginia border. I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Johnston-Pogue Scholarship, was a Monsanto Scholar at the Valparaiso School of Law, and held an Andrew Mellon Fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. Like former Rangers outfielder Kevin Mench, I wear a size 8 baseball cap. I returned to my home state in May 2016 and currently reside in Pittsburgh's Highland Park neighborhood.
I've produced smart and engaging content for a wide range of publications, including VICE, Al-Jazeera, Salon, Pacific Standard, The New Republic, Vox, The Atlantic, Matter, The Outline, VQR, Teen Vogue, Hazlitt, The Awl, and The Paris Review. I'm represented by William Callahan of Inkwell Literary Management.
I'm developing my dissertation on school finance litigation into a book manuscript. I'm also working on a memoir about my decidedly non-traditional father as well as a cultural studies monograph about the hyper-real male bodies of the 20th century. My theoretical orientation owes much to the work of Althusser, Benjamin, Bourdieu, Sontag, and Deleuze; my approach to primary source analysis is rooted in Pocock and Skinner's Cambridge School contextualism; and my commitment to public engagement represents an attempt to emulate the efforts of scholar-activists such as W.E.B. DuBois, C.L.R. James, E.P. Thompson, and Marcus Rediker. My dissertation advisor was the noted military and legal historian Peter Karsten, who always stressed the value of interdisciplinary research. I've also written a novel, but it exists only in unpublished mansucript form and will likely remain there.
From 2012 to 2016, I was an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, where I taught graduate and undergraduate courses on critical theory, transnational legal history, research methods, American constitutional history, appellate advocacy, and cultural history. My teaching philosophy is modeled on Jacques Rancière's concept of "intellectual emancipation" and was elaborated in an article I wrote for The Atlantic. I approach each class I teach with the firm personal conviction that every student, as a human being endowed with reason and the capacity to analyze information, is equally capable of grasping the subject matter at hand. Most valuable learning interactions occur outside the classroom, in the context of spirited and free-ranging discussions, and I work hard to facilitate such moments.
ADMINISTRATION AND SERVICE
Over the course of my eight years in higher education, I've served on four faculty hiring committees, solicited several sizeable donations from alumni, been a faculty advisor to multiple student organizations, coached Texas-Arlington's moot court appellate advocacy team to a national championship bid, and developed innovative new course offerings to support the college's Pre-Law and Disability Studies minors. I chaired one M.A. thesis committee, on the topic of polygamy regulation in the late 20th century, and participated on over a dozen other Ph.D., Ed.D., and M.A. committees. My photo exhibition "Ringside: Memories of World Class Championship Wrestling" was displayed at the Texas-Arlington Library from August 2015 to January 2016, and has been spotlighted on NPR's All Things Considered.
I've been licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 2007. During this time, I represented clients in landlord-tenant disputes and expungement proceedings, negotiated commercial leases, drafted appellate amicus briefs, and conducted extensive research for other law firms regarding FATCA and FBAR compliance and related tax matters. I also contributed model questions to the 2008 and 2009 editions of the Preliminary Multistate Bar Review, a test review product now owned and published by my former employer Kaplan, Inc. I worked for two years as a clerk in the Lake County (Indiana) Superior Court, in which capacity I drafted several judicial orders radically reinterpreting municipal council voting protocols in that jurisdiction. My recent article for the Duke Law Journal explored the historical origins of the American common-law rule that opposing parties must pay their own costs for litigation. In November 2017, I began serving as general counsel for Payday Report, a union-supported digital newsletter.
PROFESSIONAL EDITING AND GHOSTWRITING SERVICES
To date, I've edited or completely ghostwritten nearly two dozen manuscripts, ranging from executive book summaries and CliffsNotes to full-length dissertations with discipline-appropriate citations. I am well versed in multiple subject areas and have worked with natural scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars, and ESL students to achieve their academic objectives. The fees for such work vary depending on the nature and complexity of the proposed project. I also have considerable experience assisting with college admissions essays and recommendation letters.
I've been involved in bodybuilding, powerlifting, and wrestling since I was 12 years old. Visit my Vimeo to see me in action.
My podcast "Taking on the Takes" explores the business of writing and can be streamed on Soundcloud. New episodes are added each week.
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