In September 2017, I completed a PhD dissertation titled “The Ghost of the Hong Monopoly: US-China Trade and Diplomacy in the Nineteenth Century.” I argue that the experiences of traders in Chinese ports shaped American “knowledge” about China and the Chinese, resulting in incomplete and inaccurate representations. The influence of commercial traders also guided early diplomatic relations, which focused almost entirely on commerce.
My dissertation utilizes correspondence and journals produced by American merchants, now available at the Massachusetts Historical Society and through the database China, America and the Pacific: Trade and Cultural Exchange. I consulted US consular records and visited the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division. My research also took me to China where I visited the Guangdong Provincial Archives in Guangzhou and the First Historical Archives in Beijing, among others.
In 2009, at the University of British Columbia, I completed an MA thesis in Geography titled, “The Banff-Bow Valley: environmental conflict, wildlife management and movement.” This project studied the contemporary environmental history of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, and you can find it here.