I began my career at sea in the U.S. Coast Guard. After completing my tour, I sailed as A.B. Seaman in tankers, container ships, breakbulk vessels, and offshore tugboats. I served with the San Francisco Bar Pilots from 1991-2000, where I became captain of the offshore pilot vessel California.
As a student at Berkeley and Cornell my research in British Romantic Literature and Critical Theory was generously supported by fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since arriving at Cal Maritime in 2013, my colleagues among the faculty recognized me with the Outstanding Teaching award in 2015, and a CSU "Educational Experience Enhancement" award with course release for providing exceptional service to the students. In 2017, I was honored with the President's Cabinet award, and in 2018 the faculty again recognized my work by selecting me for the award for Outstanding Service.
My current research explores the dense social and material infrastructure of marine transportation since the mid-eighteenth century and the changing ideal of "autonomy," that tradition — and literature— celebrates as a central trope of maritime culture. I am interested in how the concept and meaning of autonomy has developed along with marine transportation, and what it means for the 21st century.
My upper division literature and culture classes (Literature of the Sea; Globalization of Culture; Maritime Culture) are informed by these and related questions, and I encourage my students to become colleagues and join me in pursuing these issues in shared research projects. My lower-division courses (Intro to Literature; English Composition) are designed to help students get "up to speed" and build the skills necessary to advance their own academic and professional careers at Cal Maritime and beyond.
I am an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute as well as Honorary Secretary of the West Coast US branch. I currently serve as Faculty Advisor to the Cal Maritime NI Club, NI@CMA. I have previously served as Executive Secretary of the Melville Society.
I hold a license as Master, Steam or Motor Vessels of 200 tons (US) and Mate 1600 tons (US) and I'm a full book member of the Sailors' Union of the Pacific.
I'm always happy to answer questions about my courses or my work, or our programs at Cal Maritime. Please see contact information at right, or drop by my office.
Paths That Shine: Nantucket and the Essex, with Nathaniel Philbrick, Tristram Coffin Dammin, Colin Dewey, Peggy Goodwin. Directed by Ben Cortes, Director of Photography Derek Knowles. Courtyard Films, 2015.