I research the social and cultural history of Britain, Ireland, and the British Empire in the late 19th and 20th centuries. At the broadest level, I'm interested in the tension between historically contingent categories (from the national to the personal) and the ways that individual people and communities remake their own worlds through activism, art, and experiments in living that cross and re-cross the boundaries of those categories. I've written about Irishness in the aftermath of the Irish Revolution, the nature of historical queerness and transness, and the international circulation of ideas about economic co-operation.
I'm currently working on an intellectual history of kinship. This project asks how the category of kinship came into being in the 19th century, how it came to be a central term in debates about colonial difference, transatlantic slavery, and queer theory, and how it came to be understood as a means of creativity, a way of claiming social legitimacy and expanding possible ways to live.