About Me

I was born in Harlan County, KY, on March 21, 1968. My parents taught history and English; both maternal and paternal grandparents kept bees on their properties in eastern KY. All of these interests coalesce in my research and vision for a world in which there is, to quote J.R.R. Tolkien, "hope without guarantees."

When I was ten, my parents moved to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.  The stark Badlands and their nuanced shadows continue to serve as my aesthetic ideal when writing.

I received a B.A. from Berea College, an M.A. from Ft. Hays State, and finished a Ph.D. in Modernism at the University of Alabama in 1997.  This was the same year that my grandfather introduced me to his bees.  The real education began.

For three years, I taught at the University of West Alabama, returning to KY to help my grandfather with his bees.  In 2000, I stayed in KY to teach at Eastern Kentucky University and in 2002, transferred to teach at Berea College.

In 2005, Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped A Nation was published by the University Press of Kentucky.  In 2006, I was named the NEH Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College.  My research from that year has resulted in a pilot project focusing on the relationship between coal mine reclamation sites and honey bees.



The following agencies have provided support for the mission of Coal Country Beeworks, i.e., landscape diversity is the key to economic diversity.