Michael Karp is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. His dissertation project, "Lifting the Redwood Curtain: Work, Violence, and Environment, 1850-1948," centers upon three events: the Indian Island Massacre of 1860, the expulsion of nearly every Chinese resident of Humboldt County between 1885 and 1906, and the shooting of three Eastern Europeans during the failed lumber strike of 1935. By detailing the interconnections between work, Pacific trade, natural and cultural landscapes, and local biographies, his research demonstrates that to understand racial conflicts, we must consider how day-to-day labor and interactions with the natural world shape community life. Arguing that competing visions of labor and land use rest at the heart of each of these events, his dissertation charts how and why Humboldt County contained California's last company-owned town and has become a place plagued by a violent transnational drug economy. He has had the opportunity to share portions of his dissertation research at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the American Society for Environmental History, and the Association of American Geographers. His first peer reviewed publication, "The St. Louis Rent Strike of 1969: Transforming Black Activism and American Low-Income Housing," Journal of Urban History 40, no. 4 (July 2014): 648-670, began as a paper in Dr. Bradley's seminar on Recent African American History.
While at Saint Louis University, Michael has had the fortune to hold research and teaching assistantships in the Department of History. In 2012, the Saint Louis University Graduate School elected him to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & College. During the 2012-2013 school year, he served as president of the American History forum. Most recently, Michael had the honor to win a Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate Office of Education.
Prior to attending Saint Louis University, Michael double majored in History and Religious Studies at Humboldt State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. His senior year, the history department at Humboldt State awarded Michael the Dr. John Hennessey Award for Academic Excellence in History.