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David Strickler

Graduate Student


Dave Strickler is a third-year PhD student whose work focuses on place-making and power in American environmental history during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His current research considers how state-building initiatives of conservation, industrial agriculture, and city planning have unevenly and often violently transformed human relationships with their ecologies. Drawing from the methods of Black geographies and Native American and Indigenous Studies, Dave seeks to trace the way contested senses of place and belonging have contributed to the construction and policing of domestic space at the scales of body, household, neighborhood, and home-land.

Dave’s previous research examined the place of missionary schools and Christian abolitionism in the formation of labor, race, gender, and sexuality in the Reconstruction South and their connection to transnational projects of imperialism and settler colonialism. With experience as a middle and high school history teacher and as an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), he aims to confront the harmful legacies of educational and religious institutions while also cultivating their potential for organizing grassroots movements of liberation.

Research Interests

Environmental History, Colonialism, Empire, Race, Religion


B.A., Theology & Early Christianity, Wheaton College (2011 magna cum laude)

M.Div., Duke University (2014 summa cum laude)

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