My PhD dissertation is focused on the history of law and technology, specifically the impact of technology on privacy law (including concepts like liberty, autonomy, secrecy, confidentiality, and so on).
My teaching is usually related to similar topics (American history, legal history, the history of science, and writing in the context of world history), with an emphasis on encouraging undergraduates to view historical methods, especially the use of evidence and argument, as practical skills to succeed in business and in life.
Outside of academia, I also focus on law and technology in various ways. At TRE Legal, a small firm specializing in disability discrimination law, I work on legal research and writing and provide paralegal support. I also provide law and technology consulting services, including web development, editing, research, and writing, through kNk Advising.
From time to time, I share my more informal research and writing through in propria persona, an online journal focused on the history of law and technology.
Background & Philosophy
After graduating—and after a brief stint at an ill-fated “dot com”—I spent almost ten years as a systems analyst and manager at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Next, seeking to bring my technology and critical-analytic skills together, I earned a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. (But not before spending a challenging semester at Tulane Law and Texas Law just before and after Hurricane Katrina.)
After finishing my JD, I decided that a PhD program in the history of science would be the best way to unify my technical, analytic, and legal training, and that UC San Diego would be the best place to do it.
Much of my work — including research, teaching, and consulting — is intentionally pragmatic. History, for me, is valuable for its own sake—but critically, it is also useful. History provides us with evidence and data for making decisions today. This evidence may well lack the purity of a chemical equation, but it is used everyday in the courtroom, for example, where reaching a fair result is more important than perfect data. Historical evidence can prove similarly useful to a real-world policymaker.
My online journal, in propria persona, attempts to capture this mix of theory and practice: