About Me

I’m the author of “What We Mean by the American Dream: Stories We Tell about Meritocracy,” which is about the ways Americans explain how people get to where they are in life, what effort, talent, structures, luck etc. have to do with it, and what we say we earn or deserve.

I also teach in the Media and Communication Studies department at Ursinus College in Collegeville, PA, and I’m a fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, working on a project about conservative perceptions of mainstream news.

Before becoming a pointy-headed academic, I was a journalist with the Philadelphia City Paper and the Philadelphia Daily News, and I wrote a bunch of book reviews for the Washington Monthly.

I live in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia with my wife, Chelsea, and our kids Sam, Leo, and Hana. In fall and winter, I run a kids’ basketball clinic at the Germantown Life Enrichment Center.