About Brian

I am a scholar in residence at the Partnership for Effective Public Administration and Leadership Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and an instructor at Penn. I also conduct the research for the Slate podcast Whistlestop, and serve as one of the two Editors-In-Chief of Made By History, a Washington Post history section. I work at the intersection of 4 disciplines— history, political science, media studies, and communications. My scholarly interests include Congress, the media, public policy, and the Supreme Court. I also have significant interests in the substance of public policy and in helping scholars to reach a wider audience with their work. I am a passionate and devoted teacher with substantial teaching experience across multiple disciplines. I love to experiment in the classroom with innovative methods and course elements.

I wrote a doctoral dissertation entitled, Mount Rushmore: The Rise of Talk Radio and Its Impact on Politics and Public Policy, as well as the new book “Talk Radio’s America: How an Industry Took Over a Political Party That Took Over the United States.”

I have authored pieces for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, CNN.comPolitico, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, The Daily Beast and Time Magazine's history blog, and contributed insight to pieces for other media outlets including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. I have also appeared on dozens of radio and television programs and podcasts, including the Michael Smerconish Program, NPR’s 1A, The Lars Larson Show, The Joe Madison Show, and NPR's Here and Now. 

I have been fascinated with politics and the media for as long as I can remember (I recall being confused when my preferred candidate lost the mock presidential election in kindergarten). I loved to read behind the scenes books that detailed the inner-workings of politics during my youth. In college and graduate school I have channeled this passion into study of politics over the last half century. 


I am also passionate about exploring ideas and trying to find creative solutions to society's seemingly intractable problems. I love debating public policy, and teaching about it and the policymaking process.

I received a PhD and a MA in history from the University of Virginia and a BA in political science (with honors) and history from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Outside of work, my passions include sports, especially Philadelphia sports, food and cooking, reading fiction, dogs, technology, furniture, contemporary art, and Philadelphia. 

For more information, please refer to my CV.