My evolving research interests currently lie at the intersection of political economy, urban governance, and social justice.
My research interests centrally engage public-private arrangements and multi-sector urban-governance models (including public-private partnerships, collaboration with regional development or planning associations, and formative ties with civic-engagement nonprofits) that may bring more stakeholders “to the table” of democratic decision making, yet also render decision making more complex and opaque. What impacts do different urban-governance approaches have on participatory democracy, economic and political inequality, and the provision of goods and services? To answer such questions, I seek to pair multi-city comparative investigations on urban-governance structures and life outcomes with qualitative, interview-based case studies and ethnographies.
Geographically, I am very interested in South Africa and the U.S.-Mexico border region. I plan to examine world-historical and political-economy dimensions of urbanization in specific geographies created by the apartheid South African government: the peri-urban township, the Bantustan, and large-scale agro-industrial farming. I also seek to analyze public-private arrangements, governance, “zones of exception,” and racialized/gendered labor in the comparative contexts of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in former South African Bantustans and Maquiladoras, and the border wall and associated U.S.-Mexico border geographies.