My evolving research interests currently lie at the intersection of political economy, urban governance, and social justice.
My research engages the interfaces between hegemonic and clandestine spatial-planning practice, and particularly how historically unequal and traumatic urbanization processes affect contemporary equitable development goals and outcomes. My dissertation research will consider specific tactics of bottom-up accommodation, negotiation, and resistance to apartheid-era spatial planning practice in former South African bantustan capital cities, and how such varied resistances produced, fomented, or otherwise reworked residents’ ethnic identities and conceptions of place. More broadly, I seek to ask: What impacts do different spatial-planning approaches have on participatory democracy, economic and political inequality, and the provision of goods and services? To answer such questions, I seek to examine planning processes, planning outcomes, and subjectivities in different city contexts, drawing on qualitative methods, archival research, interview-based case studies, and ethnographic approaches.
Related research interests include: urban and planning theory; planning history; political economy and world systems; urban governance, governmentality, and democracy; African urbanism, with a focus on history and politics in South Africa; local government law and planning law; spatial politics and equitable development; participatory methods, oral history, and social justice.
Relevant coursework and skills include, but are not limited to: two Columbia Spanish courses and a four-week Spanish immersive course in Antigua, Guatemala through Máximo Nivel; Geographical Information Systems (GIS); quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic methods; research design; urban history; and urban theory.
Geographically, I am very interested in South Africa, the United States, and Mexico. My research examines 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 in these three countries.