My evolving research interests currently lie at the intersection of political economy, urban governance, and social justice.
My research interests centrally engage questions of power, urban-governance, and equitable development outcomes. Specifically, in the United States, Mexico, and South Africa I am interested in 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. I seek to ask: 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 examine urban-governance structures, life outcomes, and subjectivities in different city contexts, drawing on qualitative methods, archival research, interview-based case studies, and ethnographies.
Related research interests include work related to the following thematic areas: political economy and world systems as they relate to processes of urbanization; urban governance, governmentality, and democracy; African urbanism, with a focus on history and politics in South Africa; spatial politics and equitable development; participatory methods, oral history, and social justice.
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.