My research seeks to better understand how social movement participants come to see violence and injustice that dominant perspectives occlude while imagining and enacting radical alternatives. The US-based groups I examine contest a range of issues that are global in reach, from militarism and state retrenchment to ecological crisis and racial violence, and do so in creative and often unlikely ways. My scholarship pays particular attention to the intimate, emotional and embodied dynamics of movement life. Through participant observation, interviews, surveys and archival investigation, I contribute to our understanding of how movement groups enact solidarity across various kinds of social difference and forge cultures of resistance under new global arrangements.

Below you will find a discussion of my different research projects and links to relevant publications:

Solidarity and state violence

My first book Solidarity in Practice: Moral Protest to the US Security State (2018 Cambridge University Press) examines how US- based social movement actors pursue solidarity with the targets of state violence, offering both an empirical basis and theoretical language for understanding solidarity activism under new global arrangements.

My current research continues to explore if those with relative privilege can effectively organize across lines of access and power, asking how white people collectively align themselves with Black-led liberation struggle. I examine how these groups approach building a critical base of anti-racist whites; what the promises and pitfalls of their approaches might be; and what these efforts might tell us about the shifting terrain of struggle for racial justice today.

White people’s activism in US-based social movements for racial justice (2023)

Embodied Vulnerability and Sense-Making with Solidarity Activists (2023)

Eco-artists, urban care practices and the radical imagination

This research identifies practices of solidarity and cultures of resistance within grassroots urban environmental justice efforts. I examine a collective of ecological artists and activists, the Guerrilla Grafters, that engages in clandestine efforts to grow food in the city of San Francisco. I find that this group imaginatively challenges dominant social arrangements governing public space while modeling alternative relationships across social and species divides. The art of care, published as the lead article in CITY (2021), uses the case of the Guerilla Grafters to consider the role of care in oppositional practices under dynamics of neoliberalism and ecological crisis in cities of the Global North. Cities of Fruit, forthcoming in American Quarterly (2021), argues for the importance of the radical imagination in the face of eco-social alienation and shows how arts activism can promote popular education and collective mobilization.

Cities of Fruit: Arts Intervention and the Radical Imagination (2021)

The art of care: urban oppositional practice and the case of the Guerrilla Grafters (2021)

Environmental (in)justice and climate action planning

My earlier research, undertaken with Andy Pattison, dentifies some of the contradictions and unintended consequences of seemingly progressive law and policy. We examine issues of environmental (in)justice in the US through a focus on climate action policies. Findings suggest that policies to curb emissions in US cities and states might actually exacerbate the inequalities of wealth and access that have long plagued low-income communities of color. This research also points to potentially transformative approaches to urban climate change resiliency, building on the visions and practices of environmental justice advocates.