- PhD, City + Regional Planning, UC, Berkeley
- MPP, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC, Berkeley
- MA, International + Area Studies, UC, Berkeley
- Economic justice
- Social movements
- The social production of space
- Critical poverty studies
- Anti-racist pedagogy
What theoretical frameworks, policies and practices are best able to transform the enduring inequalities of class, race and gender that characterize today’s divided cities? How can we transform both the political-economic structures and cultural imaginaries that authorize extreme disparities in income, opportunity, life-expectancy and wellbeing? Today, new dynamics mark these old challenges, including the dominance of informal, un-waged work, the reach of extra-legal shadow economies and the rise of new urban centers of gravity across the global south. My research agenda addresses these questions by studying the interrelationships between inequality and urbanization in order to forge pathways toward more just cities.
Currently, I am pursuing two lines of research: 1) geographies of exclusion and the politics of poverty and 2) global urbanisms and uneven development. Both approaches share a commitment to understanding barriers to social and spatial justice. My approach is interdisciplinary, with a commitment to historically-grounded, ethnographic research. Situated at the critical edge of planning theory and praxis, I draw from political economy, feminist geography, critical poverty studies and global urban studies. My current book project Contraband City: The Making of Outlaw Capital from the Brazil-Paraguay Borderlands explores the politics and power of what I call outlaw capital, profits made in black markets, through an ethnography from what one journalist described as the “largest illicit economy in the hemisphere.” I conduct research in Spanish and Guaraní, the mother tongue of most Paraguayans.
As a critical planning scholar, I am inspired by movements for social justice led by front-line communities. In addition to prior work as a community organizer and development practitioner in the US, Paraguay and Peru, I draw from a long history of activism for environmental, economic and racial justice. At UNM, I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community & Regional Planning, serving as affiliated faculty in the Department of Geography and the Latin American & Iberian Institute.
Peer Reviewed Articles
“Informal Work and Sustainable Cities: From Formalization to Reparation,” One Earth, with Manisha Anantharaman, 3(3): 290-299, 2020.
"Outlaw Capital: Accumulation by Transgression on the Paraguay–Brazil Border," Antipode 52 (5), 2020.
Uncertainty and the governance of street vending: A critical comparison across the North/South divide,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 43(3): 460-475, with Ryan Devlin, 2017.
“Affect and the dialectic of uncertainty: Governing a frontier city,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 35(4), 2017.
“City-stories: Narrative as diagnostic and strategic resource in planning practice in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.” Planning Theory, 16(1), 2017. Spanish Translation.
“Reckonings and Encounters: The Work of Ananya Roy,” In C. Mukhopadhyay (Ed.) AESOP Booklet Series B: Exploring the Abstractions within Planning Debate, with Sara Hinkley.
Works in Preparation
“Contraband City: The Making of Outlaw Capital from the Brazil-Paraguay Borderlands, book manuscript solicited by Duke University Press.
“The Emotional Life of Corruption Talk in Bolsonaro’s Brazil,” article solicited for the “Geographies of Entitled Anger” Special Issue under review with the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, with Thainara Granero de Melo.
“Work Outside the Wage,” Introduction to a special issue under review at Antipode, with Aman Luthra and Christian Anderson (co-editors).
“The Spatial Politics of Elite Illegalities in Brazil,” written for Urban Geography with Thainara Granero de Melo.
“Outlaw Capital and Territories of Populism,” GenUrb’s Feminist Explorations of Urban Futures Conference, York University, September 26 – 28, Toronto, 2019.
“Territories of Populism: Dispatches from Latin America,” Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, April 3 – 7, Washington DC, 2019.
“Critical Theory from the South: Provincializing the Urban Revolution,” Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, April 3 – 7, Washington DC, 2019.
“Urbanism and Frontier Economies: New Perspectives on Globalization from Ciudad del Este (Lecture in Spanish: Urbanismo y Economía Fronteriza: Nuevas Perspectivas sobre la Globalización desde Ciudad del Este),” the School of Architecture, Design & Art at the National University of Asunción, June 28, Asunción, Paraguay, 2018.
“The Urban Question in Paraguay (Lecture in Spanish: La Cuestión Urbana en Paraguay),” 11th Conference of Paraguay from the Social Sciences, School of Science, Technology and Art at the National University at Pilar, June 7-9 Pilar, Paraguay, 2018.
“The Right to the City & Urban Ethnography (Lecture in Spanish: El Derecho a la Ciudad y la Etnografía Urbana),” Catholic University, June 16, Asunción, Paraguay, 2018.
“Work Outside the Wage: Seeing Politics and Possibilities with Critical Comparison,” Annual Meeting of the American of Associations of Geographers, April 10-14, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2018.
“Pedagogies of Race & Racialization,” Annual Meeting of the American of Associations of Geographers, April 10-14, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2018
“Engaging Southern Theory: Challenging Hierarchies of Place & Knowledge,” Annual Meeting of the American of Associations of Geographers, April 10-14, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2018.
“Contraband City: Outlaw Capital & Urban Development in the Brazil-Paraguay Borderlands,” UNM Geography Department Colloquium, November 3, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2017.
“Uncertainty & the Management of Street Vending: Ciudad del Este, Paraguay & New York City,” with Ryan Devlin, Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, October 12 – 15, Denver, Colorado, 2017.
“Organizing & Planning I: Labor & Work,” Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, October 12 – 15, Denver, Colorado, 2017.
“Organizing & Planning II: The Scholar’s Role in Social Movements,” Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, October 12 – 15, Denver, Colorado, 2017.
“Affective governance: Scales of political authority in a Paraguayan frontier town,” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 5–9, Boston, Massachusetts, 2017.
“Deal-making, livelihood and urban rights,” Global Metropolitan Studies Symposium, 3-4 April, University of California, Berkeley, California, 2017.
“Sanctuary: A Rising Resistance Movement,” UNM Community & Regional Planning Teach Week, March 1, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2017.
“Understanding ‘Trumpism’ through Racism and Whiteness,” UNM Community & Regional Planning Teach Week, February 28, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2017.
“Outside the wage: Spaces, politics, possibilities,” American Association of Geographers. March 29 - April 2, San Francisco, California, 2016.
“Cities of Hope? Urban Organizing in a Global and Precarious World,” Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, November 2 – 6, Portland, Oregon 2016.
“Contraband city: Geographies of extralegal work and life in Paraguay’s frontier economy,” Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley, May 13, Berkeley, California 2016.
“Livelihood outside the law: Street vendor politics & everyday planning practice in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay,” Community & Regional Planning, University of New Mexico, February 4, 2016, Albuquerque, New Mexico 2016.
“Storytelling & planning,” Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, October 22 – 25, Huston, Texas, 2015.
“City-stories: Narrative as diagnostic of power in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay,” Annual Meeting of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, October 22 – 25, Houston, Texas, 2015.
“Rethinking urban governance: Making theory from ordinary cities,” Latin American Studies Association Congress, May 27 – 30, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2015.
“Clientelism, the ‘urban poor,’ and street vendor politics in Paraguay,” Relational Poverty Network Annual Meeting, October 27, Seattle, Washington, 2014.
“Critical geographies of corruption and the emotional politics of clientelism,” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, April 8 – 12, Tampa, Florida, 2014.
Coronavirus and urban informality, with the Center for Investigation, Development and Innovation at the National University of Asunción, funded by Paraguay’s National Directorate of Science & Technology
The urban politics of informal recycling in Asunción, with Colectivo Guara, funded by the Fulbright Scholar Program and a UNM RAC Grant
Member, Sanctuary Campus Working Group, UNM
Facilitator, "Embodying Anti-Racism," A Course in Unlearning Racism
Fulbright Scholar, 2019
International Dissertation Research Fellow, Social Science Research Council, 2013
Fulbright Student Research Fellowship, 2013
Human Rights Fellow, UC Berkeley Human Rights Center (with the Centro de Documentación y Estudio, Asunción, Paraguay), 2012
Chancellor's Public Fellow, American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Program, UC Berkeley, 2010