I am an associate professor of individualized studies and sociology at NYU. I also direct the Urban Democracy Lab and Civic Engagement at the Gallatin School at NYU. I am currently the chair of the political sociology section of the American Sociological Association. I was until recently associate professor of sociology and international studies at Brown University, and before that, associate professor of sociology at UMASS Amherst. I have been a a visiting researcher at IESA, in Córdoba, Spain, and visiting professor of political science at USP, in Brazil.
I research and write on novel forms of democracy, cities, theory & methods, culture, and inequalities. Most recently I have been working on the contradictions of urban greening, and more generally, on expertise as a problem for democracy. My background is halfway between Political Sociology and Cultural Sociology, and I have always been informed by critical theory as well as by a sense of the importance of engagement. Since my PhD from the university of Wisconsin in 2001 I have also tried to teach myself anthropology and democratic theory. I also studied before that at University of Michigan and UC Berkeley, where I got my BA in 1993.
More and more I have been involved with projects and experiments in collective writing and democratic knowledge production. That is, if the dictum is that, if you believe in a democratic society you should have a democratic classroom, then why not also engage in democratic forms of knowledge production? Several of the projects I have been engaged in have been collective, and across career stage. I like to think they are democratic. We borrow from the form of the “shop,” which itself is a translation of the idea of the Laboratory to the social sciences. Though here, we try to run them more like anarchist collectives than along the Principal Investigator/Research Assistant model.
I enjoy collaborative work, and I have partnered with individual scholars, groups of scholars, and civil society organizations. Some of the folks I have partnered with include The Right To The City, Daniel Cohen, Hillary Angelo, The Rosa Luxembourg Foundation, Emma Shaw Crane, Ned Crowley, Michelle O’Brien, Max Holleran, Sara Duvisac, Michael Gould Wartofsky, Claudio Benzecry, Nicole Summers, Ernesto Ganuza, Michael Rodriguez, Diana Graizbord, Alissa Cordner, Elizabeth Bennett, Peter Klein, Stephanie Savell, Marcelo Silva, Brian T. Connor, Johnie Lotesta, Sonia Alvarez, Millie Thayer, Agustin Lao Montez, Michael Kennedy, Patrick Heller,
I earnestly believe in both Irony and Anxiety as important qualities for those in our line of work, and I try to cultivate both in myself and those I work with.