I’m an urban historian whose research explores how law and custom have established police power and legitimacy.
Image: Buffalo Bayou / Houston, TX / 2020
My research explores the legal and cultural underpinnings of police power, as well as how overpoliced and underprotected workers, youth, and the poor have collectively resisted state violence, while reimagining community safety on their own terms. My writing is largely anchored in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I lived from 2010 to 2020. However, the lessons I seek to impart extend to the whole of metropolitan America. A dedication to anti-racism, labor rights, gender and sex equity, and human dignity informs my work.
To that end, I believe democracy will never be fully realized in the U.S. until we abolish the Prison Industrial Complex and make any need for surveillance, policing, and punishment systems obsolete. That means honestly reckoning with this country’s formative history of indigenous genocide, white settler-colonialism, and racial-capitalist development. It means paying reparations to occupied First Nations and the descendants of enslaved Black families and diasporic communities who helped build the U.S. and have steadily resisted criminalization, economic plunder, and state violence. And it means assertively investing in housing, jobs, education, and healthcare through equitable programs of social relief that forgo revanchist, market-driven approaches. While research can help further these ends, it is only through political education and activism that we’ll realize, what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. notably referenced as, the “beloved community.”
I am also a trained public historian who has collaborated on many community-based archiving and interpretive digital humanities projects. I hail from greater Hartford, CT, where trips to museums like the Mark Twain House and Wadsworth Atheneum as a youth instilled an early sense of place and passion for story telling and artistic visualization. I am currently based in Houston, TX, which occupies traditional Karankawa and Akokisas lands. I use he/him/his pronouns.