I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at UC Berkeley where I study environmental politics. My research interests span social and political theory, cultural sociology, science and technology studies, environmental sociology, political sociology/economy/ecology, economic sociology, and law and society. My research has been published or is forthcoming in Theory and SocietyTheory Culture and SocietyScience as CultureCitizenship StudiesEthics Policy and EnvironmentThe Berkeley Journal of Sociology, and The New Handbook of Political Sociology (Cambridge University Press). I am currently a Synar Graduate Research Fellow at the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

I am interested in how “nature” is configured as a political object, particularly in times of crisis. My primary empirical focus is endangered species conservation and water management in California. My dissertation draws on documents, observations, interviews, and a large scale analysis of news articles to understand the entanglements of science, law, infrastructure, politics, and culture in the context of one of the most contentious and consequential endangered species conflicts in American history: the case of the delta smelt, a small species of fish caught in the center of California’s “water wars.” The first major article from this project, “Hydraulic Society and a ‘Stupid Little Fish’: Toward a Historical Ontology of Endangerment” (in Theory and Society) was awarded the 2017 American Sociological Association Animals and Society Section’s Jane Goodall Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarship, Honorable Mention in the 2019 American Sociological Association’s Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section’s Hacker-Mullins Student Paper Award, the 2017 Herbert Blumer Prize for the best paper written by a UC Berkeley sociology graduate student, and UC Berkeley’s 2018 Leo Lowenthal Prize. I have published several other articles and essays on water and related environmental issues in California as well.

My research on the politics of endangerment and extinction has informed an interest in bringing environmental law into empirical legal studies. To this end, I was a 2017-18 Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law & Society. The research on the science-law interface supported by this fellowship (currently under review) received the 2019 Pacific Sociological Association Distinguished Graduate Student Paper Award and the 2019 American Sociological Association Environmental Sociology Section’s Marvin E. Olsen Student Paper Award.

My background in political theory and ongoing collaborations with philosophers ground an enduring interest in foundational concepts, and in particular “freedom” and “nature,” which are typically avoided in the discipline of sociology, yet frequently looming in the background of sociological analysis and social theorizing nonetheless.

Learn more about my research here.