My recent research concerns French Atlantic visual culture, coastal ecology, the rise of marine sciences in France and it encourages dialogues between 19th and 21st century aesthetics and ecological ethics. I work with first-hand experience of coastal landscapes, primary research in museums, archives and artist communities with a methodology informed by ecocriticism, new materialism and trans-corporeality. Across my projects is a shared fascination with the material flows of fish and animals, seaweed, salt, people, sand, stones, boats and other actors that move across and through the tide line, and the ways in which the visual culture of the shore visualizes intensely local perceptions of tide, geology, beach morphology, and marine botany. I am Professor of Visual Studies in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at Bryant University in Smithfield RI (USA); I am Vice President of the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, an interdisciplinary organization that has grown to be a major conference venue for historians of 19th-century art and visual culture.
An aspiring minimalist, I do all the things! My many roles constellate within a clarifying praxis of supporting creative vision. I teach writing and rhetoric with an emphasis in digital multimodality. I enjoy making short films as digital scholarship. My book on all of this is due out later this year from the #writing series, Colorado State University Open Press. I’ve listed my disciplinary identitification @ Left. Thankfully, the field in which I identify my presence, Rhetoric and Composition, is gloriously capacious. Within the field, I’ve found ways of engaging a range of studies and practices that invite me to explore my interests in:
- Digital Media
- DIY Digital Filmmaking
- Visual Rhetoric
- Writing Program Administration
I am medical rhetorician and technical communicator. I teach writing at Harold Washington College — one of the City Colleges of Chicago. There, I am an Associate Professor of English and a member of the City Colleges of Chicago Institutional Review Board (IRB). I am a Newberry Library scholar-in-residence for 2018-2019, a 2018 recipient of a Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication (CPTSC) research grant, and an associate editor for the Foundations and Innovations in Technical and Professional Communication book series.
The cover image above shows a black and white sketch drawing of a building exterior, a “proposal for ramped entry” to a court house building in North Carolina drawn by disabled architect Ronald Mace in 1980. The building’s entry has two steps to its glass doors, but a ramp to the side facilitates entry to the same doors by wheels. Two people stand in apparent conversation in front of the doors, their bodies arranged in similar manner to the building’s vertical geometries: columns flanking the doors, as well as serving as aesthetic elements at the upper level. This design was unbuilt. Like the sketch, my work focuses on the relationship between bodies and built environments. I am assistant professor of Medicine, Health, & Society, affiliated faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, and director of the Mapping Access project and Critical Design Lab at Vanderbilt University. My interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the historical and ethnographic study of bodies and built environments, applying frameworks from critical and crip disability studies, feminist technoscience studies, and critical design studies. My first book, Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability, studied the twentieth century shift from design for the average user to design for non-average users culminating in the movement toward Universal Design. My second book project, Enlivened City: public bodies, healthy spaces, livable worlds, examines the biopolitics of global livable cities design. I also direct Mapping Access, a participatory data collection and mapping project focused on promoting accessibility in built environments. Finally, I am a certified permaculture designer working at the intersections of food justice, sustainability, and urban development.
Trained as a Latin Americanist, my research and teaching interests revolve around the intersections of space, politics, and everyday practice. Although trained as a historian, I am deeply invested in the field of geography and critical spatial theory. My first book, Cartographic Mexico: A History of State Fixations and Fugitive Landscapes (Duke U. Press, 2004; Spanish translation, 2013), attempted to wrestle with questions of space, property and belonging through a close, social history of cartography. The book examines the cartographic routines—exploring, mapping, and surveying—through which Mexican national sovereignty and a series of property regimes (from communal landholding, through to privatization and enclosure, to the creation of the post-revolutionary ejido, as well as riparian and water rights) were forged. A ‘social history of cartography,’ the book focuses in particular on the points of contact, cooperation, and conflict between those living and working on particular lands (in this case, peasants in highland Veracruz) and those charged with translating legislative decrees in to social and juridical realities (in this case, land surveyors in highland Veracruz). The result is a historical ethnography of liberalism, property and cartography. I expanded on my interest in putting social history and the history of cartography together in a number of subsequent essays, most recently in a long piece on decolonization and cartography which appeared in Decolonizing the Map: Cartography from Colony to Nation (U. of Chicago Press, 2017), edited by James Akerman. I sought in this essay not only to respond to the primary thematic focus of the collection—namely, cartography and decolonization—but also to in some sense decolonize the writing of history on cartography, which for far too long has lacked a kind of social historical edge. The essay thus ranged broadly into subjects that seem rarely to get a hearing in the history of cartography: the colonization of everyday life, situationist spatial practices, anarchist internationalism and geographies, among others. Intersecting with my concerns with geography and space have been my long-standing interests in forms of collective political subjectivity that refuse the nation-state and open possibilities for different forms of egalitarian association. My second book, The Cry of the Renegade: Politics and Poetry in Interwar Chile (Oxford Univ. Press, 2016; Spanish translation with the title Santiago Subversivo 1920: Anarquistas, universitarios y la muerte de José Domingo Gómez Rojas, Ediciones LOM, 2017), sought to fuse more directly—in micro-historical fashion—relationships between space and politics, in this instance in the context of post-World War I Santiago, Chile, a city then undergoing dramatic spatial and social transformation. The book takes a six-month period of time—from the initial crackdowns on purported anarchists and foreign agitators through to the eventual release six months later of most of those illegally detained—and examines in close detail what unfolded. My research came out of an effort to understand the processes and events that led to the death of a young anarchist poet named José Domingo Gómez Rojas. In the process I sought to rescue him from the flat oblivion of martyrdom and instead to bring him to life through the lives and struggles of his comrades and friends. I emphasize a number of issues in the book: I pay close attention to university students and the radicalization and “disidentification” they experienced over the course of the 1910s as well as the close relationships they forged with working people. My focus on university students was intended to move beyond the persistent discourse of students as socially privileged and politically naive and therefore somehow less authentic political subjects, while at the same time moving to a period prior to the heavily-fetishized 1968. The book also stresses the importance of anarcho-communism in Chile in the first two decades of the 20th century. I was particularly interested in anarchist organizers who spent most, if not all, of their lives in Santiago. They were not peripatetic radicals but sedentary ones and this in part, I argue, explains why they faced such severe persecution: they knew labor law, they knew who the industrialists and manufacturers and landlords were who did not abide by the laws or who attempted to break unions or strikes; they lived next door to the policemen who occasionally arrested them; they knew on which doors to knock and upon which neighbors to rely when it came time for organizing demonstrations or mobilizing in solidarity; and so forth. I stress this in part because in some ways I sought to move beyond the new orthodoxy of transnational history in order to look at the immediacy of place in relation to peoples’ politics without sacrificing the context of the international circulation of people and ideas. A preliminary version of this work resulted in an invitation to deliver one of three plenary lectures at Chile’s Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos in 2014. The museum subsequently published the lecture as a small book, Martirio, memoria, historia: Sobre los subversivos y la expulsión de Casimiro Barrios, 1920 as part of their Signos series. My work is disciplinarily eclectic and pulls from a range of geographical subfields. I have sought repeatedly in my work to find thematic, methodological, and explanatory linkages with other areas and literatures, in part in order to deparochialize area studies itself and in part to find commonalities across national, regional and continental boundaries. I read extensively outside of my discipline and subfield and my teaching and advising—especially at the graduate level—is purposefully interdisciplinary and geographically wide-ranging. So it is with my current project, Libertarian Noir: White flight and exit geographies from decolonization to the digital age. This work follows three “exit strategies” undertaken by market-libertarians (or anarcho-capitalists) since 1950: island havens in areas of decolonization; floating platforms (seasteads) in non-sovereign oceanic spaces; and charter cities and start-up cites in Central America.
I have just finished my manuscript The Corporation in the American Imagination, 1819-1905, and I am now looking into the modes of representation in which stories of male and female entrepreneurs are told in the US.
I am a historian of modern Europe, specialising in the history of science, urban history and the study of translation and reception in the history of ideas. My research interests include the academic and popular reception of Darwinism and evolution in Hungary and Central Europe; the study of knowledge production and transfer in the long nineteenth century; the role of the city and urban culture, including the urban press, in the circulation and transformations of knowledge; the history of scientific societies, associations and institutions; and the effect of migration and exile on knowledge transfer.
2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar – Russia
I am a freelance writer, editor, and independent scholar with a PhD in ethnomusicology. I have conducted research on Afro-Cuban folkloric and popular musical practices since 2004, primarily in the cities of Havana, Matanzas, and Santiago. My dissertation, entitled “Localizing Hybridity: The Politics of Place in Contemporary Cuban Rumba Performance”, focused on recent innovations in rumba performance in the cities of Havana and Matanzas. My book, Geographies of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba, examines various Cuban musical practices – rumba, timba, son, and folklore oriental (eastern Cuban folklore) – and draws on recent fieldwork conducted in Santiago. My theoretical focus has centered on the entanglements of race and place in contemporary Cuba and their impact on musical performance. Beyond Cuban music, I am interested in African-derived practices from various sites throughout the diaspora, including Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and black American popular genres such as hip-hop and soul.
I work as an open source/media analyst at Novetta, where my domain knowledge of Russian language and culture helps to make patterns in Russian and East European messaging meaningful and assess the contents and target audiences of adversarial messaging. In research not directly related to my job, I specialize in twentieth-century Russian poetry, especially the early Soviet avant-garde and their successive work and successors under Socialist Realism. This interest in poetry also drives a agenda of developing computational methods to facilitate the study of versification and quantitative poetics. I also enjoy the opportunity to examine other media, particularly film, as can be seen in my notes and reviews on contemporary film for the annual Pittsburgh Russian Film Symposium and Kinokultura.