I am a sociologist of cities, democracy and inequality, and am appointed as Lecturer on Sociology at Harvard University. I am also an affiliate of the Research Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, where I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2020-2021 in the Weatherhead Scholars Program. In 2019-20, I was a Visiting Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
In award-winning academic and public-facing publications, I make connections between urban inequalities and the political challenges for democracy that confront societies across the globe. My research asks: Why are some cities more unequal than others? Why do government institutions reproduce or reduce urban inequalities? When and how does democracy transform the organizational resources available to racialized and economic groups who aim to exploit or overcome urban inequalities?
I am completing a book, under contract with Princeton University Press, which compares the divergent politics of distributing urban public goods — housing, sanitation, and transportation — in two mega-cities after transitions to democracy: Johannesburg, South Africa, and São Paulo, Brazil. In 2021, this work was selected for three honors, including the winner of the Best Dissertation Award in two different sections of the American Sociological Association: Comparative Historical Sociology and Collective Behavior & Social Movements. It was awarded an honorable mention for the Best Dissertation in the Social Sciences by the Latin American Studies Association’s Brazil Section. Research for this book was supported by peer-reviewed grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Program, and the Brazilian Studies Association.
In its citation for the ASA’s Comparative Historical Sociology section’s Theda Skocpol Dissertation Award, the selection committee wrote:
The committee were particularly impressed by your development of careful cross-case comparisons and process tracing to ask big theoretical questions, by the historical texture and clarity of your account, and by the new path you open towards a truly global urban sociology.
Research articles have been published in Social Forces, Theory & Society, City & Community, International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, International Development Planning Review, and Environment & Urbanization. I have also published essays in public-facing outlets including the Boston Review, Bloomberg’s CityLab, the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage (2x), The Conversation (3x), the Atlantic Council, Africa Is A Country, and Eurozine, as well letters in the Financial Times (6x), The Economist, and the New Yorker.
I am trained as both a sociologist and city planner. I received a PhD in Sociology from Brown University, a Masters in City Planning from MIT, and a BA in History (with high honors) from Swarthmore College.
At Harvard, I teach courses on Comparative Urban Political Economy, Climate Change, Development, and Poverty.