My research seeks to understand the relationship between inequality and environmental sustainability in a neoliberal political-economic context.
My dissertation, entitled Black, White and Green: A Study of Urban Farmers' Markets, investigates how managers, vendors and customers in farmers markets located in racially and economically distinct neighborhoods imagine and practice the ideal of sustainability.
I argue that although both farmers markets explicitly attempt to fuse environmental and social justice priorities, they are constrained by their inabilities to recognize race and class privilege as well as the economic imperatives that characterize market relations.
Theoretically, this project examines how the processes of meaning making and identity formation come to affect political outcomes.
More practically, my dissertation investigates the consequences of consumption-based (rather than policy-oriented) strategies for social change, which is particularly important in light of growing political attention to the so-called green economy.
In addition to my dissertation, I also completed an earlier project (akin to an MA thesis) that revealed how elites can legitimate neoliberal environmental governance by invoking widely available cultural narratives.
In this case, the wine-grape industry deployed notions of rural individualism to argue for voluntary, rather than compulsory, environmental regulation of vineyards.
I was also involved in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary community-based research project on environmental justice-the relationship between environmental issues and race, class and gender--in the Central Valley.
As I acclimate to UOP, I hope to be able to continue my involvement in this project.