My ethnographic interests range from the study of politics and religion—or contemporary political theologies—, to the unchecked global development of penal state politics, and the history of Catholic humanitarian interventions in Latin America.
My dissertation tracked how Catholic charities in Ecuador haltingly incorporated expert medical and labor knowledges into their traditional injunction to care for the poor, telling unfamiliar stories about the non-secular origins of the modern Ecuadorian state.
As a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell (2009-11), I began a book-length manuscript on early colonial race relations in Peruvian monasteries and their "humanitarian" portrayals across Catholic hagiographic and viceroyal administrative literatures.
I am now editing a special journal issue dedicated to “Prison Climates in the South,” and ethnographically exploring how in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the recent adoption of "maximum security" discourse and carceral technology has shifted the vocations of prison staff and dissimulated the world of punitive enclosure that prisoners inhabit.
My writing has appeared in such journals as Cultural Anthropology, Anthropological Quarterly, Anthropology & Humanism, Hispanic American Historical Review, Material Religion, Urvio and Íconos. As an occasional blogger, my short articles and thought-pieces have come out in Cultural Anthropology Online and in Somatosphere. A more complete itinerary for my research—past, present, and immediate future—can be found in the Department of Anthropology's Fall 2012 Newsletter (.pdf available on our website).
My teaching at Cornell hinges around the metamorphosis of political potentiality, including such course titles as “Sacrifice Now,” "Prison Worlds," “The Politics of Global Charity,” “Inter-war Anthropologies,” and “Latin American Forms of Colonial Possession.”
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