I am interested in how powerful institutions influence our everyday experiences, assumptions, and ideas. I am particularly drawn to issues surrounding crime, punishment, law, religion, morality, and illness.
One of my areas of expertise is in the death penalty. As part of my doctoral research, I spent two years watching hundreds of hours of death penalty trials across the United States. If you want to know how a courthouse in Lubbock, TX compares to one in Brooklyn, NY, I'm a good person to ask.
Another aspect of my work addresses performance and representation. The arts are an integral part of our social world, and I am interested in the ways sociology intersects with the performative arts in particular. On this topic, I co-authored a play titled “To Be Honest,” drawn from 172 qualitative interviews with Texans during the 2016 Presidential election. As a performance, it makes visible the high stakes when the religion of Islam becomes a topic for political debate in the US. You can learn more on play's website: https://tobehonesttheatre.com/.
My aim in teaching is to help students see the social world as filled with opportunities to ask and (begin to) answer important questions. Students who take my classes can expect help in becoming sharper readers, writers, critical thinkers, and creators.