Research Projects

My research is primarily concerned with the historical and long-term roots of structural inequality and how inequalities manifest in our society through efforts to either re-entrench or challenge the existing power structures. I seek to make connections between the local and global imaginaries of power and hierarchy, racism and the legacies of colonialism that leads to the asymmetric appropriation of global wealth and power.  My research is transdisciplinary as is exemplified in my research projects outlined below. My training is in macro-comparative quantitative methods and I use case studies and other qualitative research tools to draw out the nuance, representative of social dynamics.

  1. Small Island Development and Climate Change – Questions at the center of the project include: what types of development strategies are currently available to a small island developing state like Dominica in today’s global economy? How does global climate change affect and influence these strategies and the overall political economy of the country? What is the role of global governance with regards to the impact of climate change on SIDS like Dominica? Agriculture and fishing sectors make up a significant portion of the Dominica’s balance of payments so how does climate change affect those sectors specifically? (Talk* at UCR’s Bio Dept. Senior Seminar – 11/2020; American Sociological Association Presentation** – 8/2019). [*in Keynote; **in PPT]
  2. Commodification of Citizenship – Commodified citizenship – pay x number of dollars and you can have all the rights of citizenship without any of the traditional duties and obligations – has been on the rise in developing countries since the early 1990s. I have collected administrative data on the commodified citizenship program in Dominica for the period 1990 to 2015. The Dominica case study affords us the opportunity to view and understand the details of citizenship by investment programs, observe how it emerged within the Dominica context, and understand the implications within the broader global political economy. I have analyzed the data through the transnational capitalist lens and published a paper based on this project. Additional, lines of inquiry include, examining the relationship between commodified citizenship and political legitimacy, comparing the different islands, and exploring questions pertaining to cross-border security. (Peer Reviewed Paper)
  3. Power & Hierarchy: African Underdevelopment in World Historical Perspective – Framing this research on fellow Caribbean scholar, Walter Rodney’s, and that of world-system scholars I establish Africa’s position in the modern world-economy, historically and under the current world order. I seek to empirically demonstrate the structural and historical constraints the continent faces in the highly unequal global capitalist system. I acknowledge Africa’s agency from a regional and various national perspective. (Peer Reviewed Paper; Talk* to UCR Sociology Dept – 11/2020)[*in Keynote]
  4. COVID19 Pandemic Coverage in the United States – Data began to emerge at the beginning of April, that there were higher instances of contraction of, and mortality from, coronavirus amongst Black Americans and other socially marginalized groups. This was accompanied by what appeared to be a quick shift in the coverage of the pandemic from a health issue to one primarily around reopening the economy and the delegitimization of the suffering of Black and Brown people. Narratives and reporting have the power to change public opinions, promote specific public policies, and reframe public discourse on a subject. Keeping this in mind, I have designed a research project that seeks to empirically measure this. I am in the process of creating a dataset of articles from five leading newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and the Houston Chronicle), to help identify and track narrative changes in print media, covering the period February 1, 2020 to August 1, 2020. (California Sociological Association Annual Meeting Presentation* – 11/2020)[*in Keynote]
  5. Tracing the evolution of distant othering and racism (in collaboration with Anderson and Chase-Dunn at IROWS) – This research project is informed by critical race theory which holds that racism, and by extension othering, is embedded within every aspect of American society. We agree with critical race theorists, but elaborate further, that othering in some form or another, has existed since the Stone Age, and evolves with the uneven expansion of social complexity and the emergence of hierarchies. Othering, has always been important for reproducing differences and inequalities within society. Our argument is that at its core, distant othering involves the fear of a perceived threat to the existing social order and with the emergence of global capitalism, the racialized version of othering is violent, a violence that that becomes particularly intense when rates of profit collapses (i.e. economic crises) and/or when group-status is threatened. (Preprint SocArXiv)
  6. Southern California Community Initiatives for Improved Well-being (in collaboration with C. Ivey, UC Riverside’s College of Engineering, Center for Environmental Research and Technology) – The project leverages wearable sensors to measure a person’s individual exposure, on a day to day basis, to PM2.5 and PM10 PM2.5 in internal (at home and at work) and external (during commutes, while outdoors) spaces. As part of this project, we measure and try to understand disparities in exposure in Southern California’s Inland Empire across varying socioeconomic backgrounds. (Peer reviewed paper)