I am Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law and the Center for Latin American Studies. My research and teaching focus on social inequality, policing, violence, and politics in Latin America. I am also passionate about qualitative inquiry and ethnography, and served as Managing Editor of Qualitative Sociology between 2010 and 2019. Click here for my CV.
My first book, Harassed: Gender, Bodies, and Ethnographic Research (University of California Press, 2019), is co-authored with Patricia Richards. Harassed examines the androcentric, racist, and colonialist epistemological foundations of ethnographic methodology that contribute to silence surrounding sexual harassment and other forms of violence researchers encounter in the field.
In my second book manuscript, Policing the Bolivarian Revolution: State Violence in Venezuela, I use 27 months of ethnographic, interview, and archival data conducted in Venezuela to examine state violence during Chavismo. I explain how attempts under President Hugo Chávez to reduce police violence instead catalyzed it, ending in terror only a few years later under Chávez’s successor, Nicolás Maduro.
Along with David Smilde and Verónica Zubillaga, I am co-editing The Paradox of Violence in Venezuela. Using empirical case studies, we analyze why violence has increased in the country at the same time that poverty and inequality has decreased.
My research has been published in Sociological Forum; The Sociological Quarterly; Journal of Latin American Studies; Crime, Law, and Social Change; and REVISTA M. Estudos sobre a Morte, os Mortos e o Morrer.
I am an active contributor to popular conversations on policing, politics, and security reform in Latin America, publishing in venues such as NACLA, The Conversation, Insight Crime, the Christian Science Monitor, and Foreign Policy in Focus. I am also a frequent contributor to the Washington Office on Latin America's blog Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights.
Currently I am collaborating on two research projects. Along with Eric Arias (College of William and Mary), Dorothy Kronick (University of Pennsylvania) and Tara Slough (NYU) I am conducting a field experiment in Medellín, Colombia on community meetings and trust in the police. My second project is in collaboration with Dr. Leonard Gómez Núñez (Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Seguridad) and uses interviews and survey data in urban and rural sectors in Venezuela to analyze the effects of militarization on police officers. These projects have been supported by institutions such as CAF, EGAP, and EDI.