Anthropology at the Intersection of Environmental Justice & Disability Rights
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
I'm a cultural anthropologist with wide-ranging interests in the fields of environmental justice and disability studies. I teach at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where I also chair the social science department. My writing has appeared in scholarly journals such as American Anthropologist, Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, and Human Organization, as well as Sapiens Anthropology Magazine and other public outlets.
From Theory to Action
Disability & Difference
The birth of my daughter Michaela and her diagnosis with Down syndrome thrust me into an unfamiliar world of disability and difference. My book An Ordinary Future: Margaret Mead, the Problem of Disability, and a Child Born Different examines this experience in relation to Margaret Mead's path to disability rights activism. Powerful and personal, An Ordinary Future confronts the dominant ideas, disturbing contradictions, and dramatic transformations that have shaped our perspectives on disability over the last century.
Extraction, Energy, & Society
My book When the Hills Are Gone: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community tells the story of Wisconsin's sand mining wars and the extraction of sand for use in fracking elsewhere in the United States. Digging deep into the struggles over place, community, and local democracy that are occurring across the country, it gives vital insight into America’s environmental battles along the unexpected frontlines of energy development.
Culture, Contamination, & Ecological Impairment
My current research examines how people respond to the discovery of PFAS contamination and make sense of our ecologically impaired world. PFAS represent a class of synthetic chemicals used to create waterproof, stain resistant, or nonstick surfaces. Common in consumer products, they are now widespread in the environment and increasingly responsible for polluting water, air, and people's bodies. How do we come to terms with the toxic fallout of modern industrial society?