Broadly, my work takes up the future as a political object, and it considers what state efforts to think and enact the future look like from the sedimented space of late industrialism. All of the images on this site are photographs I took in Baltimore between 2015 and 2016, and many materialize the tension between past and future – and more specifically between decline and desire – that weights the late industrial experience.
In my current project, Forgotten in Anticipation, I explore the historical and embodied residues of future-oriented governance in south Baltimore over a 200-year period – from the area's 19th century life as a quarantine zone through its more recent past as the proposed site for "renewable" energy projects – to show what forms of life and death they fail to capture. I also query how residents living in the wake of such projects imagine the future of late industrial Baltimore. And in my emerging work, Vacant: Climate Crisis and the Unpeopling of Baltimore, I investigate how the city's climate-adaptation planning process is resignifying vacant homes and crumbling infrastructure as "systemic vulnerabilities." Specifically, I am interested in how strategies of intervention, methods of governance, and models of responsibility shift when signs of chronic neglect become, in the context of climate change, a case for acting urgently. Both projects combine ethnographic research with intensive archival study, contributing to a research program that lies at the intersection of anthropology and urban history.
Before joining the University of Chicago Society of Fellows, I earned my doctorate in anthropology at George Washington University. Before that, I worked toward a master's degree in education at Johns Hopkins University while teaching elementary school in south Baltimore City. And before that, I studied anthropology at the University of Chicago. Beyond the academy, I work as a volunteer political educator with United Workers in Baltimore and dabble in family archiving. Lately, I have been working to process my grandfather's personal papers from the Civil Rights Movement.
cak272 [at] cornell [dot] edu