I am a global sociologist working at the intersection of justice, transformation, and sustainability. My scholarship is grounded in feminist, antiracist, and decolonial approaches that challenge conventional development theory and practice. I am highly skilled in the use of qualitative, mixed, and participatory action research (PAR) methods, using these to stimulate multi-paradigmatic knowledge building activities and interdisciplinary engagements.
My professional background is diverse: I began my career in Japan as a foreign language teacher then became a Peace Corps volunteer in Latvia, where I developed a nationally accredited teacher training program. In and around graduate school, I returned to Latvia under a Fulbright grant, worked as a Fulbright Intern at UNESCO in France, organized assessments for grassroots organizations in Ghana and Namibia, and conducted dissertation fieldwork with small-scale farmers in South Africa. Currently, I am a sociology professor in Arizona where my scholarship has branched into development ethics and energy democracy. I am interested in developing partnerships that join food, energy, and water in praxis. I also am an artist, poet, outdoor enthusiast, and Zen practitioner. I grew up roaming the trails of the American West, came of age in Salt Lake City's art scene, and began learning Zen in Japan. I have painted Latvian forests and hiked the South African Cederberg, along with many other mountains along the way. These creative interests inform my work as a scholar. Not only do I bring mindfulness into the classroom, teaching students that self-care is a necessity, not an option, but I also encourage students to imagine alternatives to development. I find that artistic expression helps me to develop cognitive flexibility, or the ability to navigate the complexities of a world in crisis and transition.
Languages English, native proficiency; French, full professional proficiency; Latvian, professional working proficiency; Afrikaans, limited working proficiency; Spanish and Japanese, memorized proficiency.