I am Professor of Sociology in the Anthropology & Sociology Department and Faculty Director of the Landis Center for Community Engagement at Lafayette College. I graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Sociology, and got my MA and PhD in Sociology at the University of California, San Diego.
My research examines the intersection of social movements, business, and democracy in American politics. My current project examines the promotion of democratic practices in U.S. higher education. My book Do-it-Yourself Democracy is an ethnography of the public engagement industry in the United States.
My edited volume with collaborators Edward Walker and Mike McQuarrie, entitled Democratizing Inequalities, explores the challenges of what we call “the new public participation”– the dramatic expansion of democratic practices in organizations of all types– in an era of stark economic inequalities. Other projects are listed under the Research menu.
I am a comparative historical sociologist with research and teaching interests in economic sociology, social movements, political sociology, sociology of knowledge and culture, urban and environmental sociology, and research methods. My work is located in the multidisciplinary field of American political development.
Please explore the site to find out more about my teaching and research activities. Because I have studied the ways in which the physical and living environment shapes and is shaped by social processes, I am especially interested in how people choose to represent those dynamics; the images in the headers are photos I have taken of urban and rural landscapes.