I approach the topic of space as a visual and material culture – an active medium for constructing a spectrum of intersecting identities. On my blog VisualizingSpace.com I share my thoughts, favorite sites, and ongoing projects connecting spatiality and visuality.
As a digital humanities component of my first book project, I am in the process of using GIS to map census data onto my maps of activist-created public green spaces. These parks existed within a constellation of postwar Left political territories as well as major urban renewal projects. Now in the process of pursuing external funding through NSF for this geo-spatial research, visualizing this information will help us understand why these anarchist sites emerged where they did that will provide further insight into the relationship between activist identities and place-making.
As an extension of my dissertation research, my project proposal for the 2015-2016 National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fulbright, awarded semi-finalist, focuses on the relationship between space and power. The project, titled “Grass/Roots,” compares and maps spatial and environmental power by analyzing how people occupy, reclaim, and create public green spaces in South Africa, New Zealand, and the UK. The project combines ethnographic interviews, site and event documentations, weekly self-produced informational graphics, and a cumulative cultural atlas illuminating connections among my case studies and their intertwined colonial histories.
In 2014 I was awarded a $10,000 exploratory research grant to study transnational American food studies at the World Expo in Milan Italy in May of 2015. As part of this grant I worked with Dr. Simone Cinotto at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, before organizing a symposium with him as keynote at Purdue University in October of 2015. The symposium, called “Global Food: Local Perspectives,” offers an investigative look into how food production and consumption is transnational — even in West Lafayette, Indiana. Since then, I have integrated food studies into my dissertation and teaching.