Professional and Biographical Information


PhD  Boston College 2004
MSc  London School of Economics and Political Science 1996
BA  University of New Hampshire 1992

Teaching Interests

I teach about globalization, labor migration between the United States and Latin America, and inequality and childhood in the U.S. I structure my courses around discussions of power, and challenge students to explore how intersections of privilege and subordination shape life experiences and opportunities. This means that while we study theories of globalization, inequality, and migration, and engage with empirical research, we also explore how these sociological phenomena relate to our own lives. My recent teaching menu includes five introductory classes, Latinx ImmigrationUnequal Childhoods; Rethinking Race and Class in Rural America; Being Human in STEM  (with Sheila Jaswal); Transnational American Studies (with Jallicia Jolly), and Intergroup Dialogue on Race (with Allan Hart), and four advanced seminars - Globalization, Inequality and Social Change; Gender, Power and Migration; Immigration and the New Second Generation and Meanings of Mobility; Latinx Youth and the American Dream. I also enjoy teaching in the First Year Seminar program, for which I have taught Progress? and Antiracism.  

Research Interests

I am interested in how political economic forces impact the movement of people across international borders as well as within nation-states. I am especially interested in the relationship between family and immigration.

My first book, Striving and Surviving: A Daily Life Analysis of Honduran Transnational Families (Routledge 2005) and related articles focused on the gender dynamics of undocumented or mixed legal status transnational families, those divided between their home and host countries. This research contributes scholarly analyses of transnational survival strategies, in which families divide their productive (wage) and reproductive (care) labor across borders, and how these strategies can reproduce or intensify gender and generational inequalities. This research also explores how social constructions of motherhood and fatherhood influence the experiences of those living within transnational families. I also enjoyed writing methodological pieces related to the community-based and action-oriented methods I employed in this project.

My second book, The Last Best Place? Gender, Family and Migration in the New West (Stanford University Press 2014) explores the intersections of gender, migration, gentrification, and rurality in Montana, a new immigrant destination in the American West. Utilizing a feminist ethnographic approach, my research centers on the narratives and experiences of migrant men, women and children, the majority of whom are undocumented. In the book, I analyze social constructions of masculinity and femininity, and how they are influenced by intersections of rurality, legal status and economy. In addition, I investigate how physical and cultural geography impact gender and family relations. 

My third book (with Cecilia Menjivar and Leisy Abrego), Immigrant Families (Polity 2016), draws from ethnographic, demographic and historical data to analyze how key axes of inequality (race, class, gender, generation and legal status) influence how immigrant families fare in the United States. 

My most recent book, Meanings of Mobility: Family, Education and Immigration in the Lives of Latino Youth, was published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2023. Meanings of Mobility draws on life history interviews with students and a subset of their family members to explore how family, place and immigration status shape youth's educational mobility and future aspirations. 

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