I am an anthropologist working at the intersection of social and political theory, aesthetics, ethics, medicine, literature, postcolonial and feminist thought. I am interested in how history, inequality and violence play out in multiple social and political spheres, including the domestic and therapeutic.
My first book, The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along The Rio Grande (University of California Press, 2010), examined the relationship between colonial history, poverty and intergenerational heroin use in northern New Mexico. It argued that heroin addiction among Hispanos is a contemporary expression of an enduring history of cultural and economic dispossession, social and intimate fragmentation, and the existential desire for a release from these. The Pastoral Clinic won awards in anthropology and writing.
Since 2011, I have been engaged in research in Mexico City, examining discourses of recovery in the context of criminal and political violence. This work focuses on coercive drug rehabilitation centers that are run and utilized by the informal working poor. I explore how these centers embody, express, and rework the violence that pervades Mexico today, while also using this setting as in inquiry into ethics, politics, and world-making. My book manuscript for this project is under contract with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. An outgrowth of this work is a bi-national research project that examines mutual aid for Latinos with addiction and mental illness. In this project, I seek to better understand how citizenship, migration, and religion shape therapeutic forms and communal life.
Recently, I launched another project on the history of the expansion, destruction and archivisation of a mining community in southwestern New Mexico.