Before coming to UMass Amherst, I earned my BA in Philosophy and Political Science and then my MA in Political Science at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA.
My main interests lie in the History of Political Thought as well as Contemporary Social and Political Theory. My broad areas of interest include: critical theory, existential philosophy, philosophy of education, critical pedagogy, and American political thought. My dissertation research addresses the question of how we do democratic politics in the United States from a critical theoretical viewpoint.
I ask specifically: How does the public participate in democracy fundamentally shaped by advanced technological society? I try to make sense of how individuals and groups act and react in the contemporary political moment. My inclination is that there are two defining features of how the public participates in politics: first, the American public is in reality a set of fragmented publics, and second, some of these publics are nostalgic. This nostalgia poses an important set of political problems: importantly, it can be manipulated to garner support for reactionary conservatism at the same time as it serves to sanitize the dangerous motivations behind rising white nationalism in the U.S.
Against nostalgia, I shift my attention to the ways in which publics are constituted for political action. If democratic publics coexist as a set of disparate interests, sensibilities, beliefs, and practices, then in order to understand how exactly democratic publics are constituted, we must look to where their myriad capabilities are developed – that is, within the space and time of education. My response to the political problem of nostalgia, then, is to fashion a political education against nostalgia so as to either undermine or channel the potentially paralytic and manipulative aspects of nostalgia for inclusive, egalitarian, and democratic ends.
- Political Science