I’m a socio-cultural anthropologist by training but I prefer the label scholar-activist since it better fits my commitment to conducting research with instead of for or about social movements. My research interests lie in the following areas:
- culture, power, resistance, and alternative-building
- fascism, the far right, and the fascist imagination
- social change, social justice, and social movements
- radical imagination
- political and critical theory
- engaged/solidarity research
My research orientation is qualitative, in-depth, and long-term in nature. It is also explicitly political and committed to advancing struggles for social justice. I began my academic work on social movements by exploring the reasons for and consequences of the resonance of Zapatismo – the political philosophy of the Zapatista movement located in Chiapas, Mexico – upon diverse communities of political activists in Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Rather than just mapping connections between activists and organizers across North America, this research was about trying to understand the possibilities and limitations brought into being as new imaginations of political possibility circulate among radicals separated by social, political, and geographic distance.
My research interests focus on the radical imagination and its relationship to movements for radical social change. I’m interested in projects aimed at envisioning and building new forms of community beyond rather than simply against dominant social, political, and economic formations. I am particularly interested in the ways in which new radical imaginations are envisioning socio-political transformations beyond rather than within the state form and, instead of conceiving of struggle hegemonically, are invested in new visions of life lived in common. These projects of radical social change are not just about politics, they are engaged in the task of reimagining and rearticulating new ways of being in the world. My ongoing work with radical activists focuses on the anglophone North Atlantic and seeks to find ways of doing engaged research with social movements that makes research useful to struggles to build a better world. From 2010-2017 I co-directed the Radical Imagination Project with Max Haiven.
I am currently working with El Jones and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia on a SSHRC-funded project to investigate the causes and consequences of breach of court orders by criminalized women in Nova Scotia. I have another project funded by the Change Lab Action Research Initiative (CLARI) underway in collaboration with the Industrial Workers of the World – K’jipuktuk (Halifax) exploring the barriers to participation in collective action for social change for precarious and low-wage workers. My newest research interests are focused on the new fascism, the resurgence of the far right, and the fascist imagination.