School of International Service
I do research in two distinct areas—organized violence by non-state actors and urban politics
In the first area, on which I have spent more time, I examine the politics, internal dynamics, and patterns of violence of militias, paramilitaries, private military contractors, and drug cartels among others. My work in this area has resulted in two books: The first, On the Fault Line: Race, Class, and the American Patriot Movement (Rowman and Littlefield 2003), tracks the identity politics of the Kentucky State Militia as it experienced rapid growth, internal upheaval, and decline with the arrest of its commander.
The second book, After the Peace: Loyalist Paramilitaries in Post-accord Northern Ireland (Cornell 2007) examines why Loyalist paramilitaries took nearly a decade after the 1998 peace agreement to decommission their weapons and stand down their armed units.
My work on these groups has also appeared in academic journals like Space and Polity and Antipode.
Currently I am working on an NIJ funded project (with colleague Dan Schneider) about cross border cooperation between US and Mexican law enforcement agencies policing drug cartels. This research is in progress.
My second area of focus is on urban politics. Although my research in the above category is interdisciplinary, I was trained as a human geographer, and a few years ago I made a conscious decision to return to my disciplinary roots. Given that I live and work in a large metropolitan area, I decided to look at the major changes ongoing in DC. To that end I am working on a book manuscript (tentatively titled The Politics of Staying Put: Tenant Right to Buy in Washington DC) about a unique law in the District of Columbia--the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act--that allows tenants buy their apartment buildings when their landlord sells it or tries to convert to condominium. My analysis tracks the program's level of success at keeping people in place between 2000 and 2013, a period of rapid gentrification in the District.
PhD, University of Kentucky; MA, Miami University; BA, Mary Washington College