Welcome to my website! I am an associate professor in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, DC, where I teach graduate and undergraduate courses on urban development, environmental justice, political ecology, environmental sustainability, and global health. I am also a faculty affiliate of AU’s Metropolitan Policy Center in the School of Public Affairs and a faculty co-lead of the Environment Team at AU’s Anti-racist Research and Policy Center.
As a critical urban geographer, I am motivated by two central questions: (1) What are the root causes of urban environmental injustices? (2) How and why do marginalized groups contest such injustices and to what ends? My scholarship is situated primarily in the discipline of human geography, while also charting new terrain in the transdisciplinary fields of urban studies, political ecology, and environmental justice. In considering contemporary struggles surrounding urban water and sanitation access, land and housing dispossession, and flooding and climate change vulnerability in India and the US, I am especially interested in the relationship between histories of segregation and property law, and contemporary environmental inequalities shaped by race, caste, gender, and class. I am currently working on a book project focused on the making of property, ecology, and “others” in colonial and contemporary Bengaluru/Bangalore, India, in which I argue for an environmental ethics centered on anti-caste humanism. You can view a recent talk I gave at Dartmouth College, “Towards an Anti-caste and Abolitionist Epistemology for Environmental Justice in Urban India” on this work in progress. I am also a recipient of an American Council of Learned Societies-Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for a collaborative book project that weaves together literary criticism and critical geography, Corruption Plots: Stories, Ethics, and Publics in the Millennial City. Drawing on fictional films and novels set in global cities, as well as ethnography in Bangalore and Mumbai, the book examines how urban land grabs and spatial inequality exacerbated by neoliberal political economy are narrated through diverse and shifting meanings of “corruption.”
Finally, my work has also turned to questions of environmental racism in the US. I have been conducting research on climate justice in Washington, DC’s Ward 7 on legacy environmental racisms, housing segregation, and deep histories of climate precarity and toxicity. You can see an an interview I did on for American University here. In recent coauthored work, I have called for an abolitionist approach to climate justice. This work was recently featured on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 on NPR. At core, I seek to think through prospects for more just, emancipatory, and sustainable urban futures across the North-South divide, and to decolonize urban ecologies.
Prior to coming to American University, I was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy initiative at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, based out of the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science. I received a Master’s and PhD from the Energy and Resources Group (ERG) at the University of California, Berkeley with a Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies.
Please browse my research and publications to learn more. To download my latest CV, please click here.