I am a sociocultural anthropologist with a specialization in Northeast Brazil, and research interest in political discourse, social inequality, political theory, and alternative democracies
My work focuses on the intersection of language and material exchange. I am particularly interested in the discourse systems that rural Brazilians use to reconcile traditional patronage politics with liberal models of democracy. I examine these issues in the context of an important regime change in Brazil, the rise of the left-wing Workers' Party government (2003-present). By examining this government's effort to stimulate critical political reflexivity among subsistence cultivators, I explore the meaning of democratic socialism in the new millennium.
The courses I teach at Virginia Tech include Multicultural Communication, Ethnography, Investigations in Religion & Culture, and Historical and Theoretical Frameworks in Material Culture and the Public Humanities (graduate). I also hope to design new courses that appeal to students interested in anthropology.
I currently serve as contributing co-editor of the Society of Linguistic Anthropology's Section News column.