Associate Professor of Sociology
Affiliated Faculty, Community Research and Action and American Studies
How do place, culture, and political economy matter in a globalized world?
How are urban environments shaped by broad historical changes, and how do they contribute to new patterns of production and consumption? I examine the longstanding relationships between cities, as both historical accomplishments and dynamic entities, and artistic innovation and economic enterprise in contemporary contexts. I focus on the experience of the artist in the city and the elevated role of the arts in the new urban economy. In addition to art and culture, my research examines cities in regional context and especially the American South; the elevated role of tourism; changing patterns of neighborhood gentrification; the growth of the service sector; and the importance of high tech enterprise. My approach links in-depth ethnographic observation to historical and structural analysis, considering how modernity and global processes are registered in the lives and experiences of real people in real places.
My book Neo-Bohemia focuses on an arts-identified neighborhood in Chicago, arguing that transitions in the 1990s and early 2000s signal a new urban paradigm that draws on longstanding traditions of the artist in the city and diverges from them in important ways. This new bohemia illustrates the durable relationship among place and cultural production and the changing economy of cities in the context of globalization and postindustrial enterprise. Currently, I am working on a book project that uses Nashville as a case study to differentiate elements uniting the city and musical production: legacy, industry and scene.