Human Geography

Research interests

My research lies at the intersection of the politics of indigenous knowledge, rural development, social mobilisation, and environmental governance, and it maintains a commitment to fostering more equitable and self-determined forms of development. Previous research projects have addressed three themes in particular:

1. Neoliberalization and the politics of ecological knowledge-in-practice: My research in Nepal and Peru, in particular, explored how (post)neoliberal re-structuring intersects with existing institutions for development, particularly those which articulate situated ecological knowledges in practice. In Nepal, this approach revealed the scalar politics of adapting to climate change; in Peru, my research uncovered the professionalization of indigenous knowledge-sharing practices and the effects that such professionalization has upon local livelihoods and ecologies.

2. Re-socializing the economy – collective organization and the commons: I am interested in processes of re-socializing and re-democratizing neoliberal development. I have explored this theme at the continental scale in Latin America, building on my research Brazil and Peru. My research in Brazil focused on issues of environmental justice among informal recyclers cooperatives, and in Peru I explored the role of associations of rural producers and expert knowledge bearers in reclaiming the economy for the benefit of Andean socio-ecologies.

3. Decolonizing water governance – scalar conflict and sovereignty: My research in Nepal revealed how the materiality of water and its flows intersect with existing governing institutions to structure livelihood adaptation options. Recently, I have developed this interest in the uneven politics of governing water by focussing on water governance reforms in British Columbia and the effects that those reforms have for autonomous decision-making (sovereignty) over water among First Nations. Overlapping with my above interests in broader processes of political-economic restructuring, I am also currently working on a project that explores the intersection of the human right to water in Ghana and South Africa with geographically differentiated patterns of neoliberalism.

These three themes have shaped my identity as a development geographer and they will inform my future research programme. Methodologically, I have approached these themes through community-engaged scholarship, meaning that my work addresses the ethical entanglements of conducting research in communities that are variably geopolitically positioned and which are characterized by high degrees of inequality and power imbalances. This approach is based on a variety of forms of engagement, from grounded participatory methods (e.g. my work in Brazil and Nepal) to in-depth ethnographies (research in Peru). 

Biography

I moved to Melbourne in 2017, by way of Vancouver in British Columbia (Canada), where I was most recently a post-doctoral fellow in the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Before that I compelted my PhD and MA in geography at UBC and the University of Victoria, respectively.

In conducting my research, I have worked in places as varied as the urban 'favelas' of São Paulo, the foothills of Nepal's Himalayas, the Sierra Sur of the Peruvian Andes, and rural British Columbia in Canada.  

Monash teaching commitment

2017:

APG5628 Doctrines of Development (Master of International Development Practice stream) - semester 1

APG5627 Research in Political ecology (Master of Envrionment and Sustainability stream) - semester 2. 

Supervision interests

Broadly, I welcome applications from anyone interested in issues of: international development, poverty and inequality; political ecology and environmental justice. This might include research topics in areas such as:

  • Political economy and political ecology of development in Latin America.
  • The politics of indigenous knowledge and professionalization.
  • Indigenous societies, mining, and water.
  • Livelihood adaptation, resilience, and transformation.
  • Alternative economies. 

ID: 20889689