Professor, Department of Geography, University of Washington
Harry Bridges Endowed Chair in Labor Studies Emerita, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Affiliate of the Canadian Studies Center (Jackson School of International Studies), the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies & the West Coast Poverty Center.
NOTE: I am not accepting new graduate students for the 2024/25 academic year
My undergraduate degree (Combined Studies) is from the University of Leicester, UK and my MA and PhD (both in Geography) are from the Ohio State University. Prior to coming to the University of Washington, I was at the University of Toronto. I teach classes on urban geography, the geographies of inequalities and feminist geographies.
My research spans feminist, economic, social and political geographies, particularly in terms of the relationships between care, paid work and the home, and the interconnections between inequalities, social reproduction and the state, primarily in urban North America. I have a long-standing interest in the geographies of care, work and diversity, including the shifting contours of welfare, care migration and the meanings of home associated with neoliberal social policy reforms.
My research is driven by questions about equality, social justice and the relationships between social reproduction, the state, labor markets, and discourses regarding collective versus individual responsibilities. In earlier projects I explored local clerical labor markets and the suburbanization of office work; the gendering of urban spaces and feminist urban politics; parents’ child care strategies and the experiences of live-in domestic workers and nannies. I have an ongoing interest in the interconnections between critical theories, epistemologies and research methods, including the politics and ethics of doing research.
I explore various aspects of the globalization of care work and the ways this knits together the restructuring of care within nation-states, transnational migration and embodiment. Care work is stratified by intersectionality, especially race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender and education. Through care work ‘local’ and transnational systems of gendered and racialized hierarchies, cultural representations and political-economic processes converge in the intimate spaces of bodies and homes as well as institutional settings. I am exploring these ideas in the context of the politics and ethics of recruiting internationally trained nurses alongside the continued devaluing of low-wage domestic workers.
In a series of papers, primarily written with Isabel Dyck (Geography, University of London, Queen Mary), I address the emergence of a neoliberal agenda for home care and on consequential discourses, practices and processes of care. Our empirical work draws from an interdisciplinary project on the home as a site of long-term care in urban and rural locations across Ontario. We investigate home care from the perspective of the paid home care workers – nurses, attendants, and personal support workers, as well as long-term care recipients and their family caregivers. Isabel and I have framed our papers around the materialities of home, risk and care ethics, embodiment and body work, masculinities and migration.
This research explores employment, home-work linkages and socio-economic change in large cities, the social and cultural dimensions of workplace dynamics and the organization of firms. One strand is driven by questions of diversity, social justice and social policy aimed at the workplace. Another strand involves the historical analysis of the constructions of urban femininities in North American white-collar workplaces in the context of social and technological change over the broad sweep of the 20th Century (this work was in collaboration with Kate Boyer, Planning and Geography, Cardiff University).
I am a core and founding member of UW’s Cities Collaboratory (CitiesCollab). CitiesCollab explores the dynamic of cities primarily from social science and humanities perspectives. We developed the Lake Union Laboratory (LULab), a teaching and faculty-student research project focusing on one specific place within Seattle. The teaching component of our collaboration was featured in the UW 2014 Provost’s report on technology and teaching and some of our research appears as our Curating Collaborative Urban Research in the Digital Realm hosted by UW's Simpson Center for the Humanities. In 2015 the CitiesCollab became part of the university-wide initiative Urban@UW.
Geography 342: Geographies of Inequalities - Spring 2024
Geography 476: Women and the City - 2024/2025
Geography 541: Graduate Research Seminar - Feminist Geographies - 2024/2025
GEOG 277: Geographies of Cities This course explores the economic, cultural, social and political dynamics of cities – their location and functions; and internal structure –including economic activities, housing and social geography. Particular emphasis is placed on the US and Canadian experience, although examples will be occasionally drawn from other regions of the world. Explores economic, cultural, social and political dynamics of cities - their location, functions, and internal structure, including economic activities, housing, and social geography. Topics include economic restructuring; suburbanization and urban sprawl; urban planning; inner-city gentrification; and how issues of class, race, and gender are embedded in the geographies of cities.
GEOG 342: Geographies of Inequalities This course considers the geographies of social, political and economic inequalities. The focus will usually be on urban areas, although other spatial scales will also be examined. The course begins with discussions of the theoretical underpinning of ‘inequality’. The remainder of the course builds on these ideas by exploring topics such as the spatial distribution of wealth and poverty, and the geographies of exclusion and discrimination in employment and housing. Particular emphasis is placed on the US and Canadian experience, although some examples are drawn from other regions of the world.
GEOG/GWSS 476: Women and the City (occasionally I teach GEOG 431: Gender and Geography) This course explores the reciprocal relations between gender relations, the layout of cities, and the activities of urban residents. Topics include: feminist theory and geography (women, gender, and the organization of space); women and urban poverty, housing and homelessness; paid employment; geographies of childcare; and women and urban politics. Particular emphasis is placed on the US and Canadian experience, although some examples are drawn from elsewhere.
GEOG 490: The Seattle Region Capstone experience for upper-division students with previous coursework in urban geography and social science research methods. Studies how social/cultural, political, economic historical-geographies are created, sustained, or altered in urban areas, using the Seattle area as our focus. The course has two required components. Participation and leadership in a seminar-style discussion and other activities focusing on assigned readings, and a paper and online exhibit based on independent research project on the Lake Union area. One prior advanced course in qualitative or quantitative methods or research design, and one prior urban geography or inequality course is strongly recommended. Geography 315 is particularly recommended.
GEOG/GWSS 541: Graduate Research Seminar: Feminist Geographies This graduate seminar explores major research themes in feminist geographies. Particular attention is given to the spatialities of gender identities and intersectionality. A typical seminar covers the history of feminist geography since the 1970s, current debates regarding appropriate methodologies in feminist geographies, and feminist geographers’ research around questions to do with the home, gendering everyday spaces, workplaces, the body, the nation and globalization.
GEOG 577: Graduate Research Seminar: Urban Geography: Place, Inequality and Difference This seminar addresses questions of place, urban inequality and social difference with the aim of making sense of why urban inequalities persist and how they operate in and through cities and urban spaces. The role of community activism in American cities is addressed, as is the strategic engagement with existing structures of governance and public policies, along with the ongoing efforts to transform them.
GEOG 525: Advanced Qualitative Methods (I teach this occasionally) Examines why and how qualitative methods can be used to pursue research in geography. Includes considerations of theoretical, ethical, and political issues that arise with qualitative methods. Offers practice in various methods such as ethnography, focus groups, interviewing, discourse and content analyses, narrative analysis, and archival analysis.
Some older papers of note: