I am a PhD Candidate in Sociology at UC Berkeley.
My dissertation examines the role of large scale infrastructure projects in modern state formation. Today it is taken for granted that states act as promoters of large scale infrastructure projects in the name of “development.” Drawing on historical legislative and administrative records, I use the cases of the Erie Canal, the Transcontinental Railroads, and the Hoover Dam to uncover the American lineages of this governmental rationality. In doing so, I explore how states came to play the central role in making physical territory governable and the nation-state a meaningful spatial container for economy and society, how questions of technology and expertise intersected with questions of the proper balance of what became known as public and private power in a liberal democratic society to generate novel political institutions and ideologies, and how territorial expansion acted as a recurrent source of political contestation. I ask these questions while analyzing the United States within its broader historical and international context–as a simultaneously postcolonial and settler colonial nation that would become a global superpower in the twentieth century–and the contradictions this generated.
I am also an active public sociologist. Recurrent themes that motivate my work more generally are the intersection of society and space and questions about the power dynamics of knowledge and knowledge production. Since 2015, I have worked closely with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project to explore these themes in the context of the San Francisco Bay Area. This work has resulted in the book, Counterpoints: A San Francisco Bay Area Atlas of Displacement and Resistance (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2021).
I also express my commitment to public sociology through my teaching where I seek to empower my students to be socially engaged and critical thinkers. My teaching has been recognized by awards from both the Graduate Division and the Berkeley Undergraduate Sociological Association.
My work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative, the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, and the Tobin Project. My research has been published in ACME: An International Journal of Critical Geographies.
You can download my CV here.
October 22, 2021
December 10, 2021
Daniel Carpenter discusses Democracy by Petition (Harvard University Press, 2021) at the Berkeley Historical Social Science Workshop
Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz discusses Figures of the Future (Princeton University Press, 2021) at the Berkeley Historical Social Science Workshop
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