I am a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. My dissertation research examines how experimental practices emerging out of the Black diasporic performing arts—including structured collective improvisation, polyvocality, and mutual listening—circulate between abolitionist organizers and performers in Philadelphia and shape the political life of the city. Building on 18 months of fieldwork and archival research, I offer an ethnographic account of the entanglement of performance and social movements in the city, and specifically the ways contemporary abolitionist struggles for a police and prison-free world draw on experimental performance practices in order to challenge and reimagine the carceral state’s foundational notions of individualism, private property, and linear time.

My experience as an experimental musician and activist is embodied knowledge that I bring into the field and into analysis, and I embrace a multimodal approach to ethnography in which knowledge can proliferate in unpredictable and creative ways. I am always collaborating with friends and research participants on zines, performance presentations, art installations, short films, and other expressive forms that embody ways of knowing outside of conventional academic writing.

Recent publications:

Healed By the Beat: Milford Graves and Jean-Daniel Lafontant in Conversation. In Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal, ed. Mark Christman, Celeste DiNucci, and Anthony Elms. Inventory Press. 2022.

How the Possession of Human Remains Led to A Public Reckoning at the Penn Museum, co-written with Kinjal Dave. Hyperallergic. October 2021.

Recent programming:

Organizer. Heritage and Presence, 2022-23 symposium for the Wolf Humanities Center at the University of Pennsylvania. February 24th 2023.

Moderator. Philadelphia Zig Zag: New Jazz Legacies. Performances by Farid Barron All Stars and Hudson River. Presented by the Wolf Humanities Center, Harold Prince Theater at the University of Pennsylvania. September 28th 2022.