Most of my career has been focused on the political economy of capitalism—very broadly defined. A bit more on that below. For the last seven years or so I have had an interest in sonic geographies as an experimental space for human becoming. This has finally taken the form of my most recent book, Blind Joe Death's America: John Fahey, the Blues, and Writing White Discontent (Univ of North Carolina Press, 2021). A quick internet search will tell you who John Fahey was. The book is an exploration of countercultural and new left adjacency in the 1960s and 70s U.S., in Fahey's prose and musical works. The book asks, when the need for social change is so clear, what is it that keeps the person who recognizes the need from joining in the struggle? What affects do they recruit to shore up their reticence? And how is this itself caught up in the history of affect in postwar America?
Stepping way back, the background to most of my research is an interest in the diverse manifestations of capitalism and popular (or not so popular) expressions to move beyond capitalism. The diversity of these manifestations extends to the challenge of conceptualizing and representing what capitalism even is and what sort of value undergirds it. The broadest framing of this interest is my book Value in Marx: The Persistence of Value in a More-Than-Capitalist World (Univ of Minnesota Press, 2013).
Additionally, I have interests in the history and teaching of geographic thought. (See the edited volume I published in 2009 with Marv Waterstone, Geographic Thought: A Praxis Perspective.) I teach in that area, as well as in urban geography, social-cultural geography, and Marx's political economy. My regional focus is on the United States. If you glance at the list of publications below you'll see some of the other topics and themes that have grabbed my attention. For example, I have long had a fascination with narrative film as a locus of social and cultural critique, and taught our City in Film course a number of times. I've especially enjoyed thinking with and writing about David Fincher's film adaptation of "Fight Club," from the standpoint of how it represents and challenges capitalist value.
- Ph.D.: Geography, University of California-Berkeley, 1992
- Post-capitalist politics
- Value theory of labor
- Marxist cultural critique