Assistant Professor of Sociology

Ph.D. Education, Stanford University, 2017
M.Sc. International Development, University of Amsterdam, 2010
B.A. Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, University of Oxford, 2008

Research and Teaching Interests
Sociology of education; global and transnational sociology; civic education; refugees and humanitarian emergencies; international organizations

Research Summary
My research investigates the impact of global cultural principles and organizations on social domains around the world, especially education. Current projects focus on changes to educational curricula wrought by globalization; the cultural construction of human needs in the humanitarian aid sector; and contemporary resistance to global culture and institutions. I also have a long-standing interest in international organizations and the professionals that work for them, which permeates many of my projects. Recent work, for instance, illuminates cross-nationally variant linkages between global and local organizations in cultural diffusion.

Here is a summary of current projects:

The Rise of Education as a Humanitarian Response
This project examines changing understandings of human needs in the humanitarian aid sector, specifically around education. Global responses to humanitarian crises – such as wars and disasters – have recently embraced a novel focus on delivering “emergency education” to affected populations (e.g. refugees). This constitutes a major shift in how the aid community conceives of human needs in crisis and how it envisions the role of education: historically, emergency responses addressed survival-based needs and education was seen as a development, rather than humanitarian, activity. The project analyzes documents, organizational networks, and interviews with aid workers to examine the origins, spread, and implementation of emergency education as a newly constructed humanitarian need.

Cross-national Changes in Educational Curricula
A second, collaborative, project investigates the extent to which globalized ideologies of individualism are reshaping educational curricula worldwide toward greater emphases on individual personhood and rights. Drawing on cross-national quantitative data coded from textbooks, a series of papers illuminate historical trends and cross-national variation in textbook narratives around nationalism, multiculturalism, gender, and individual agency. Related work explores similar questions at the university level, studying the internationalization of study programs at over 17,000 universities worldwide.

Contemporary Resistance to Global Culture and Institutions
A third project (also collaborative) centers on resistance and backlash against world society and global cultural norms in the contemporary era. Much of my work to-date illuminates the impact of global liberal ideologies on societies around the world. After decades of liberal dominance, however, a global anti-liberal backlash appears to be sweeping the world today. Ongoing work with colleagues seeks to understand this developing backlash against long dominant world cultural norms; an initial co-authored paper, for instance, carries out a quantitative cross-national study of various forms of anti-liberal attacks on higher education.