My research sits at the intersection of studies of economy, environment, labor, and development. My first book, The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India is an ethnography of how global movements for a more ethical capitalism intersect with regional subnational agitations. The Darjeeling Distinction won the 2014 Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize. An article in Agriculture and Human Values on Geographical Indication won the 2014 Anthropology & Environment Society Junior Scholar Award.
My current book project, Market Qualities: Indian Tea and the Composition of Value, examines how quality became a discrete category of knowledge and value from the final decades of British rule in India to the early years of Indian independence. It explores how a tension between taste and the market came to be embodied in the experts who evaluate tea's flavor; the buyers who purchase tea at auction in India; the blenders who create flavors tailored to specific markets; the scientists who study and manipulate tea’s chemical contents; and, finally, mass-market black tea itself. Another project engages the intersection of environmental justice and territorial sovereignty in Darjeeling, focused on the Gorkhaland movement.
Before coming to Brown, from 2012-2015, I was a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012.