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Research

The Heart of South Central: Youth Resistance and Gender Ideologies in Carceral Los Angeles

My dissertation project makes theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on masculinity, youth criminalization, social movements, urban and community sociology, and intersectionality. Drawing on interviews, survey data, and four years of participant observations, I examine how carceral violence, community-based youth organizations, and social movements shape (and are, in turn, shaped by) the lives of inner-city Black and Latino young men. As such, my research addresses the following strands: (1) ethnographic accounts of Black and Latino manhood and gender ideologies amid carceral violence and social movements against it, (2) Black and Latino young men’s understanding of interlocking axes of race, gender, sexuality, class, and age, (3) organizational, intersectional, cultural, and community-based practices that inform Black and Latinx gender ideologies, and (4) the organizational, cultural, and intersectional strategies Black and Latino young men organizers and activists adopt in their efforts to decriminalize youth of color.

Schooling and Carceral Logics

Drawing on different cases from 2010 to the present, this project examines how carceral logics operate in school board meetings and organizational responses to abolitionist youth movements and demands. Moreover, it explores the relationship between carceral logics, schools, youth, and anti-blackness.

Mapping Youth Power in California

Since 2016, I have worked on several projects that examine youth of color organizing and civic engagement across California. Informed by a community-engaged approach—which includes undergraduate and high school students from the communities we study—this research draws on mixed-method approaches to examine how youth of color across the state impact social change, youth voter engagement, trauma and healing informed practices, personal growth and well-being, critical civics education, and political identity. Reports can be found at https://dornsife.usc.edu/pere/bhc-youth-leadership/

Community Based Participatory Research

By involving community members at multiple levels and incorporating and validating multiple sources of knowledge, I have co-created community-based participatory research projects with youth organizations in Los Angeles and the Student Success Equity Research Center at UCSC. These projects have centered on addressing the well-being of college students and youth of color. As such, I have mentored, trained, and published with first-generation college students and high school students.

Campus Racial Climate and Hispanic Serving Institutions

My prior research includes examining campus racial climates on two university campuses designated as Hispanic Serving Institutions. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, these studies examined how students experience and perceive what I refer to as “campus racial microclimates.”

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