I am an anthropologist who studies rural desert California. My current book project, Reclaiming The Desert, examines contemporary land use on the private-public checkerboard of eastern San Bernardino County. Using the lens of political economy and historical and legal anthropology and geography, I studied what the desert became when it was a conservation-oriented place rather than a wasteland. My research draws on more than two years of contemporary participant-observation, interviews, and public records and is complemented by my own extensive archival research at the Huntington Library, National Archives, University of California, and local historical societies. My new research focuses on social understandings property taxes and the tax sale in periurban and rural areas of San Bernardino County.
I am a PhD candidate at the University of California-Berkeley and an Associate Scholar with the Native American Land Conservancy, an intertribal land trust that focuses on protecting and preserving land in Southeastern California. I have also worked with the Mojave Desert Land Trust and the Twentynine Palms Historical Society in the Morongo Basin. I have also worked with the Coachella Valley History Museum as a volunteer archivist and curator. I am an avid desert backpacker, hiker, and runner.