I am a writer and scholar with an enduring love for LA. My research focuses on urban inequality, religion, death/dying, gender, and mental health. I'm an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam. I earned my PhD in sociology from UCLA.
My first book, Believing in South Central: Everyday Islam in the City of Angels (2021, University of Chicago Press), draws on more than six years of ethnographic research in an African American-led mosque in South Central Los Angeles. I examine what believers do within an Islamic framework to combat poverty, joblessness, violence, and racial injustice. At its core, the book is about the importance of religious community. It's been reviewed in Social Forces, Sociology of Religion, and Reading Religion, and featured on New Books in Islamic Studies. Findings from this project also appear in Social Problems, Gender & Society, City & Community, and more.
My next book is a deep investigation of the lives of the unclaimed dead in Los Angeles, their families, the workers charged with tending their bodies, and the strangers who show up to mourn them. It aims to spark a national conversation about where we’re headed as a society, and what we owe each other in life and in death. The book is co-authored with Stefan Timmermans (UCLA) and will be published with Crown. Findings from this project also appear in American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Sociological Methods and Research, and PloS one. This work has been featured in a number of news outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR's "This is Uncomfortable" podcast, LA Magazine, and more.