My current research project concerns the archaeology of contemporary homelessness. I begin with the prospect that modern homelessness is one of the most pressing social and political problems of our time. Several hundred thousand people experience homelessness in the United States each year, and the US Department of Housing, which attempts to count those people, has admitted that their statistics are conservative estimates at best. A recent archaeological study examining material culture associated with homeless communities in Indianapolis has suggested that those who are considered chronically homeless have generally abandoned wage labor and are instead pursuing urban foraging as a subsistence strategy. Karl Marx wrote that “pauperism” such as this is “a condition of capitalist production and of the capitalist development of wealth.” I therefore ask: how do homeless individuals construct alternative communal forms within capitalist society? In order to better understand the structures of homeless communities, I have expanded this archaeological and ethnographic form of inquiry and used it to present evidence of material culture and foraging patterns among the urban homeless near Tampa. Ultimately, this research shows how anthropology can be used to advance a scientific understanding of economic processes and how these affect people. I was awarded the Fathauer Graduate Fieldwork Travel Grant by my department to assist me with this research in 2015. My coursework has included many subjects including theory of applied anthropology, Marx and anthropology, southeastern US archaeology, archaeological theory, archaeological methods, quantitative methods, qualitative research methods, and a special Paleobiology seminar on the "Anthropocene."
I received two bachelor's degrees from University of South Florida: one in anthropology and one in history. I wrote an honors thesis for both the anthropology department and the honors college entitled: "Poverty in Ybor City: The Decreasing Living Standards of Ybor City's Working Class during the Early Twentieth Century." I gathered data on the living spaces of cigar workers living in Ybor City during the first three decades of the twentieth century by georeferencing historic Sanborn fire insurance maps to existing, measurable county parcel information. I was thus able to measure the average square feet occupied by individual family units and how their allotment changed over time. I connected these changes to the history of capitalist development both locally and nationally. I later submitted a manuscript presenting this research to the peer-reviewed journal The Florida Anthropologist, whose editors published it in 2015 under the title "Measuring Historic Living Spaces of Cigar Workers in Ybor City." My coursework included topics such as anthropology of religion, US labor history, Soviet history, European decolonization, theory of history, and anthropological theory.
I received an associate's degree from Hillsborough Community College in Tampa and graduated from the Dr. Lydia Daniel Honors Program. My focus was on history and anthropology with selected topics courses in Irish history, cultural anthropology, witchcraft and popular culture in Early Modern Europe, and British literature. I presented a paper at an honors symposium entitled "Sufism, Hallaj, and the Truth," which examined hidden symbolism within Sufi poetry.