Class of 1943 Career Development Associate Professor of Political Science, MIT (


I am a political theorist with an interest in ethnographic methods. My research centers on how the state interacts with citizens at the moment of service provision.

My first book, When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency (Harvard University Press, 2017), probes the  moral life of street-level bureaucrats, the frontline public service workers who serve as the everyday face of the state. My second book project, provisionally titled Institutional Atmospherics: The Interior Architecture of the Welfare State (under contract with Harvard University Press), looks at the spaces in which we meet these bureaucrats. It reconstructs and  interrogates the evolution of the architecture of welfare offices in the long twentieth century. Along with Duncan Bell, I have co-edited a volume of essays on Political Theory and Architecture (Bloomsbury, 2020). 

Here are three recent papers:
(Annual Review of Political Science, 2022)
(American Review of Political Science, 2022, with Jasmine English)
(in Political Theory and Architecture, 2020).

My work has appeared in American Ethnologist, the American Political Science Review, the Annual Review of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Contemporary Political Theory, and Grey Room. I have also contributed essays to The Atlantic, the Boston Review, and The New York Times

Prior to joining MIT, I was a junior research fellow at Christ’s College, Cambridge and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard and hold a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. In 2021-22, I was a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin. 

I convene the MIT Workshop in Social and Political Theory