Class of 1943 Career
Development Assistant Professor

Department of Political Science


I am a political theorist with an interest in the interpretive social sciences.

My research examines the state as it is experienced by those who interact with it and those who act in its name. My first book, When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency (Harvard University Press, 2017), probes the everyday moral life of street-level bureaucrats. My second book project, provisionally titled Institutional Atmospherics: The Interior Architecture of the Welfare State (under contract with Harvard University Press), reconstructs and interrogates the evolution of the interior architecture of welfare offices. Along with Duncan Bell, I have  co-edited a volume of essays on Political Theory and Architecture (Bloomsbury, 2020). 

To tackle these topics, I practice a form of political theory that aspires to combine the analytic rigor of philosophy with the de-familiarizing insights and problematizing re-descriptions that are the hallmark of phenomenology and ethnography. 

My work has appeared in American Ethnologist, the American Political Science Review, 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 will be on sabbatical at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study) in Berlin. Alongside my position at MIT, I am also a visiting professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Aalborg. 

I convene the MIT Workshop in Social and Political Theory