I study demographic change and regional development, especially as they impact the lives of Black people and shape the possibilities of Black places. That set of interests requires some expertise in a number of areas: critical race theory, placemaking, racial identity and epistemology, political economy, and social demography. It also means having some familiarity with a number of methodologies: ethnography, oral history, historical archival techniques, and participatory mapping.
Another way to say what I do is, I try and answer the questions, "how did this place get like this (for better or worse), and what have local people had to say about it?" Answering those questions often means spending lots of time in a place—a town or community, for instance—talking with local people there, and combing through whatever I can find in the archives. It means trying to map social theory onto everyday life.
Here are some other things that I am involved with or have done work on: I wrote a chapter featured in the book The New Black Sociologists, I am working on a collaborative book project (Ghosts of Segregation) with award-winning photographer Rich Frishman, and I am the co-editor of the journal Sociology of Race and Ethnicity.