I am a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Heritage and Society at UMass
Amherst, a multidisciplinary research, teaching and policy initiative to craft new
approaches to cultural heritage conservation and communication internationally. My
research examines the use of cultural heritage as a political resource for
nation-building, economic development, and urban revitalization in the Caribbean and
Latin America as well as North America. I have published and conducted extensive research
on UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cuba and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and teach
courses on international heritage policy and urban heritage, as well as the Caribbean and
social theory at UMass Amherst. 

I also conduct applied work for the National Park Service on contested cultural
landscapes in U.S. National Parks. One project explores the creation of Mt. Rushmore as a
national icon and ‘Shrine of Democracy’ in the context of early 20th century Westward
expansion, exploring how the site functioned as a ‘contact zone’, in which Anglo-European
settler visions were disrupted historically by local and indigenous forms of knowledge
that reassert the indigenous heritage of the site as a part of the sacred Black Hills. 

In addition, I am involved in the development of an interdisciplinary NSF grant on urban
green space governance in post-Industrial New England cities. In particular, this
research examines how the management of urban green spaces (urban parks, natural areas,
community gardens) affects people’s use of and attachment to natural areas, influencing
biodiversity and practices of environmental stewardship. This interdisciplinary research
seeks to link research in the areas of urban ecology, urban greening and
place/heritage-making as part of an urban environmental agenda, while broadening our
understanding of sustainability. 

As an applied anthropologist, I have also worked with city governments on the sustainable
redevelopment of historic park systems and downtowns. My clients have included cities,
public parks, foundations, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations,
including Philadelphia's Center City District, the nonprofit technology provider
Tech Impact, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. 

I graduated from the University of Chicago and hold a Ph.D. in sociocultural



Contributions to Books


Entrepreneurial Heritage: Historic Urban Landscapes and the Politics of 'Comprehensive Development' in Post-Soviet Cuba (with Maki Tanaka), Urban Heritage, Development and Sustainability: International Frameworks, National and Local Governance (2015)


Reimagining Old Havana: World Heritage and the Production of Scale in Late Socialist Cuba, Deciphering the Global: Its Spaces, Scalings, and Subjects (2007)


100 Papitos in Old Havana’: Entrepreneurial Heritage, ‘Desarrollo Integral’ and Self-Care in Late Socialist Cuba (with Maki Tanaka), 111th American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings (2013)

Cuba as ‘Exception’: UNESCO’s World Heritage Program and the Neoliberal Management of Historic Centers.” (with Maki Tanaka), Center for Heritage and Society, “The Past for Sale? The Economic Entanglements of Cultural Heritage.” (2013)

Co-creating Heritage Landscapes: A topographical inquiry of urban historic centers in late socialist Cuba (with Maki Tanaka), 110th American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings (2012)

Planning Assemblages in the Late Socialist City: Creating and Contesting Utopia in Old Havana, Cuba, 109th American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings, Montreal (2011)

The Future(s) of the Past: The Cultural Politics of Patrimony, Traditionalism and Difference in Late Socialist Cuba, Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies, New York University, "Cuba Futures: Past and Present" (2011)