I am privileged to have one of the best jobs in the world. I received a PhD in 1997 from York University in Toronto and have been teaching in the Sociology Department at Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) since 2003. What I love most about my work is the ongoing learning that it requires. I am a perpetual student of society, and the process of learning is facilitated not only through the activity of teaching, but also very dynamically through writing and research.
In my career, I have moved through a few areas of specialization. Starting out with the Sociology of Education, I then developed an avid interest in Critical Whiteness Studies where I remained for many years. In 2011, I shifted to Romani Studies, a focus that continues today. The undergraduate courses I teach are Social Problems, Applied Sociology, Race and Racialization, and the Sociology of Health. In the past, I taught Qualitative Research Methods, and a few other courses, too.
My approach to research is qualitative and increasingly, community-engaged. This means that I spend a good deal of time listening carefully to people's experiences, recording interviews, making observations, and just hanging out at all kinds of places like community centres, homes, meetings, even music performances. For me it comes down to building human relationships. That's the nitty-gritty of it. More abstractly, I would say that my overarching goal is to facilitate social change and the improvement of conditions for human dignity. As a result, my work stretches well beyond the university campus. I am happiest in identifying myself as a writer, a community-based researcher, an advocate, and an activist. As a teacher, I hope I convey that passion to my students who may feel inspired to explore what sociology can be when it is applied to understanding people and their communities.