Department of Geography
University of Washington
My work is focused on the regulation of space, largely through the work of law and of the uniformed police. All of my projects are deeply qualitative, and use ethnography and interviews to probe the deeper processes and meanings that structure social life. My interest in law and social control is underscored by my joint appointment in the Law, Societies, and Justice Program , an interdisciplinary undergraduate program whose faculty span the gamut of the social sciences. Indeed, interdisciplinary inquiry is a cornerstone of my approach to research and teaching.
My previous research examined the spatial tactics of the police and their relations with the community. My first book, Policing Space: Territoriality and the Los Angeles Police Department (1997, University of Minnesota Press), was based upon extensive ethnographic observations in Los Angeles. I used that data to explain how the police socially construct and regulate the spaces they patrol. My second, Citizens, Cops and Power: Recognizing the Limits of Community(2006, University of Chicago Press), examined community policing as practiced in Seattle. That work stemmed from ethnographic observations of the Seattle Police Department and extensive interviews with Seattle citizens. My most recent book, Banished: The New Social Control in Urban America, (2009, Oxford University Press) is co-authored with Katherine Beckett. We use the book to document a range of new social control mechanisms deployed in American cities, all of which ban certain individuals from large swaths of the city.
My interest in qualitative methods is evidenced, in part, by my work co-editing The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Geography
I am currently in the early stages of a new project that will examine the implementation of the Endangered Species Act to help preserve the Southern Resident Killer Whales who inhabit the waters of the Salish Sea. This project represents a slight shift in research direction away from urban social control and toward the regulation of the environment.
I teach a range of courses, including: LSJ 200, Introduction to Law, Societies, and Justice; Geog 378/LSJ 378, Policing the City; Geography 474/LSJ 474, Geography and Law; and Geog 574, Geography, Law and Social Control. The latter course is for graduate students, and its focus shifts from quarter to quarter based upon instructor and student interests. All of my courses are focused on productive and collegial interaction amongst all class members.
My curriculum vita provides more information about my publications and professional history.