Appointed As

Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


Columbia University

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Anthropology, Northwestern University

Dissertation Abstract

"Raising California Together: Race, Gender, and the Cultural Politics of Childcare"

"Raising California Together", an ethnography of licensed family childcare homes, contributes significant theoretical and empirical knowledge to our understanding of workfare, immigration and education institutions that shape the lives of the youngest subject-citizens – and of those who care for them. I draw from more than four years of participant observation and semi-structured interviews with childcare providers who provide welfare-to-work subsidized care to children, ostensibly in order for parents to participate in the low-wage labor force. The dissertation follows providers’ multi-year efforts to unionize and also informally interviewed parents, organizers and agency officials.
The professionalization of licensed family childcare reveals the ways in which interlocking public and private organizations constitutes an intimate infrastructure that disciplines kin and non-kin caregivers and conscripts women of color to shape future “productive” citizens. U.S. childcare workers find their value and labor measured vis-à-vis anxieties about global capitalist competition and “demographic shifts” whereby non-white U.S. youth – as early as infancy - are represented as both the economic safety net for, and existential cultural threat to aging white aging populations in California.
"Raising California Together" contributes emerging knowledge on state and market-driven constructions of race, childhood, citizenship, and motherhood as key conceptual markers that circumscribe culture debates and social policy in the U.S. With the increasing scientific management of education and workfare, “culture” is deployed by U.S. state institutions and corporations to discipline and extract value from racialized and gendered bodies. To that end, cultural determination and intimate practices serve as a critical ideological terrain for Black women and Latinas to organize a labor movement that contests racial and gendered structural violence and produces new narratives of a changing U.S.