I'm an academic, activist, and writer.
My research is interdisciplinary and covers the fields of anthropology, sociology and cultural studies and my areas of interest include gender and sexuality, intimacy, subculture, drug use, nighttime economies, migration, deportation and ‘intimate’ ethnography.
I’m interested in the ways in which sexually and socially marginalized people form networks of support and engage in community solidarity and various forms of resistance as a result of the stigma, injustice, structural inequality, and social exclusion they face.
Much of my time is spent hanging out in Cambodia. Over ten years, I have collected stories and conducted research with two main groups of folks: young Cambodian women employed in the sex and entertainment sectors, and male and female deported Cambodian-American refugees, or 'Khmer exiled Americans' (KEAs). I've also conducted London-based research on the queer British-Asian clubbing scene, and the migrant sex industry, as well as on street drug users in New York City.
Overlapping themes addressed in much of my research include resourcefulness, agency and coping strategies, alternative kinship, migration and transnationalism, mobilities and multiplex subjectivities, and the contestation of binaries such as good/bad, foreign/local, inclusion/exclusion.
My activism centers on advocacy for the international recognition of the rights of sex workers and those employed in the sex industry, and social justice for those Cambodian-American refugees who fled the Khmer Rouge genocide era in the 1970s-80s, and are now being forcibly deported from the US to Cambodia (a country many have never stepped foot in) for crimes they committed as teenagers. I am also active in the fight for LGBTQ rights and the queer liberation movement.
I'm currently a full time Professor in the Science Department, School of Liberal Arts, at Berkeley College, NYC, where I teach Human Sexuality; Addiction & Obsession; Drugs & Drug Policy; Discovering Science; and two honors courses: Global Health, and Drugs in NYC - A Health & Safety Approach. I also lecture Sex and Culture through the Anthropology Department at John Jay College, City University of New York, as well as Gender and Sexuality Studies through the Institute of South East Asian Affairs (ISEAA), Chiang Mai University, in the South East Asian Comparative Semester (SEACS) at Paññāsāstra University in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The SEACS program was nominated for the US National 2013 GoAbroad Innovation Awards in the category of 'Innovation in Access & Equity.' I'm also affiliated with the National Development and Research Institutes,Inc (NDRI) in New York City where I've helped analyze drug and sex research data (and where I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Behavioral Science Training in Drug Research Program from 2012-2014).
Phnom Penh cityscape photo banner courtesy of Conor Wall