My research and teaching deconstruct commonly held beliefs about education and society. In my teaching, I draw on ethnography, history, and political economy as lenses for understanding the structural underpinnings of social inequalities. By doing this, I challenge widely accepted views predicated on culturalist explanations that often “blame the victim.” I encourage student narratives in the classroom to promote diverse perspectives that enable us to understand more fully the complexities of social life.
My research broadly engages questions concerning how activists mobilize education as a vehicle for envisioning and enacting new futures. One project examines how a school promotes the dual goals of Asian American minority recognition, and multiracial diversity to advance racial equality in education. This work has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the American Educational Research Association, and Penn’s Urban Studies Program. Another project examines democratization movements in Hong Kong that were catalyzed by the announcement of China’s mandated civic and moral education curriculum. My research articulates with the anthropology of education, ethics, migration, and urban studies.