Around the world in 2017


My first EVER sabbatical from school has finally arrived. I am planning to take a trip around the world: Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It has been a long time coming, after paying off student debt, becoming a material minimalist, and sublet-hopping for years, paying down other debts. I’ve gotten to a point where I want to be as free and mobile as possible, not even committing to a year-long lease in an apartment, for fear of sacrificing my summer vacations by being stuck in boring Albany, NY when I could be traveling the world. During the eight months of travel, I’ll combing tourism with work, following a digital nomad lifestyle. I’ll teach two summer courses online, work on revising two articles under contract, collect data for three ongoing ethnographies (tattoos, marijuana, digital nomad women), sketch out one or two article drafts, and immerse myself in Spanish language learning. At least, these are the grand goals at the beginning of the adventure, we will see how reality shrinks the list of accomplishments.

indigenous29 April 2017–13 May. Lima, Peru. [photos] [blog post] The first activity of the journey was attending the Latin American Studies Association. I am just beginning to expand my research projects to include Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as beginning to get serious about my Spanish acquisition. Therefore, it was a pleasure to attend panels in Spanish. I stayed in three different locations, getting a perspective of the city. And I had enough time to balance sightseeing with work, including submitting final grades for the semester.

13 May–17 May. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

17 May–17 June. Montevideo, Uruguay.

17 June–24 June. Mexico City, Mexico.

24 June–?. Las Vegas…

Costa Rica, Jamaica, Miami?


More to come…


Global Cannabis Culture and Gender Research

quality drugsLaws, policies, and cultures are quickly shifting around cannabis consumption as a few countries experiment with legalization, while others maintain a rigidly prohibitionist agenda. Colorado state has dominated the news and popular imagination on representation of legal weed, but it is only the tip of the iceberg within a global landscape. Women have been at the forefront of the shift-in-image for cannabis legalization, from one previously associated with racially-criminalized, or comically-stoner, masculinities. Organizations such as Women Grow have networked professional business women into an industry where they hope it could be “the first billion dollar industry not dominated by men.”  But will this be the case in a future projecting a rapid expansion of legalization to the remaining United States? What are the experiences of women working in the industry; as well as women cannabis consumers, in state both legal and not? How does the experience of women of color differ from that of white women? And what about other countries, such as Latin America, the Caribbean, Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia? I am interested in interviewing both women and men on the topic of how gender issues are manifested in cannabis culture. I am interested in talking to people all over the world, in various countries, in English or en Espanol (formulario de consentimiento, cuestionario). Attached, you will find the Questionnaire,  Information, as well as the Consent Form. Please contact me at


Global Tattooing and Gender Research

tattoo.jpgMy new research project, Global Tattooing and Gender, will continue the work I began in my book Covered in Ink, by extending the perspective of gender issues related to tattoo culture, to countries outside of the United States and Canada. How does the tattoo culture in other countries compare to that of the United States? Do other countries have different gendered experiences for tattoo collectors and artists? How do “developing nations” compare in their tattoo culture to that of post-industrial nations? I am looking for participants who are interested in being interviewed on this topic. Both men and women are invited to talk about gender norms in global tattoo subcultures from their perspective as artists, collectors, or observers. At this stage of the research, I am specifically focused on Latin American (Se habla Espanol) and Caribbean countries and Australia. In the future, I would like to focus on Asian countries. I would also be interested in interviewing folks about tattoos in the U.S. within the Chicanx/Latinx, Black/African American, Asian, or Native American communities. Attached you can find the global tattoo questions for participants as well as an Informed Consent Form. Please do contact me at in order to set up an interview on Skype, phone, or email.

The Outsiders

The_Outsiders_bookThe Outsiders novel turned fifty years old on April 24, 2017. It had been made into a popular 1983 movie by Francis Ford Coppola, as well as a less rated television show. This movie was an important part of my 1980s t.v. watching childhood. The story of parentless boys from the other side of the track–Greasers–sparring with their enemy Socs has resonance for each generation. Combining it with Howard Becker’s sociological text Outsiders, can provide us insight into this phenomenon of labeling, social groupings, and social class. My blog on Sociology in Focus describes these themes in my sociological blog posting, “Fifty Years of Outsiders.”

Pacific Sociology Association 2017

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I presented a paper along with my co-author John Scott called: “Marijuana Policy Liberalization in the Americas and Australia” at the  Pacific Sociology Association conference (Schedule), which took place on April 6-9, 2017 at the Hilton in downtown, Portland, Oregon. This research overviews the drug laws and policies internationally and how the shift from prohibition to decriminalization and legalization of marijuana represents a neoliberal shift in the logic of state approaches to cannabis policy.

The Politics of Difference, A conference in law

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I presented a paper entitled: “Marijuana Policy Contradictions at the International, Federal, and State Level” at The Politics of Difference and the Threshold of Law: A Conference in Law and the Humanities, sponsored by the Liberal Studies Program, University at Albany and Albany Law School. March 31–April 1, 2017. This research exams the what is needed to change at the international drug convention level in order to allow for the legalization of cannabis markets at the federal and state levels in nation-states. It also overviews how Latin American countries are leading the way towards decriminalization of all drug possession in small amounts and the hypocrisy of the United States’ conflicts of state and federal policy and its international responsibility.

Lady Ink Days, Berlin

Lady Ink Days

I was able to attend the all-women tattoo artist convention in Berlin on March 25-26, 2017 and write about it for the Needles and Sins blog. It was my first time at a convention outside of the United States, and of course, a rare one focused solely on women artists. My next research project will focus on women tattooists and collectors outside of the United States, focusing on Latin America, Australia, and Europe for now.