My research interests concern the relationship between epistemology, justice and how individual and communities resist injustice.
My 2015 book, The Limits of Knowledge, provides an understanding of what pragmatist feminist theories look like in practice through using case studies to demonstrate some of the particular ways that dominant scientific and medical practices fail to meet the health needs of marginalized groups and communities. Examples include a community action group fighting environmental injustice in Bayview Hunters Point, California, one of the most toxic communities in the US; gender, race, age, and class biases in the study and diagnosis of endometriosis; a critique of Evidence-Based Medicine; the current effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese women and children; and pediatric treatment of Amish and Mennonite children.
I am also co-editing a book with Heidi Grasswick, Middlebury College, tentatively titled Making the Case: Feminist and Critical Race Theorists Investigating Case Studies. Making the Caseprovides a forum for critical assessments of the effectiveness of case study approaches for feminist and critical race theorists, provides examples of the pluralism of the approaches in this area, and shows the deep connections between case generated work in epistemology and philosophy of science and social justice.
My current research project is a co-written paper with a group of men incarcerated at London Correctional Facility and current and former Wittenberg University students. Our paper, “An Epistemology of Incarceration: Constructing Knowing on the Inside” (philoSOPHIA forthcoming) is written from the perspective and insights of people who are currently incarcerated and from people who have been in a working, academic relationship with them for the past two years. The paper explores the limitations and achievements of the epistemic structure of the lives of incarcerated people and puts forth the ways that an epistemology of incarceration is formed as a resistant epistemology such that people make knowledge and meaning for themselves even under conditions of incarceration.
Since 2011 I have been teaching as part of the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Through this program I take 15 Wittenberg University students to have class at London Correctional Institution with 15 men who are incarcerated. I have taught The Art of Living Ethically, The Many Faces of Justice, Gender and Global Justice, and Knowing Bodies in this format. All students do the same work in these classes and all student received Wittenberg University credit for these courses. The inside students (those students who are incarcerated) are able to apply this credit toward their two or four year degrees. Here is a link to a Wittenberg Magazine article about an earlier version of The Art of Living Ethically that was taught at The Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.
I also teach a course called Science in Social Context. In 2014 we completed a project-based learning experience in which we studied the Tremont City Barrel Fill, an U.S. EPA Superfund Site. We met with the U.S. EPA, a community action group, People for Safe Water and held a public display of our research to provide information to our community. Over 200 community members attended.
In 2016 I am teaching in Wittenberg, Germany, directing our Wittenberg in Wittenberg Program, one of Wittenberg University's flagship international study programs through which Wittenberg University students spend a semester studying in Wittenberg, Germany, the birthplace of the Protestant Reformation
Much of my community engagement is done through my teaching in which I integrate engagement between students and the broader community. Much of this can be seen in my Inside-Out teaching and my Science and Social Context course. I don't view these as community service, but instead as means for all of us to be challenged to think critically, carefully and compassionately immersed within our local and global communities.
In 2011 a group of my Inside-Out students, myself, and community members started a restorative justice project, called The Restorative Justice Initiative. For this program we trained 43 community members in restorative justice practices. This training was funded by the Clark County Juvenile Court,_ Project Jericho, and Wittenberg University's Hagen Center for Civic and Urban Engagement. It was led by the International Institute for Restorative Justice. The community members that were trained work in the juvenile courts, schools, at Wittenberg University, in social services, and in local schools.