Hey! My name is Daniel.
I’m a doctoral candidate at Freie Universität Berlin’s Graduate School in North American Studies, emphasizing in sociology.
My dissertation regards the cycles of struggle that developed out of the University of California following the financial crisis of 2007/2008. I’m looking at UC San Diego specifically and the contingent of graduate student forces that developed at that campus and the ways they struggled against the neoliberalization of the university. Through an ethnography composed of interviews and archival research, my work asks why this contingent at UCSD had such a hard time transforming neoliberal structures. To answer this, I examine the structural boundaries and dominant political forces they went up against, and the discourses operating and competing at the grassroots that both facilitated and blocked transformative developments.
In examining these cycles, my work not only interrogates the university and its embeddedness into the broader topography of neoliberalism or the ways management deploys difference as a means of recomposing its own strength. It also aspires to shed some much needed light upon the organizational forms, tactical repertoires, and transformative strategies and practices that define contemporary grassroots formations and the way these try to develop solidarities across difference.
While my academic research and teaching focus on the transformations of universities in the United States and the movements that form(ed) around and within them, my interests are broader. That is, I’m interested in questions that define contemporary social struggles. Questions of multi-sectoral solidarity and the ways race and gender are addressed within grassroots articulations. Organizational forms (and the ways they may or may not address pluralisms, representation, and participation), political strategies and practices are also critical to my work. And lastly, the development of communicative networks and relays, and the broader communicative and organizational infrastructures that facilitate movements to blossom and grow. At the center of all my research stands an attempt at to theorize the possibilities, openings, blockages, and questions of societal transformation.
Outside (and within) academia, I maintain political involvement in a number of projects and organizations. Currently, I am most engaged in Solidarity City Berlin – a political endeavor that attempts to bridge together multiple organizations towards a common political municipal horizon – a kind right-to-the-city + sanctuary city project.
*all artwork by the great Sam Wallman*