Faculty Research Overview

Michele Adams

My primary research interests lie in family and gender, particularly as related to relationship development and dissolution. Because family tends to act as a bridge between the individual and the larger community, my research examines reciprocal impacts between the two. My recent and ongoing research projects include a socio-historical examination of marriage and family promotion movements, a study of relationships formed through internet dating sites, and an investigation of how child custody determinations are made in and around the context of allegations of domestic violence.

Richard Ager
My research interests are in substance abuse, treatment outcome, family practice, and teaching/training counselors in evidence-based practices. I am the director of the Porter Cason Institute which provides training in advanced family practice to students, faculty & community practitioners. My current research work focuses on adapting an evidence-based practice employed in substance abuse to intimate partner violence treatment.

Fred Buttell 
My research interests lay in intimate partner violence. Specifically, I am interested in how we can make communities safer, so I investigate aspects of community-based batterer intervention programs to see whether they are working and for whom. I also work actively on policy issues affecting New Orleans, serving on the mayor's task force on domestic violence and participating in projects at the Tulane Law School Domestic Violence Clinic.

Richard Campanella
As a geographer, I research, map, characterize, and explain spatial patterns.  Specifically, I study the past and present-day physical and human geography of greater New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana, using GIS and remote sensing as tools. Areas of expertise include relationships between topographic elevation and residential settlement patterns, reconstruction of historical ethnic distributions in cities, and trends and patterns in post-Katrina New Orleans. My books include 'Lincoln in New Orleans,' 'Delta Urbanism,' 'Bienville's Dilemma,' 'Geographies of New Orleans,' and others.

Xiaojin Chen
My research interests focus on the interaction among individual development, neighborhood characteristics, and historical time in shaping people's criminal trajectories and transitions. I am currently involved in two projects, "Community Policing in Guangzhou, China", which studies how community characteristics, such as neighborhood collective efficacy, affect community crime rates, and "Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior among Left-behind Children in Rural China", which explores the effects of urbanization and rural-to-urban immigration on children's life trajectories in rural China.

Joel A. Devine
My current research is focused on cinematic representation and cities, particularly as it relates to the inter-connected processes of place-making and place-identity.  Using New Orleans as a case study, I am exploring how the city and culture of New Orleans figure prominently as both a character and context in feature-length entertainment films by examining the production, reproduction, and transformation of the city's culture and its cinematic expression across numerous film genres and a body of about 150 films produced since the 1930s.

Reggie Ferreira
My research interests include community disaster resilience, social vulnerability and the impact of disasters on special needs populations. Particular interest is in how resources allocation determines social vulnerability and resilience of communities and individuals towards disasters.

Charles R. Figley
For more than 30 years I have studied human stress and the systems within which stress is experienced and manifested. This varies from biomarkers of individuals at various human development cycles and circumstances within the field of psychoneuroimmunology, to families within particular contexts, various communities -- both places and people -- and larger systems like cities that are struggling with traumatic events.

Keith Finlay
I am an applied labor economist with interests in public policy. Research in labor economics examines employment, training, and the determination of wages, but labor economists increasingly study a broader set of topics related to the production of human capital such as schooling and healthy behaviors, and the allocation of our time to activities other than compensated work such as fertility and criminality. My research broadly concerns the human capital investments and labor market outcomes of individuals of low socioeconomic status. My main research examines external effects of incarceration -- or effects of incarceration that impact individuals, communities, or institutions -- beyond the imprisoned individuals themselves. My other research interests are in program evaluation and econometrics and general topics in human capital investments.

Guadalupe García
Her research interests include colonial cities and subjects, border spaces, and contemporary social movements and revolution. She is currently revising her first book manuscript, tentatively entitled “Beyond the Walled City: Race and Exclusion in Colonial Havana.”  The manuscript explores how colonial Havana was imagined, planned and developed from its sixteenth-century origins onward.  It highlights how local, political conflicts over urban space reveal racial conflicts and Caribbean uncertainties and aims to illustrate the importance of colonial ideologies in the production of urban space and the centrality of race and racial exclusion as an organizing ideology of urban life in the Americas.  The manuscript connects colonial urban practices to contemporary debates on urbanization, the policing of public spaces, and the urban dislocation of black and ethnic populations in the Americas. García is also working on a collaborative book project currently in the early research stages.  The project explores the popular consumption of socialist revolutions and the ways in which public, visual representations of revolutionary movements imagine and respond to issues of mass tourism and globalization.  The project’s focus on post-1959 Cuba brings together García’s interests in Cuba, revolutions, and globalization.

Kevin Fox Gotham
My research interests in real estate and housing markets, urban redevelopment policy, gentrification, race and ethnicity, and the political economy of tourism.  I am currently writing a book with Miriam Greenberg (University of California-Santa Cruz) on the federal response to the 9/11 and the Hurricane Katrina disasters (under contract with Oxford University Press).  Previous publications: Race, Real Estate and Uneven Development (2002, SUNY Press), Authentic New Orleans (2007, NYU Press), Critical Perspectives on Urban Redevelopment (2001, Elsevier Press), and over 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on housing policy, racial segregation, urban redevelopment, and tourism. Link to personal website: http://www.tulane.edu/~kgotham/gotham.html

Yuki Kato
My primary research interest is in the relationship between built environments and individuals/groups with a particular focus on social inequality. My ongoing project in Baltimore, MD, investigates how the urban residents define neighborhood boundaries, based on ethnographic observations and interviews. The project aims to contextualize the definition of "neighborhood," as the term is used too often without critical examination of who, what, or where is part of a neighborhood. My new project is a study of urban farming and neighborhood recovery in New Orleans. The project explores the role of the emerging popularity of urban farming in the city in the Post-Katrina (re)building efforts.

Carl Kendall
As a medical anthropologist working in public health my work focuses on diseases with important behavioral, social and cultural components.  These include HIV, leprosy, and maternal and childhood diseases. Recent work includes using social networks to reach populations most-at-risk for HIV, especially men who have sex with men and drug users.  Following two rounds of national surveillance for HIV among MSM in Brazil, my colleagues and I are developing linked prevention and treatment interventions. 

Sally J. Kenney
My research is on women judges and judifical selection, and I have worked with the National Association of Women Judges, an organization that works on many urban problems such as domestic violence, drug courts, and the needs of incarcerated women. I hope to begin working on women in prison and with organizations that serve incarcerated women.

J. Celeste Lay
My research generally examines political behavior in the United States. It currently focuses on the influence of place in the context of political socialization, specifically how growing up in ethnically diverse communities compares to growing up in homogeneous places. In other research, I look at campaigns and elections, voting behavior and public opinion and have written about New Orleans elections.

Christopher Oliver
My research interests are in the area of urban political ecology, urban and environmental sociology, and issues regarding urban development and state policies. My past research focuses on issues of environmental pollution and cleanup in both large metropolitan areas and smaller urban centers with an emphasis on federal and state policies and the regulation of the oil and gas industry as well as the use of technological innovation to mitigate and remediate pollution. Additionally I’m interested in the relationship between state policies, private sector investment, and economic development and its consequences on both environmental conditions and localized issues of employment and development. More recently I’ve been exploring issues of urban development (“gentrification”) as related to housing policy and economic development (such as the proximity of public housing to environmentally polluted sites). My 2014 book (along with co-authors Thomas Janoski and David Luke) “The Structural Causes of Unemployment” (Polity Press) detailed the processes associated with changing global, national, and regional labor markets as a consequence of shifts in corporate management, technology and automation, global finance, and state fiscal and labor policies.

Vicki A. Mayer
My work has looked broadly at how the ways people make and consume media affects their social identities and vice-versa.  This has led me to do research broadly on media industries and policy, media labor and production, media audiences and consumption, alternative media, mediated performances, cultural geography and cultural economy.  My current projects examine the history and geography of Hollywood South in terms of production labor and incentive policies.  I direct a digital humanities project called MediaNOLA and edit the peer-reviewed journal Television & New Media

Jade Miller
My research program deals with the political economy of creative production and cultural industry development. I am particularly interested in creative industries in the context of urban and regional agglomeration, including cultural industries policy from the micro to the macro level. My current research deals with the relationships between clusters of intense cultural productivity and the global cultural industry networks that circulate and generate profits from this content.

Aubrey Spriggs Madkour
My research interests lie in social contextual influences on adolescent health behaviors, with a special emphasis on schools, neighborhoods, and social norms. In my current research projects, I examine changes in adolescent health in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina; determinants of adolescent sexual behavior across Western developed nations; and neighborhood determinants of adolescent health behavior.

Douglas Meffert
My current research focuses on urban and coastal adaptation and mitigation to climate change and disasters.  My particular interest is in the use of natural systems to promote sustainability in urban and deltaic systems and how social-ecological interactions and local governance maximize ecosystem services promote best practices and institutionalization of resilient and sustainable systems.

Laura Murphy  
I research and teach at the intersection of population, environment, development, and socio-technical change. My fieldwork in Kenya examines urban- rural linkages and capability-enriching dimensions of mobile phones, gardens, and HIV/AIDS across dynamic agricultural and built landscapes.  I have a background in engineering, rural livelihoods, and planning, and have worked in small towns and mega-cities on three continents. Urban areas need to be shaped by design by teams to provide livable, safe, and culturally rich habitats for the world.

Bruce Raeburn
My research interests include the origins and early development of jazz in New Orleans with an emphasis on community-based neighborhood demographics and the convergence of amateur and conservatory pedagogical traditions; the contemporary New Orleans brass band scene; and jazz historiography.

J. Emmanuel Raymundo
My research interests are centered on populations representative of economic, cultural and viral "contact" through certain sites and places of assemblages, associations and congregations for these suspect, suspicious and dangerous bodies. Breaking down the city into ever smaller locales for surveillance from hospital wards to refugee boats, from ports to citizenship courts are the sites through which my interests in postcolonial theory, culture, literature and science intersect and take material shape. My general research interests investigate how discrepant, marginalized populations bring together different parts of the world through a cartographic map based on perceptions of danger or safety or health rather than formal  citizenship that tests and exceeds the boundaries of national sovereignty.

Carol Reese
Trained as an art historian, my research methodology has focused recently on interrogating the role of "images" and "representations" in 20th century urbanization in Latin America. I have asked how the nature of a given city's "modernizing" identity was formed and communicated through them, as I conducted research in three highly urbanized Latin American capitals: Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and Panama. In these case studies, I examine the urban dimensions of architecture and planning as they relate not only to concepts of "modernism" and "modernity," but also to those of trans-national exchange and discourse, specifically national self-promotion in the international marketplace of ideas and capital investment. In North America, my current research focuses on what I have termed "Jim Crow urbanism," or the ways in which legally bolstered traditions of segregation shaped U.S. urban—particularly residential—environments in the first half of the 20th century.

Matt Sakakeeny
His research explores the intersection of music with race, economics, and politics, particularly in the performance of African American music. His dissertation, “Instruments of Power: New Orleans Brass Bands and the Politics of Performance,” considers the brass band as a powerful symbol of local black culture. Research in New Orleans was facilitated by a fieldwork grant from the National Science Foundation and a writing fellowship from the Whiting Foundation. Matt has published in the journals Ethnomusicology, Current Musicology, Space and Culture, Allegro, and The Jazz Archivist,  contributed to Mojo and Wax Poetics magazines, and filed reports for public radio's All Things Considered, Marketplace,  and WWOZ's Street Talk . He first moved to New Orleans as the co-producer of the public radio program American Routes  and he continues to serve as Senior Contributing Producer.

Kenneth Schwartz
My applied research explores the constructive force that progressive urban design can play in rebuilding cities focusing on community-building and empowerment.  I explore and promote the integration of land-use with innovative transportation strategies through a wide variety of planning and design projects for communities across the Eastern seaboard.  With my firm, Community Planning and Design (and my partner Judith Kinnard FAIA), we have completed numerous commissions including a major mixed-income redevelopment strategy for a 970 unit public housing site in Richmond, Virginia.

Nick Spitzer
Folklorist Nick Spitzer is professor of anthropology and American studies in Tulane’'s School of Liberal Arts. He is also the founding producer and host of public radio'’s American Routes, the weekly two-hour program devoted to vernacular musicians, music, cultures and communities from a New Orleans/Gulf South perspective heard nationwide. Spitzer'’s research and teaching interests include the expressive culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South; cultural creolization; field methods in documentary arts; and American public culture policy.  In the Spring 2012 Nick teaches “Ethnography of Performance in New Orleans and French Louisiana: Music, Mardi Gras, Cuisine and Craft.” CCC graduate students who want to emphasize the centrality of culture in the life of urban communities are encouraged to take the course.  The following Fall we focus on field interviewing and the arts of cultural documentation  and representation in "Cultural Conversation as Cultural Conservation."

Catherine Taylor
My research is aimed at informing primary prevention strategies to reduce violence in communities and within families. Violence, and related adverse childhood experiences, can exact an enormous toll on a young child's neuro-cognitive and social-emotional development; such early toxic stress exposure is linked with increased risk for some of the most intractable and prevalent public health problems of our time. My research has a particular focus on how to shift social norms linked with child maltreatment, such as the use of corporal punishment and common aggression between partners, and engage community health professionals, such as pediatricians and religious leaders, that influence parenting.

Tania Tetlow
I focus on domestic violence law and policy, and direct a Clinic in which law students represent survivors in family law court, helping them get divorces, custody of their kids and protective orders.  I also work to educate the local criminal justice system, cops, prosecutors and judges, on the complexities of family violence.  My research focuses on "discriminatory acquittal," the unconstitutionality of jury discrimination against crime victims based on their race or gender.

Katherine Theall
My research programs focus on understanding and addressing the social and biological mechanisms that mediate racial and socioeconomic disparities in women's health across the life course.  My particular interest is how community and other contextual stress-buffering (e.g., social capital) and stress-producing environments (e.g., alcohol environments, crime, poverty, segregation and inequality) contribute to health disparities, as well as how we can utilize such environments in community-level prevention efforts. I am currently conducting a rural community-level social network intervention to address substance use, mental health, and HIV stigma and risk; while initiating new multilevel research on cumulative stress exposure on multiple contextual levels (individual, family, school and neighborhood) and its impact on markers of allostatic load or physiological dysregulation.    

Mark J. VanLandingham  
My recent research focuses on social and demographic change in Southeast Asia, especially those changes that are brought about by modernization and urbanization. I also have a strong interest in how immigrants from that part of the world fare in the U.S. Since Hurricane Katrina, I have been following re-population trends, crime, and mental health in the affected area, and have a special interest in the recovery of New Orleans' Vietnamese American community.