I am a feminist, sociologist, yoga practitioner, social justice activist, perpetual student, and artist. My work in all these areas is deeply intertwined. I seek to promote racial/ethnic, gender, and sexuality equity, as well as pursuing climate justice within our culture and institutions. My work in yoga also emphasizes and connects to the feminist body positivity movement in the practice, in an effort to combat sizeism, ageism, and other inequalities common in the industry.
Below, you'll be able to read a bit more about my research, my yoga practice and teaching, and my general bio. To read some of my non-academic writing, you can also check out my blog.
Assistant Professor in Sociology, CSU East Bay (Fall 2019)
PhD in Sociology, UC Davis (December 2018)
MA in Sociology, UC Davis (2013)
BS in Physics, UC Davis (2009)
I am currently an Assistant Professor in Sociology at California State University, East Bay. I received my PhD in Sociology from UC Davis in December 2018 with an emphasis in cultural sociology, complex organizations, and social movements. My work spans a range of areas that examine and analyze mechanisms and impacts of social change and transformation. How is inequality produced and maintained through the conflux of cultural, organizational, and institutional systems, as well as embodied in the lives and everyday experiences of individuals and groups? How do marginalized actors engage in collective mobilization to resist and undermine social boundaries? I am dedicated to the practice of public sociology aligned with intersectional feminist principles and grounded in yogic practices and ethical prescriptions. It is my belief that by better understanding the nature of systems of oppression/privilege, we can better combat them to produce a more equitable, just world.
Before starting my position at CSU East Bay, I had previously lectured at the University of California Davis (UCD), California State University Sacramento (CSUS), and at Woodland Community College (WCC). Below I have included some of my general research interests, publications, current projects, and selected presentations.
Research Interests: Cultural Sociology; Complex Organizations & Professions; Social Movements; Feminist Theory; Critical Theory; Social Inequalities (especially Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Sexuality, Class, and Size); Body and Emotions; Post/Colonialism; Memory Studies; Sociology of Violence; Social Psychology; Digital & News Media; Religion & Identity; Historical & Field Methods
California Sociological Association (CSA) Annual Meeting
Co-Presentation: “In-Conceivable Futures: Everyday Activism, Climate Change, and Reproductive Decision Making,” with Emily Ernst (CSUS alumni), Megan Curry (UCD undergrad), and Abrina Valdez (UCD undergrad)
Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) Annual Meeting
Abolitionist Approaches to Social Problems
Presentation: “Co-opting Body Positivity: The Erasure of the Authentic Yoga Body”
Co-authored Presentation: “Breaking the Binary: Violence and Its Uses in Campus (Counter-)Protest,” with Blu Buchanan
Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR) Annual Meeting
Religion and Division: Causes, Consequences and Counters
“Professionalization of the ‘Authentic’ Yoga Body”
UC Berkeley Race & Yoga Working Group 2nd Annual Conference
Yoga (R)Evolution? Interrogating Practices and Probabilities
“The Great Gender Transformation: Feminization of the ‘Authentic’ Yoga Body”
UC Berkeley Race & Yoga Working Group 1st Annual Conference
Yoga and Access: Questions of Inclusion
“Embodied Boundaries and the Construction of the ‘Authentic’ Yoga Body”
“Factions, Frames, and Postfeminism(s) in the Body Positivity Movement.” Under final review
Co-authored paper with Helana Darwin
How are contemporary post/feminisms like Body Positivity constituted in and through digital media cultures, and what are the consequences for diverse movement participants? Engaging in a discourse analysis of two sets of prominent blog articles from 2014 and 2016, we uncover the coexistence of four movement frames.
"Embodied Boundaries: Constructing the “Authentic” Yoga Body" Revise & Resubmit Stage
This article explores how embodied symbolic boundaries formed during the 1970s within the newly developing field of yoga in the U.S. How do boundaries distinguishing authenticity among practitioners become tied to the production of an “authentic” yoga body that is white, middle-class, thin, able-bodied, and predominantly male?
“Disarm UC: Fighting Police Violence & Militarization in the University.” Critical Times (Forthcoming)
Co-authored with Blu Buchanan
This non-peer reviewed dossier article presents information about the Disarm UC student movement and the impacts of police brutality on minority populations, and a discussion of past and future actions the movement is hoping to pursue.
"Eating the Other Yogi: Kathryn Budig, the Yoga Industrial Complex, and Appropriation of Body Positivity" Race and Yoga Journal (2016, Vol. 1 Issue I)
Works In Progress:
Yoga R/Evolution: Unsettling the “Authentic” Yoga Body (Book Manuscript Draft)
As yoga became popularized in the United States after the 1960s, processes of cultural appropriation, commodification, and professionalization resulted in the secularization of the practice, transforming what once was a spiritual tradition into a fitness industry worth over $16.8 billion. Thinking about these processes as part of a larger context of spiritual neocolonialism, I investigate the evolution of the practice: What does being a yogi entail, and how have practitioners and the yoga industry constructed this embodied identity at various social and historical moments?
"Reckoning with Incarnations of Violence in Campus (Counter)Protest" (Under Review, co-authored with Blu Buchanan)
This project differentiates between three incarnations of violence in the recent resurgence of white supremacy on college campuses. We examine first person accounts from University of Virginia (U.Va.) and Charlottesville, where white supremacists held a torch-lit rally that culminated in the vehicular manslaughter of Heather Heyer.
“Collective Effervescence and Burner Identity: Communitas at Burning Man” (Working Paper)
This project uses autoethnography and public first-hand accounts to investigate how countercultural spaces like Burning Man build lasting solidarity among members. By generating effervescent experiences, participants create a pseudo-religious experience, dramatic identity transformations, and the establishment of a “burner community.”
Public Sociological Work:
“Aim True Yoga” (Index entry at World Religions and Spirituality Project published June 2019)
“UC Democracy: A Manifesto” (Published in Abolition Journal August 2017)
This manifesto for UC Democracy is a call to action against the neoliberal forces encroaching on our university and increasingly present in higher education systems worldwide. It analyzes corruption within the kleptocratic Regents system of governance and trends toward privatization/militarization within the University of California.
“‘Oops, We Did It Again!’ Yoga Journal is What Co-optation Looks Like” (Published at YogaDork November 2016)
My approach to yoga practice and teaching seeks to recognize and acknowledge this diverse system of indigenous knowledge, oriented toward spiritual liberation and self-realization. I am particularly interested in exploring ways we can integrate a philosophical and spiritual yoga practice into our daily lives in ways that avoid cultural appropriation and honor and respect the diversity of yogic traditions.
My teaching focuses on the intersections of yoga and social justice work, including activism, politics, and education, and how we can take our yoga beyond asana and beyond the mat to create real change in our lives and in the lives of others. In this way, I believe we can become better people, and can work to build a better society and world through relationship and community building rooted in ethical and mindful practice. As a result, my yoga teaching often looks very different than more standard and mainstream approaches centered on movement and postures, as I strive to rethink what a decolonized approach to yoga teaching can consist of. In this vein, it's worth noting that I rarely teach yoga and often like to promote other teachers who are more knowledgeable about the practice than I am, especially teachers of color. Most of my work in yoga communities is focused on education around issues of cultural appropriation, inequality within the practice and industry, as well as modern yoga history.
However, because it inevitably comes up in conversations, it's worth saying a bit more about my postural practice. My style of asana practice is a breath-focused, moving meditation, slow vinyasa flow focused on cultivating mindful awareness. I emphasize controlled transitions between poses made possible by the grace that comes with strength, developing awareness of not only the "peak" of a pose but the spaces between these moments. While I don't believe teacher training programs are a great reflection of depth of knowledge or practice, I do have a 200-hr certification. For those interested in my yoga teaching, please get in touch with me.
I currently live in the Bay Area with my husband and three adorable dogs--two chihuahua mixes Dingo and Alana as well as my pitbull lab mix Pippi Longstocking. I enjoy a number of hobbies and activities including making my own cold-process soap, gardening, cooking, hiking, painting, and graphic design (you can check out my art page).
During my childhood I grew up in Humboldt County living on a small farm, where my parents managed a bed and breakfast inn (and yes, I can make a delicious breakfast as a result!). As a child I was involved in a number of activities that shaped who I have become now, including art, piano, horseback riding, martial arts, backpacking, writing (particularly poetry), and being a book addict. I was initially introduced to hot yoga at the age of sixteen by my mother. During high school I had the opportunity to teach creative writing, art, languages, drama, and more at a music and arts summer camp called Suzuki Summer Academy. Music, the arts, and experiencing nature have remained very important to me.
After graduating high school I attended UC Davis, where I continued my yoga practice as an undergraduate in Physics. A number of years studying the STEM sciences (and a number of internships) made me realize that physics wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, and I ended up doing a senior honors thesis in Political Science. After graduating, I became an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with a state department, the California Conservation Corps. For two years I worked to develop programs around health and wellness for corpsmembers. It was during this time that I became more dedicated to yoga, began practicing vinyasa flow styles, developed a home practice, and began studying yoga philosophy. I also decided to pursue my graduate work in sociology, so that I could switch fields to engage in public service, education, and sociological research. At the time I was particularly interested in the sociology of violence, media censorship, and human rights abuse in the War on Terror, a project that was driven by my past experiences as an activist.
Over the years I've been involved in a variety of social justice activism. As a high school student, I was involved in the anti-war movement following our government's decision to invade Iraq after 9/11. I received training through the Help Increase the Peace Program (HIPP) and became a peer workshop facilitator, and was also one of the co-founders of my high school's first LGBTQ organization, the Gay Straight Alliance. As an undergraduate student in college, I helped organize for UCD Students for Barrack Obama leading up to his first election in 2008. Over the years, I have also been involved in anti-tuition hike protests, Occupy, and activism opposing police brutality and anti-blackness as part of SWERV (Students and Workers Ending Racial Violence) and the Disarm UC movement. I was involved in a group of student workers who worked to prevent "alt-right" Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at UC Davis. I served as a Head Steward for the UC Student Workers Union during 2017-2018 and am looking forward to continuing service work and activism in the Bay Area.