I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside. I received my PhD from Princeton’s Department of Sociology in January 2015, and was a 2016-2017 Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan. I previously taught in Bryn Mawr College’s Growth and Structure of Cities Department.
I study how culture shapes global inequality, with a particular focus on borders, empires, and imaginations. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, I’ve examined globalized travel, World Heritage sites, ships, and legally plural, foreign-controlled places I call “global borderlands.” I’ve also written about transparency and positionality in field work.
My first book, Global Borderlands: Fantasy, Violence, and Empire in Subic Bay, Philippines, is forthcoming (summer 2019) from Stanford University Press. In it, I use Subic Bay as a case to study global borderlands: places controlled by foreigners and ones where the rules that govern socio-economic life differ from those that are outside its walls. I analyze a wide-array of situations and contexts: from military agreements and taxes, to intimate relations, high-profile court cases, working, and shopping to show how within these spaces sovereignty is contingent and continually negotiated, identities are constantly re-imagined, and foreigners and locals both exert power to various degrees. In order to understand these complex negotiations, we have to understand how these features of culture, power, and the law interact with one another and the role of stakes.
I’m currently working on my second book project, in collaboration with two graduate students and a team of undergraduate students, on how audiences and authors shape the reputation, or cultural wealth, of places, with a particular focus on the different ways reputation is racialized and gendered. I’ve received funding for this project from an ASA and NSF Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline grant and a UCR Blum Initiative on Global and Regional Poverty Faculty Research Seed Grant.
In addition to my forthcoming book from Stanford University Press, my work has been published in Social Forces, Ethnography, Theory and Society, City & Community, Poetics, and International Journal of Comparative Sociology, among other outlets. I’ve also written for the Monkey Cage at the Washington Post, and Inside Higher Ed and received fellowships from the Institute of International Education (2006-2007 Fulbright Scholar to the Philippines), the National Science Foundation (2009-2012 Graduate Research Fellowship), and the American Sociological Association (2014 cohort, Minority Fellowship Program).
Follow me on Twitter: @victoriadreyes