Science and Technology Studies, Political Sociology, Organization Studies, Latin America, Sociology of Knowledge, Methodology, Economic Sociology, Social & Political Theory
Don Palmer, Brian Dick, and Nathan Freiburger. 2009. "Rigor and Relevance in Organization
Studies." Journal of Management Inquiry. 18, 4: 265-272.
2013 UC Davis Provost's Dissertation Year Fellowship
2012 Société de Chimie Industrielle Research Fellowship through the Chemical Heritage Foundation
2011 Wenner Gren Foundation Dissertation Fieldwork Grant
2011 National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, Science and Technology Studies Division
2010 Professors for the Future Fellowship, UC Davis (declined due to fieldwork conflicts)
2009 Hemispheric Institute of the Americas Summer Research Fellowship
Current Research Projects:
The Development of real estate markets and commodities in the US
In collaboration with Nicole Woolsey-Biggart and Tom Beamish, I have been conducting historical research on the development of real estate as an economic product in the US. The results of this research, which illustrates that the restricted definition of economic action of neoclassical economics is inadequate in understanding the production of complex commodities, is currently being prepared for publication.
Cultures of Engineering and the Engineering of Politics: The
Making of Lithium as an Object of Techno-Scientific Knowledge and Politics in Bolivia
This research is currently funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (STS Division), the Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation
This dissertation research examines the making of lithium as an object of techno-scientific knowledge and politics in Bolivia. It contends that how lithium is constituted as an object, through concrete practices in the realms of politics and techno-science, will greatly influence the contemporary project of state formation in Bolivia. The aim of this research is an ethnographic case study with the following objectives. First, examine how the interplay between techno-science, politics, and the physical properties of the salmuera (salt water containing lithium) shape the material and symbolic construction of lithium and the development of a lithium industry. Second, detail how the development of this industry in Bolivia intersects with the form and direction of the allegedly post-neoliberal, post-socialist, “plurinational” political project underway there. As such, the research examines the practices of engineers guiding a nascent lithium industry to understand the potential of those practices to intersect with controversies around the conceptual boundaries of the "plurinational" state. It examines how technological and scientific practices intersect with visions of what such a state is and should be.