lauramctigheI am a postdoctoral fellow in the Dartmouth Society of Fellows and the co-founder and associate director of Front Porch Research Strategy in New Orleans. I earned my PhD from Columbia University and my masters from Harvard Divinity School.

My research projects, all strongly ethnographic, have examined the intersections of race, religion, gender, and activism, with particular attention to the carceral state, domestic land grabs, and disaster capitalism. Through social scientific and community-based methods, I work in collaboration to center the often-hidden histories, practices, and geographies of struggle in America’s zones of abandonment, and ask how visions for living otherwise become actionable. My research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Institute for Religion, Culture, & Public Life, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation’s Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

I come to my academic work through twenty years of grassroots organizing to end state violence and advance community healing. As a longtime activist/scholar, I am committed to fostering reciprocal relationships among academics, activists, journalists, artists, and other visionary practitioners. I co-founded Philadelphia FIGHT’s Institute for Community Justice and the national Religion and Incarceration activist/academic forum, and currently serve as a Board Member to Women With A Vision  in New Orleans, Men & Women In Prison Ministries in Chicago and Reconstruction Inc. in Philadelphia.