I am a PhD student in Stanford University's Department of Anthropology, where I study engineers, urbanization, and the management of water in Mexico City. My research is broadly aimed at understanding engineering as a social practice, and the complex ways that engineering reshapes social and political possibilities. I am also deeply interested in processes of urbanization and displacement, as well as the question of environmental limits.
Prior to starting my PhD, I received a B.S.C.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and the B.A. in International Development at the University of Washington. After graduation, I worked professionally as an environmental engineer cleaning up toxic chemicals from land and water around my hometown of Seattle while volunteering as an organizer with low-wage Latino workers struggling against wage theft.
I have worked on international development projects (however problematic in retrospect) with Engineers Without Borders in Bolivia, published academic research on the shortcomings of foreign-funding for NGOs in Nicaragua, studied the Dari and Tajiki languages in Tajikistan, and traveled across ten countries in the global South after graduating, supported by a Bonderman travel fellowship offered through the University of Washington Honors Program.
Closer to home, I co-founded and facilitated a organization while at the University of Washington to create a critical dialogue around international development and engagement, and I continue to educate and write about global inequality. I devote much of my free time to working with grassroots community groups struggling for the rights of immigrants, workers, tenants, and the environment.
While all this keeps me quite busy, I also absolutely love to cook and entertain, drawing most heavily on a mix of recipes and techniques ranging from North Africa to India.
Interested in my work, collaborating, or just have a question? Drop me a line at dean DOT chahim AT gmail.com.