Texas Tech University

Featured Scholar - January 2020

Featured Scholar January 2020

What are you watching / streaming?
I love TV! Right now, I am watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I also enjoy watching shows from the Marvel series but there are so many, watching them can become a little overwhelming! I am a foodie, so I love to watch shows about food. Chef's Table is one of my favorites—the beautiful cinematography, combined with the biographical sketches. I then try to eat at some of the restaurants featured in the show. At the end of the month I will start watching The Biggest Loser. It is a tradition for some of my friends to gather for dinner and watch the contestants exercise while we eat!

What games are you playing?
I enjoy board games and card games, but I don't have much time for them. When I travel, I'll play a sudoku app I have on my phone. I need to make more time for games!

What are you listening to?
I love listening to Podcasts, so if anyone has a suggestion for a good one, please send it my way! I enjoy crime/legal podcasts, so I am a big fan of Serial and More Perfect. Like most people, I enjoyed Season 1 of Serial more than Season 2. In Season 1 the podcast delves into the murder of a high school senior and whether her boyfriend killed her. More Perfect discusses the history of landmark Supreme Court opinions. There is so much to those opinions that even if you know the case, you will learn things from listening to the podcast.

What are you reading?
I am reading Last Chance in Texas, which looks at the Texas State School's wildly successful attempt to rehabilitate underage capital offenders. When I need a break from the stories I am reading about in that book, I pick up Michael Pollen's recent book Cooked. In Cooked, Pollen talks about the impact of cooking on food and society. As we experience a shift in food preparation, relying upon pre-prepared meals, we are losing knowledge about the art of cooking. I am also reading two books on language: Word by Word, that chronicles the history of dictionaries, and The Etymologicon, which tells about lost words from the English language.

What are you writing/thinking about?
I'm working on several projects right now. First, I am working on a book-length project about private property as a legal fiction. In this book, my co-author and I argue that we don't really own anything; rather, we lease the right to use materials. Second, I'm also working on an essay about the solitary confinement of death row inmates as a form a cruel and unusual punishment. When we consider cruel and unusual punishment, we typically focus on methods of execution. In Texas, however, we lock people up and remove fundamental aspects of humanity—such as interacting with other humans—which leads to inmates having unconstitutionally diminished capacity. Lastly, I am also working on a project about food waste, which is the third largest contributor to the greenhouse gases causing climate change. If we could eliminate food waste, we would be doing much to help stabilize the climate.