Rachel has a highly interdisciplinary background—with an undergraduate degree from the University of Warwick in Literature and an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science in ‘Gender, Development and Globalization’—and believes her current research benefits greatly from studying within both the humanities and the social sciences.
Therefore, although she is currently writing a PhD thesis within the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, her critical theory based project is co-supervised by the Centre for Ideology and Discourse analysis (in the Department of Government) and draws on a range of disciplines including feminist theory, heterodox economics, cultural theory, and urban geography in order to try to understand how deprivation and inequality manifest in bodies and physical space. In particular, her thinking draws on Judith Butler, Nancy Fraser, Wendy Brown, Herbert Marcuse and David Harvey.
In her work she is seeking to reconceptualize a new critical theory rooted in challenging, differential livability—the vastly different potential for living accorded to individuals dependent on their economic and social capital. To do this she focuses her theoretical interventions on housing, space and urban environments. With the interplay of capital and power as a background, the thesis concentrates on the relationship between bodies and the built and natural environment in order to consider how collective desires are manipulated towards neoliberal politics and the maintenance of an unjust, exclusionary status quo—one that routinely disposes of the most oppressed and vulnerable.
She is also keen to explore radical new political and social forms of organizing and being such as autonomous squatting as well as ideas contained in the burgeoning ‘right to the city’ literature.
Rachel teaches for Essex's Interdisciplinary Studies Centre based in the School of Art History and Philosophy and is passionate about higher education.