Dean Chahim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at New York University. Trained as both an anthropologist and environmental engineer, his research examines how unjust environmental conditions are produced and sustained through engineering practices, and how they might be made otherwise.

His book project, Draining the Infinite Metropolis: Engineering and the Banality of Disaster in Mexico City, is an ethnography and history of flood control engineering in modern Mexico City. It reveals how engineering has become a crucial mode of governing disaster and enabling imaginaries of endless growth in the Anthropocene. He is also developing a new project focused on climate change, speed, and the politics of transportation engineering in Mexico City.

Articles based on his research in Mexico City have appeared in American Ethnologist, Antipode, and (in translation) in Desacatos. He has published shorter articles for the public in The Washington Post and Logic, among other outlets, which can be found here. Dean is also working with Mexican colleagues to create an online, interactive spatial documentary about flooding, Las Huellas del Agua / Watermarks, which draws on this project. He has been asked to speak about the water crisis in Mexico City for international media outlets like the BBC, NPR, and RFl, as well as Mexican news outlets like Animal Político, Pie de Página, El Economista, Diario 24 Horas, Radio Centro, and La Octava. He spends much of his free time working with community organizations struggling for workers’ rights and environmental justice.