I'm an anthropologist and ethnographer—of money, technology, bureaucracy, and everyday economic and political life, especially in Latin America.


I currently work as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Irvine and serve as Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Cultural Economy. I received my PhD in Anthropology from UCI in 2015.

I study how people make and maintain alternative or experimental economies. My book project, After Neoliberalism: Solidarity Economies in Quito, Ecuador, examines—from policy to practice—efforts to reimagine "the social" as an alternative to neoliberalism. It draws on several years of fieldwork with urban market vendors, family and neighborhood savings groups, development experts, and government officials in and around Quito, Ecuador.

I think a lot about technologies of money and law, everyday financial practice, work and exhaustion, material cultures of trust, the spread of disintermediation ideologies, colonial and postcolonial histories of sovereignty and value, marketplace infrastructures, statistical and non-statistical evaluation in baseball scouting cultures, street dogs, and bureaucracy as a kind of care.

Read about my work with the Future of Money Research Collaborative here.

Email me at tnelms at uci dot edu.