Owen grew up unaware of his latent interest in politics. Motivated by his biracial and multicultural background, he perpetually asked questions regarding belonging, where borders started/ended, and the relationships between different groups and identities.
Midway through his undergraduate studies, he began to recognize political science as an avenue to study these questions. Drawn to debates over patriotism and pluralism at the time, the 2016 NFL National Anthem protests acted as a gateway for analyzing citizenship and identity at large in the United States. He began his graduate studies at the University of Colorado Boulder in order to continue developing these themes, which now underlie his dissertation, "Performative Citizenship and the Continuation of Ethnocentrism in Ethnoblind Citizenship".
Engaging literatures on resistance, citizenship, and respectability, Owen theorizes contemporary U.S. citizenship as both disciplinary and performative. Through looking at post-9/11 Islamaphobia, patterns of Asian American mental illness, mainstream presentations of DREAMers, and the anti-democratic response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Owen demonstrates how racial minorities must continually undergo violent performance if they are to avoid "legitimized"punishment.
Alongside his research, Owen takes pride in helping instill political interest and awareness amongst his students. It is no coincidence that his work predominantly draws on recent real-world case studies. Owen believes that politics should be relatable and accessible to the everyday world. Through his teaching and his podcast, Poli Sigh, Owen hopes that more people can see their impact and role in politics.