css.php

Practitioners & Speakers

Each semester, the PublicsLab invites humanities leaders who are doing innovative and brave work both inside and outside the academy to share their knowledge and expertise with the Mellon Humanities Public Fellows and the broader Graduate Center community.

Fall 2021

Jeffrey A. Butts

Headshot for Jeffrey ButtsJeffrey A. Butts (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is Research Professor and Director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York (CUNY). Previously, he was a research fellow with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, director of the Program on Youth Justice at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC, and senior research associate at the National Center for Juvenile Justice in Pittsburgh. Dr. Butts has managed research projects with budgets totaling $51 Million ($60 Million in 2021 dollars) and he has worked with policymakers and justice practitioners in 28 states and several countries. He has published two books, dozens of monographs and reports for government agencies and foundations, as well as articles in academic and peer-reviewed journals. He graduated with a BA in sociology from the University of Oregon and an MSW from Portland State University before earning the Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Jeff began his justice career as a drug and alcohol counselor with the juvenile court in Eugene, Oregon.


Sean Campbell

Headshot for Sean CampbellSean Campbell is an investigative journalist living in New York City. His work has prompted action from members of Congress, change in the CDC, legislation by state lawmakers, and contributed to changing Twitter’s policy. He won the 2020 Les Payne Award for Coverage on Communities of Color from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Deadline Club and a Sidney Award from the Hillman Foundation, among other recognitions. He is an adjunct professor in the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and his feature work has been published by ProPublica, The Verge, BuzzFeed News and FiveThirtyEight, among other outlets. He holds BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Florida, an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College, and a master of science degree in data journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.


Alyssa A.L. James

Headshot for Alyssa JamesAlyssa A.L. James is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. She is a 2020 SSHRC Doctoral Fellow whose research examines the consequences of recasting colonial history for Caribbean subjectivities and futures. She interrogates the discourses and practices that transform commodities into heritage – and history into commodity – as it unfolds through Martinique’s nascent coffee revival project. In her free time, you’ll find Alyssa dancing, travelling, and writing about it.

 


Sandra Lopez-Monsalve

Headshot for Sandra Lopez-MonsalveSandra Lopez-Monsalveis a multimedia producer and audio engineer. She fell in love with radio while cutting actual tape for a local station in her native Bogota (Colombia) in the late 90s. Since then, Sandra has produced and engineered stories for news programs, magazine shows, and podcasts for a variety of media outlets including WNYC, KCRW, SLATE, PBS, NOVA, TED, The Atlantic, and CUNY TV among others. She was the technical director for the Peabody Award-winning show “Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen,” and the sound designer for KCRW’s Sarah Award-winning, bilingual, fiction podcast, “Celestial Blood/Sangre Celestial”. Sandra loves history, radio dramas, movies, and black cats. Currently, Sandra works creating amazing audio artifacts at the PRX Production Unit.


Mariely López-Santana

Headshot for Mariely Lopez SantanaMariely López-Santana is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Graduate Program in Political Science at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. Dr. López-Santana’s specializes on the politics, institutions, and policies of rich democracies. In her research and teaching she explores issues related to welfare states, poverty and inequality, as well as multilevel governance, federalism, and decentralization. Her book entitled The New Governance of Welfare States in the United States and Europe: Between Decentralization and Centralization in the Activation Era (SUNY Press, 2015) explores contemporary changes in the organization of welfare states in Italy, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the United States. In addition, she has written for the Washington Post and El Nuevo Dia, and has collaborated with NPR, el WAPO Podcast, France 24, Argentinian, Venezuelan and Puerto Rican TV and radio, among others. Dr. López-Santana received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and received her BA from the University of Puerto Rico.


Anna Malaika Tubbs

Headshot of Anna Malaika TubbsAnna Malaika Tubbs is the author of the critically acclaimed book The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with a BA in Anthropology, Anna earned her MA in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Cambridge as a Bill and Melinda Gates Cambridge Scholar. She is also an educator and DEI consultant. She lives with her husband, Michael Tubbs, and their son Michael Malakai.

 


Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

Headshot for Natalia PetrzelaNatalia Mehlman Petrzela is a historian of contemporary American politics and culture. She is the author of Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (Oxford University Press, 2015), and the forthcoming FIT NATION: How America Embraced Exercise As The Government Abandoned It (University of Chicago Press). She is co-producer and host of the hit podcast WELCOME TO YOUR FANTASY, from Pineapple Street Studios and Gimlet, and the co-host of Past Present Podcast. Natalia is a frequent media guest expert, public speaker, and contributor to international and domestic news outlets, from the New York Times to the Washington Post to the Atlantic. She is Associate Professor of History at The New School, co-founded and directed the wellness education program Healthclass 2.0, and a Premiere Leader of the mind-body practice intenSati. She holds a B.A. from Columbia and a master’s and Ph.D. from Stanford and lives with her husband and two children in New York City.


Aaron Morrison

Headshot of Aaron MorrisonAaron Morrison is an adjunct lecturer at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where he is teaching a new course about reporting on race and ethnicity. He is a national writer for The Associated Press, where he writes extensively about race, civil rights, criminal justice reform and grassroots social movements. His work has also appeared in The Appeal, a nonprofit criminal justice news outlet covering the biggest drivers of mass incarceration; Mic, where he was a video correspondent and senior writer; and The Record newspaper, in Bergen County, New Jersey. Aaron has more than a decade of experience in journalism.

 


Latif Nasser

Headshot for Latif Nasser

Latif Nasser is co-host of the award-winning New York Public Radio show Radiolab, where he has done stories on everything from snowflake photography to space junk to a polar bear who liked to have sex with grizzly bears. In addition to his work in audio, Latif is the host and executive producer for the Netflix science documentary series Connected.  He has also given two TED talks and written for the Boston Globe Ideas section. He got his PhD from Harvard’s History of Science department in 2014.

 


Kara Norton

Headshot for Kara NortonKara Norton is a science journalist who has reported on a range of issues including the rise of “cyberpoaching” and the illegal wildlife trade, the importance of the Tongass National Forest to climate stabilization and Alaska Native communities, as well as a series of in-depth interviews with the organizers of the viral online movement Black Birders Week. Her work has been published by NOVA on PBS, NATURE on PBS, Only One, Mission Blue, and other top science media publications. She has worked on projects for NOVA Science Studio, TED, and Smithsonian. Prior to her editorial career, she worked as a shark research intern for Bimini Shark Lab, collecting biological data on over five different species of sharks in The Bahamas. This field experience exposed her to shark conservation efforts, and gave her the ability to contribute to a natural history program on the critically endangered great hammerhead shark. Kara holds a BA in journalism and a B.Sc in environmental studies from New York University.


Michael Ryan Clark

Headshot for Michael ClarkMichael Ryan Clark is an award winning filmmaker and photographer who has dedicated his life to creating impact driven wildlife conservation media. Documenting important and untold conservation stories has taken Michael across 6 continents and dozens of countries. Michael has contributed photos, video, and writing to National Geographic, accepted awards at the United Nations, and worked with companies such as Disney, CBS, PBS Nature, and has partnered with various NGO’s. He enjoys using storytelling skills gained from his English Education degree at Boston University, in conjunction with his passion for media to create content that brings awareness to conservation issues with the goal of enacting measurable change.


Robyn C. Spencer

Headshot of Robyn C. SpencerRobyn C. Spencer is a historian that focuses on Black social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. Her book The Revolution Has Come:  Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland was published in 2016. She is co-founder of the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project and has written widely on gender and Black Power. Her writings have appeared in the Journal of Women’s History and Souls as well as The Washington PostVibe Magazine, ColorlinesIn These Times and Truthout.  She has received awards for her work from the Mellon foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies and the Association of Black Women Historians. In 2020-2021, she was residence at the Institute of Advanced Study in the school of Social Science finishing her second book project on Black protest against the U.S. war in Vietnam. She is also working on biographies of two radical women: Angela Davis and Patricia Robinson.


Brendane Tynes

Headshot for Brendane TynesBrendane Tynes is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University. She is a 2018 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow whose research centers the affective experiences of Black people in the Movement for Black Lives. Her research stands at the intersections of affect theory, Anthropology, and Black Studies with a particular emphasis on Black feminist anthropological theory and praxis. In her free time, Brendane enjoys writing poetry and dancing.

 


Andrew Viñales

Headshot for Andrew ViñalesAndrew Viñales was born and raised in the Bronx, New York by proud Puerto Rican and Dominican families. He is a twin and practitioner in the Lukumí Afro-Cuban Orisha tradition, as well as an oral historian and cultural worker passionate about highlighting the experiences of queer Afro-Latinx politics, culture, and spirituality. Currently, he is a PhD student in cultural anthropology. He hopes to develop his skills in digital storytelling and facilitation as tools to take his work outside of traditional academic settings and put it in service to Afro-Latinxs in the US and in Latin America.

 


Spring 2021

Anthony Arnove

Headshot for Anthony ArnoveAnthony Arnove is the editor of several books, including Voices of a People’s History of the United States, which he co-edited with Howard Zinn. He also wrote the introduction for the new 35th anniversary edition of Zinn’s classic book A People’s History of the United States. Arnove cofounded the nonprofit education and arts organization Voices of a People’s History of the United States with Zinn; wrote, directed, and produced the documentary The People Speak; and has directed stage and television versions of The People Speak in Dublin with Stephen Rea, in London with Colin Firth, and across the United States with various arts groups, including Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Sundance Film Festival. He also produced the Academy Award-nominated documentary Dirty Wars.


Zakiya Carter

Headshot for Zakiya CollierZakiya Collier is the Digital Archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture where she uses web archiving tools to expand the nature of archival collections to reflect 21st-century Black life and experiences. Both in her research and in her work as a Black queer memory worker, Zakiya explores the archival labor, methods, and poetics that are often necessary to render perceptible both the material and immaterial artifacts of quotidian Black life. She holds an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University, an MLIS from Long Island University, and a BA in Anthropology from the University of South Carolina. Zakiya is an affiliate of the Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies (CR+DS) at New York University, an Interim Board Member of the Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI), and a guest editor of a forthcoming special issue of the The Black Scholar on Black Archival Practice.


Ansley Erickson

Headshot for Ansley EricksonAnsley T. Erickson is a U.S. historian who focuses on educational inequality, segregation, and the interactions between schooling, urban and metropolitan space, racism, and capitalism. Erickson serves as an Associate Professor of History and Education Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University and Co-Director of the Center on History and Education. Her first book, Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2016 and won the History of Education Society’s Outstanding Book Award in 2017. Beginning in 2020, Erickson serves as an associate editor of the American Educational Research Journal. In addition to several academic journals, her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Dissent magazine, Chalkbeat, The Tennessean, and The Nashville Scene. Erickson also co-directs the Harlem Education History Project (HEHP), which supports a digital history project and collaborations with local schools.


Dominique Jean-Louis

Headshot for Dominique Jean-LouisDominique Jean-Louis is an assistant curator of History Exhibitions at the New-York Historical Society, where she most recently worked on Black Citizenship in the Age of Jim Crow and Meet The Presidents. She is also a doctoral candidate in US History at NYU, where her dissertation work explores Caribbean immigration to New York City in the years following the Civil Rights Movement, examining the impact of schooling on the formation of racial identity. As a public historian, she regularly writes and speaks for a range of audiences on New York City and African American history.

 


Brian Jones

Headshot for Brian JonesBrian Jones (GC alum, Urban Ed ’18) is the Associate Director of Education at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture [schomburgcenter.org]. He writes about Black education history and politics, most recently in a contribution to Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice [haymarketbooks.org] and is working on a book manuscript about the 1960s student uprising at Tuskegee University. Brian is a director and co-director of several federally-funded and independent projects to make Black history archives available and useful to parents, teachers, and students.

 

Fall 2020

Weshoyot Alvitre

Weshoyot Alvitre is a Tongva/Scots comic book artist and illustrator whose work primarily is used to explore story through sequential art media. Known for her panel to panel narratives, Weshoyot focuses on the emotional impacts of historical events and current responses to politics, lending a human element to linear storytelling. Her work gives voice to the under-represented storylines of present, future, and past indigenous voices. Weshoyot served as the artist of Ghost River, and her art was featured in an eponymous exhibition at the Library Company of Philadelphia (November 15, 2019-August 31, 2020).


Jill Cirasella

Jill Cirasella is the Graduate Center’s Associate Librarian for Scholarly Communication & Digital Scholarship. In this position, she oversees scholarly communication initiatives, thesis/dissertation services, and digital scholarship and preservation services. Her research focus is scholarly communication, broadly construed: recent projects examine anxieties surrounding open access dissertations, attitudes about practice-based library literature, and the professional experiences of hard-of-hearing librarians. She is committed to advancing ethical, community-led open access initiatives and serves on the boards of three open access journals.


William D. Fenton, PhD

Dr. William D. Fenton is the Director of Research and Public Programs at the Library Company of Philadelphia. He earned his Ph.D. from Fordham University in August 2018 (Department of English). Will specializes in early American literature and the digital humanities, for which he has received numerous scholarships, fellowships, and awards. His digital humanities project Digital Paxton, served as the foundation of the Ghost River project. Will served as the creative director and project manager of the project, editor of the Ghost River volume, and curator of the eponymous exhibition at the Library Company of Philadelphia.


Lee Francis, IV, PhD

Dr. Lee Francis, IV (Pueblo of Laguna) is the CEO and Founder of Native Realities LLC, an Indigenous Imagination Company, dedicated to unleashing the Indigenous imagination through popular culture, including comic books, graphic novels, games, toys, and collectibles. Founded in 2015, Native Realities has published the largest assortment of Indigenous-centric comic books in the world. Through Native Realities Lee also founded the Indigenous Comic Con in 2016 and opened Red Planet Books and Comics, the only Native comic shop in the world, in 2017. Lee served as the author and publisher of Ghost River.


Mike Mena

Mike Mena is a PhD candidate in Linguistic Anthropology at the Graduate Center and focuses on how ideologies of race and language converge in ways that reproduce hierarchical arrangements and income inequality.  He is currently conceptualizing a longitudinal ethnographic project on the neoliberalization of higher education in the United States.  In 2019, Mena’s YouTube channel, The Social Life of Language, was recognized with the Society for Linguistic Anthropology’s “Public Outreach and Community Service Award.”  The Social Life of Language continues to receive national and international recognition for its multi-modal pedagogical approach and as intellectually informed public activism.


Siovahn A. Walker, PhD, MPA

Siovahn Walker is a trained humanist, nonprofit professional and expert in managing and marketing mission-driven organizations, both nonprofit and for-profit. She is currently the Executive Director of the American Musicological Society as well as CEO and founder of Mayhunt Consulting, Inc., a New York State benefit corporation specializing in providing marketing and managing support for small businesses and nonprofits. Siovahn Walker previously served as Executive Director of the Council for European Studies (CES), Director of Outreach for the Modern Language Association (MLA), and Program Officer and Director of Communication for the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). She holds a BA in History from Brown University, an MA and PhD in History from Stanford University, a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from Columbia University, and a long list of trainings and certifications in various aspects of marketing, communications, fundraising, technology and management.

Spring 2020

Jill Cirasella

Jill Cirasella is the Graduate Center’s Associate Librarian for Scholarly Communication & Digital Scholarship. In this position, she oversees scholarly communication initiatives, thesis/dissertation services, and digital scholarship and preservation services. Her research focus is scholarly communication, broadly construed: recent projects examine anxieties surrounding open access dissertations, attitudes about practice-based library literature, and the professional experiences of hard-of-hearing librarians. She is committed to advancing ethical, community-led open access initiatives and serves on the boards of three open access journals.


Melissa DeShields

Melissa DeShields helps organizations build strong teams, develop strategy, and execute plans effectively.  A member of Frontline’s senior leadership team since 2015, Melissa has built a culture of learning, reflection, and deep connection between team members. She has led high-impact projects for Grantmakers for Girls of Color, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In particular, Melissa engineered the growth of A Gathering of Leaders into a community of 500 of the leading thinkers and doers focused on improving the outcomes for boys and men of color. Prior to joining Frontline, Melissa launched her own practice, DeShields Hagan and Associates. She has previously held senior-level positions at the Urban Affairs Coalition and at The Philadelphia Foundation. She is a graduate of Rutgers University.


Micah Gilmer

Micah Gilmer is a researcher and writer who helps Frontline understand how the social technologies of racism and patriarchy create inequitable American systems. He works with clients to design research processes, build strong organizational cultures, and evaluate impact. Micah led the development of Frontline’s seminal report “Why We Can’t Wait” and contributed to “Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Outcomes Among Young Latinas.” His work has positioned Frontline as a national thought leader on issues of race and gender. Prior to leading at Frontline, Micah completed a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Duke University. His research is featured in the forthcoming book The Big Black Man Rules: Race, Manhood, and the Education of Black Boys. He also examined the connections between Zulu hip-hop, politics, and opportunity in Soweto, South Africa. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004.


Stacy Hartman

Stacy HartmanStacy Hartman is the director of the PublicsLab at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. At the PublicsLab, she manages the Mellon Humanities Public Fellowship program, which trains early career graduate students in the humanities in the methods and practice of public scholarship. The first interdisciplinary cohort of 12 public fellows begins in September 2019. In addition to the fellowship program, Dr. Hartman is responsible for developing the PublicsLab internship program, managing a robust slate of events related to public scholarship, and serving as the managing editor of the program’s website. Before coming to The Graduate Center in 2018, she was the project manager of Connected Academics at the Modern Language Association. She is currently co-editing a volume titled Mission Driven: Reimagining Graduate Education for a Thriving Humanities Ecosystem. She holds a PhD in German Studies from Stanford University.


Miriam Laytner

Miriam Laytner photoMiriam Laytner is a PhD student in cultural anthropology. She is interested in the intersections of science, faith, and the understanding of climate change. Her interest in climate change stems from six years as a scuba instructor and hiking guide across North America, Australia, and the Caribbean. She holds an MA in oral history from Columbia University, an MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Oklahoma, and a BA in History from Barnard College.


Mike Mena

Mike Mena is a PhD student in Linguistic Anthropology at the Graduate Center and focuses on how ideologies of race and language converge in ways that reproduce hierarchical arrangements and income inequality.  He is currently conceptualizing a longitudinal ethnographic project on the neoliberalization of higher education in the United States.  In 2019, Mena’s YouTube channel, The Social Life of Language, was recognized with the Society for Linguistic Anthropology’s “Public Outreach and Community Service Award.”  The Social Life of Language continues to receive national and international recognition for its multi-modal pedagogical approach and as intellectually informed public activism.


Katina Rogers

Katina Rogers is co-director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she guides and mentors graduate fellows, develops programming, and exercises administrative oversight over all aspects of the program. She is also Director of Programs and Administration for HASTAC, the online scholarly network, and co-director of a new $3.15 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Humanities Alliance, a partnership between the Graduate Center and four CUNY community colleges.

Dr. Rogers’s scholarly work focuses on many aspects of higher education reform, including scholarly communication practices, professionalization and career development, public scholarship, and advocacy for fair labor policies. Her first book, titled Putting the Humanities PhD to Work: Thriving in and beyond the Classroom, will be published by Duke University Press in July 2020 and is available for pre-order. Rogers holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.


Cihan Tekay

Cihan Tekay is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the Graduate Center and a graduate fellow at the Futures Initiative, where she is the Institutional Leadership and Administration Specialist. She is interested in the global emergence of novel forms of citizenship, and how people’s engagement with science, technology, and popular political ideologies shape visions of the future. She is currently writing her dissertation on the political economy of electrification in Turkey during the early 20th century. Cihan is committed to public scholarship, academic freedom, and imagining fair and equitable futures for the university. She has been engaged in various public scholarship projects in Turkish and English for the last decade. Recently, she started recording podcasts for the Status Audio magazine, where she interviews fellow anthropologists working in Turkey. She has been a co-editor of the Turkey section on Jadaliyya.com since 2013.


Siqi Tu

Siqi Tu is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her work focuses on the areas of urban sociology, immigration, education, elites, and contemporary Chinese societies. Tu was born and raised in Shanghai, China and moved to New York City in 2012. She developed her interest in immigration and urban neighborhoods as a keen observer of diverse communities in different metropolitan areas. Her dissertation, “Destination Diploma: How Chinese Upper-Middle Class Families ‘Outsource’ Secondary Education to the United States”, investigates why and how Chinese upper-middle-class families make decisions to send their children to the United States to attend private high schools, some as young as 14 years of age, and it analyzes the actual lived experiences of the students of this “parachute-generation”. She has served as a guest speaker on Sinica Postcast and wrote op-eds for Sixtone and Chinafile.


Anne Valk

Anne Valk is a specialist in oral history, public history, and the social history of 20th century United States. Before coming to The Graduate Center, she was associate director for public humanities and a lecturer in history at Williams College, where she taught experiential and community-based classes in oral history and public history. Prior to that, she was associate professor of history and director of women’s studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and deputy director of the Center for Public Humanities at Brown University.  She has written extensively in the areas of women’s history, history of feminism, and oral history. Her books include Radical Sisters: Second-Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington, DC, 1968-1980 and Living with Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Segregated South, co-authored with Leslie Brown and recipient of the 2011 Oral History Association Book Prize. Valk has served as president of the Oral History Association and is book series editor of the Oral History Series published by Oxford University Press.


Luke Waltzer

Luke Waltzer is the Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he supports GC students in their teaching across the CUNY system and beyond, and works on a variety of pedagogical and digital projects. He previously was the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Baruch College. He holds a Ph.D. in History from the Graduate Center, serves as Director of Community Projects for the CUNY Academic Commons, is a faculty member in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program, and directs the development of Vocat, an open-source multimedia evaluation and assessment tool. He serves on the editorial collective of the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and has contributed essays to Matthew K. Gold’s Debates in the Digital Humanities and, with Thomas Harbison, to Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki’s Writing History in the Digital Age.


Bianca Williams

Bianca Williams

Bianca C. Williams is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at The Graduate Center and Faculty Lead of the PublicsLab. She earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology and a graduate certificate in African & African American Studies, from Duke University. Dr. Williams is a recipient of the American Anthropological Association & Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology. Her research interests include Black women and happiness; race, gender, and equity in higher education; feminist pedagogies; and emotional labor in Black feminist organizing and leadership. She is the author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism (Duke University Press, 2018). Dr. Williams has also written about “radical honesty” as feminist pedagogy in the collection Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment, and has published on #BlackLivesMatter, plantation politics and campus activism, and tourism in the journals Souls, Cultural AnthropologyTeachers College Record, and on the blogs Savage Minds and Anthropoliteia.


Robert Yates

Robert Yates photoRobert Yates is a PhD student in the Department of English. Robert’s research focuses on early modern literature and culture, with particular interests in drama, embodiment, and popular festivities. As a public scholar, Robert continues to work with educational institutions to develop curriculum and systems of professional development for teachers of literature and writing. Before arriving at The Graduate Center, Robert worked as a Graduate Associate at Georgetown University’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), as well as a curriculum designer of English courses at D.C. Public Schools. Robert holds an M.Phil. in Education from the University of Cambridge and a M.A. in English from Georgetown University.


Fall 2019

Glory Edim

Glory Edim is the founder of Well-Read Black Girl, a Brooklyn-based book club and online community that celebrates the uniqueness of Black literature and sisterhood. In fall 2017, she organized the first-ever Well-Read Black Girl Literary Festival. She has worked as a creative strategist for over ten years at startups and cultural institutions, including Kickstarter, The Webby Awards, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She received the 2017 Innovator’s Award from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes for her work as a literary advocate. Her first anthology, Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, was published by Random House in 2018. She serves on the board of New York City’s Housing Works Bookstore and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Ms. Edim will speak on the opening panel of “AGENCY + CARE = The Power of Black Women Reading” on 22 October 2019 and facilitate a workshop on 23 October 2019.


Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Alexis Pauline GumbsAlexis Pauline Gumbs is a Queer Black Troublemaker and Black Feminist Love Evangelist and an aspirational cousin to all sentient beings. Her poetic work in response to the needs of her cherished communities have held space for multitudes in mourning and movement. Alexis’s co-edited volume of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (PM Press, 2016) has shifted the conversation on mothering, parenting and queer transformation. Alexis has transformed the scope of intellectual, creative and oracular writing with her triptych of experimental works published by Duke University Press (Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity in 2016, M Archive: After the End of the World in 2018 and Dub: Finding Ceremony forthcoming in 2020.) Alexis and her primary collaborator Sangodare has shown the world a Queer Black Feminist Love Ethic in practice through projects such as Mobile Homecoming and Black Feminist Film School. She holds a PhD in English, African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies from Duke University.

Dr. Gumbs will speak on the opening panel of “AGENCY + CARE = The Power of Black Women Reading” on 22 October 2019 and facilitate a workshop on 23 October 2019 on the topic of “Freedom is a Practice: An Oracle Workshop.”


Lindsay Sarah Krasnoff

Lindsay Sarah KrasnoffLindsay Sarah Krasnoff is a historian, journalist, and consultant working at the intersection of global sport and diplomacy. Author of The Making of Les Bleus: Sport in France (2013) and Basketball Empire: A Hidden Story of the NBA’s Globalization (in process), she has written for The Athletic, CNN International, ESPN, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and others. Krasnoff is a Research Associate with the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS University of London. She holds a PhD in History from The Graduate Center (City University of New York), MA in Journalism and French Studies (NYU), and BA in International Affairs (The George Washington University).

Dr. Krasnoff will be facilitating a series of four workshops on the topic of public communication.


Patricia A. Matthew

Patricia A. MatthewPatricia A. Matthew is an associate professor of English at Montclair State University. She teaches courses in British Romanticism, the history of the novel, and British abolitionist literature. She is the co-editor of a special issue for Romantic Pedagogy Commons and has published essays and reviews in Women’s Writing, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, and the Keats-Shelley Journal. She’s the editor of Written/Unwritten: Diversity and the Hidden Truths of Tenure (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) and has published essays and books reviews on diversity in higher education in PMLA, The ADE Bulletin, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, The New Inquiry and The Atlantic. Her work on diversity has been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. In addition to essays on race and popular culture, she is currently writing a monograph about sugar, gender, and British abolitionist literature.

Dr. Matthew will give a workshop on Public Writing and the Early Career Scholar and a talk on Whiteness as an Institution: Publics and Pedagogies, both on 27 September 2019.


Sara Ogger

Photo of Sara OggerSara Ogger is the Executive Director of Humanities New York, the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities and sole statewide voice for the public humanities since 1975. Under her leadership, Humanities New York has introduced innovative, popular and accessible public programs such as the “Public Humanities Fellows” and “Democracy and the Informed Citizen.” A seasoned advocate for the public humanities before Congress and the NYS Legislature, Sara began her work at Humanities New York as Grants Officer in 2002, becoming Associate Director and gaining significant state funding for Humanities New York before being appointed to the Executive Directorship in 2007. Dr. Ogger holds a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Princeton University and earned her BA at Bryn Mawr College.

Dr. Ogger will teach a day-long workshop on 15 November 2019 the topic of “Humanities Design: A Primer and Workshop Exploring Equity, Access, and the Public.”


Christen Anne Smith

Christen Anne Smith is a Black feminist anthropologist, social justice advocate, associate professor of Anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin and founder of Cite Black Women, a campaign that brings awareness to the structural, gendered, racial discrimination that Black women face in the culture of academic and non-academic citation. A Latin Americanist by training, Smith has written and taught extensively on the transnational dimensions of the Black feminist tradition, including Black women’s intellectual contributions to the Americas, and Black women’s unique experiences with state violence in the Americas. Her book, Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence and Performance in Brazil  [press.uillinois.edu] (University of Illinois Press, 2016) chronicles Black Brazilians’ experiences with police violence in Bahia and the relationship between this violence and the state’s construction of Bahia as an exotic tourist site.

Dr. Smith will speak on the opening panel of “AGENCY + CARE = The Power of Black Women Reading” on 22 October 2019 and facilitate a workshop on 23 October 2019 on the topic of “Cite Black Women: Radical Praxis, Healing from Erasure.”


Jamia Wilson

Jamia Wilson photoJamia Wilson is the executive director and publisher of the Feminist Press. She is the author of Young, Gifted, and Black and Step Into Your Power, co-author of Road Map for Revolutionaries, and wrote the introduction and oral history to Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World. She is the recipient of the 2018 NYU Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnae Award, the Planned Parenthood Southeast “Legend in the Making” award, and her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Essence, Rookie, Refinery29, CNN, the Washington Post, Elle, and more.

Ms. Wilson will speak on the opening panel of “AGENCY + CARE = The Power of Black Women Reading” on 22 October 2019 and facilitate a workshop on 23 October 2019 on the topic of “The Future of Feminist Publishing.”

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message