People 2015


2015 Faculty

Talal Asad is Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is interested in the phenomenon of religion (and secularism) as an integral part of  modernity, and especially in the religious revival in the Middle East. Connected with this is an interest in the links between religious and secular notions of pain and cruelty, and therefore with the modern discourse of Human Rights. His long-term research concerns the transformation of religious law (the shari'ah) in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Egypt with special reference to arguments about what constitutes secular and progressive reform. Representative publications include On Suicide Bombing (2009); Formations of the Secular (2003); and Genealogies of Religion (1993). Professor Asad will be leading a seminar on Secularism in Summer 2015.

Simon Critchley is Hans Jonas Professor at the New School for Social Research. His books include Very Little…Almost Nothing (2004); Infinitely Demanding (2013); The Book of Dead Philosophers (2009); The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology (2014); The Mattering of Matter: Documents from the Archive of the International Necronautical Society (2013, with Tom McCarthy); and Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine (2014, with Jamieson Webter). An experimental new work, Memory Theatre, and a book called Bowie were published in September 2014. He is moderator of "The Stone," a philosophy column in The New York Times, to which he is a frequent contributor. Professor Critchley will be leading a seminar on Heidegger in Summer 2015.



Patricia J. Williams is James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She has served on the faculties of the University of Wisconsin School of Law, City University of New York Law School, and Golden Gate University School of Law, and has been at Columbia since 1991. She is a Fellow at the School of Criticism and Theory, Dartmouth College, and at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. She has published widely in the areas of race, gender, and law, and on other issues of legal theory and legal writing. Her books include The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1992); The Rooster's Egg; (1997); and Seeing a ColorBlind Future: The Paradox of Race (1998). She is a Columnist at The Nation and a MacArthur fellow. Professor Williams is leading a seminar on Racial Formations and Justice Today in Summer 2015.


2015 fellows

Özge Özbek Akıman is an Assistant Professor in the department of American Culture and Literature at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey where she got her B.A. (1999), M.A. (2002) and Ph.D. (2009). She spent the 2007-8 academic year conducting doctoral research at the Graduate Center, City University of New York on a Fulbright grant. Her dissertation is entitled, “‘Finding Out for Yourself’; or Poets Rewriting History: A Selection of Essays from the Post World War Two American Poetry” (2009). She has published articles on open field/projective poetics and the Blues as African American ethos and is currently working on the fiction of Amiri Baraka. She teaches classes on American literary history, the South and African American culture.

Kalinka Alvarez is a PhD candidate in French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She received a B.A. and a Maîtrise in French Literature from the University of Paris III-Sorbonne Nouvelle. Before entering the doctoral program, she taught French for the Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale, the French Institute Alliance Française, and both French and Spanish at the City University of New York. Her research focuses on European autobiographies of the 19th and 20th centuries  and the development of this genre within different literary, historical, and religious contexts.

Hakem al-Rustom is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and the director of the Graduate Program in Sociology-Anthropology, the American University in Cairo. He earned his PhD from the London School of Economics for a thesis entitled “Anatolian Fragments: Armenians between Turkey and France.” His research interests lies in the intersection between political anthropology and history, ethnographic silences and settler colonialism. His research provides alternative approaches to the study of Middle Eastern and post-Ottoman societies, and interrogates the politics of “minorities”/“majorities” in governing population diversity, legally ambiguous populations, and sectarianism in everyday life with reference to Armenians, Arab Jews, Christians in the Middle East, and Muslims in Europe. Before joining the AUC, Hakem was a lecturer in History and Armenian Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is the co-editor of Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Redemption (2010) and currently working on a book manuscript on ethnographic silences and indigenous politics in Turkey.

Katherine Bermingham is a Ph.D. student in political science at the University of Notre Dame, concentrating in political theory. She works primarily on modern and late modern political thought, feminist theory, and aesthetics. Her research interests include theories of subjectivity, alienation, exile, memory, and belonging, as well as fluctuating attitudes toward art and beauty throughout the history of political philosophy. She is especially interested in the influence of Heidegger’s philosophy on the political theory of Hannah Arendt and the aesthetic theory of Theodor Adorno. She holds a BA in English and Government from Georgetown University. 

Catherine Besteman, Francis F. Bartlett and Ruth K. Bartlett Professor of Anthropology, has taught Anthropology and African Studies at Colby since 1994. Her research focuses on racism, immigration/mobility, inequality, and social transformation, topics she has studied in South Africa, Somalia, and the US. Her newest book, Making Refuge: Somali Bantu Refugees and Lewiston, Maine is forthcoming from Duke University Press. She has also published Transforming Cape Town (2008) and Unraveling Somalia (1999), as well as The Insecure American (2009, co-edited with Hugh Gusterson) and Why America’s Top Pundits Are Wrong (2005, co-edited with Hugh Gusterson). Her work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, Wenner-Gren, NEH, and the School of Advanced Research. 

Orisanmi Burton is a husband, father and doctoral candidate in sociocultural anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Based in New York State, Orisanmi’s dissertation research examines how incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people draw on their experiences of imprisonment to create knowledge about punishment, race, and social justice in the United States. It will ethnographically explore the proposals and knowledge practices of the Green Haven Think Tank, the Center For NuLeadership, and the Black Consciousness Coalition, three interconnected organizations led by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people of color. Funded through a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, this project seeks to identify and analyze the ways in which this form of activist knowledge production has influenced incarceration discourse and policy.

Diego Cagüeñas Rozo is the director of the Center for Ethics and Democracy at Universidad Icesi in Cali, Colombia. As an anthropologist and philosopher, he is interested in how sense is created, contested, and reproduced. He is especially interested in the idea of “geological agency” that is central to the current debate around the inception of the Anthropocene and the emerging politics of disaster and vulnerability that comes along with a radically immanent understanding of how sense is produced. He holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research.

Jonathan Cahana is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Culture and Society in Aarhus University, Denmark. He received his doctoral degree in Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and conducted postdoctoral research as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Divinity School. His current research – supported by the Danish Council for Independent Research – is a cultural critical reading of ancient Christian Gnosticism, a study which is both historical and comparative in nature. In this way, ancient Gnosticism is studied both through and vis à vis modern critical theories including the Frankfurt School, radical feminism, poststructuralist philosophy, and queer theory. Jonathan is also interested in the philosophy of Hans Jonas, and especially in the intricate ways in which Jonas applied Gnosticism to criticize modernity and the modern condition.

Roxanne Chaitowitz is a doctoral candidate in political science at The University of Queensland, Australia. Her research looks at the phenomenology of homelessness as a form of reification and engages with the removed and objectified pathological effects reification has on the self’s consciousness towards the other, and how this shapes and determines not only ethical engagements with the homeless, but their own self-constructed subjectivity as well. The project seeks to reconfigure this unquestioned freedom of the self to abstract and reduce the contingency of the homeless into object by proposing an ethics of intersubjective engagement that answers to the individual needs of the other, as situated within the paradigm of reification. Despite popular belief, Roxanne does not ride a kangaroo into University, nor does she wrestle with crocodiles in her spare time. She also refuses to greet you with "G'day, mate", because no one in Australia does that. No one.

Brent Crosson was postdoctoral fellow in the anthropology department at NYU this year, and will be Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at UT Austin next year. His work focuses on questions of science, law, and criminalized religious practices in the anglophone Caribbean.  




Rebekah Cumpsty is a doctoral candidate at the University of York, England, funded by the South African Oppenheimer Memorial Trust. Her research investigates the construction of a postsecular sacred in contemporary sub-Saharan African literatures, theorizing the sacred as a consequence of performativity and hermeneutic investment in the precariousness of everyday life. The study is underpinned by an understanding of the postsecular as a field of mediation, overlap and contest in the relations between the religious and secular. It seeks to build a conceptual vocabulary to explore the ways in which postsecular sacralisation is leveraged in the literary fiction of Chris Abani, Yvonne Vera, Teju Cole, Phaswane Mpe and Marlene Van Niekerk, among others, in response to the simultaneity, contradiction, and comingling of different religious subjectivities present in the multiplicity of modern African experience.

Ankur Datta is a Social Anthropologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the South Asian University, New Delhi. Ankur’s Doctoral Thesis, completed at the London School of Economics (2011), looks at the experience of displacement among the Kashmiri Hindu minority following the outbreak of conflict in the Kashmir valley in 1989. He is currently preparing a book based on his research which explores the struggles for place, home and certainty, and victimhood, as articulated by the Kashmiri Hindus. His research interests include the anthropology of forced migration and violence. He is especially keen to explore how ordinary people locate themselves and dwell in the world in the context of complex histories.

Sandhya Devesan Nambiar is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. She has a PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, with a focus on Deleuzean concepts. Her creative interests include Indian classical dance and poetry. 




Thomas Dolan is a PhD candidate in American Studies at The George Washington University, where he focuses on Middle Eastern diaspora and race.  He also holds degrees in American Studies from NYU and History and International Studies from Yale University. Prior to returning to academia, Thomas was also an active performer and producer and has worked at Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, Town, Hall, Studio 54, among others. 


Eduardo Dullo is an Associate Researcher at CEBRAP (Brazilian Centre of Analysis and Planning) and a FAPESP Postdoctoral fellow at University of São Paulo. Currently a Visiting Scholar at the Social Anthropology Division in the University of Cambridge, Eduardo works address the entanglement of politics, religion and education, both historically and ethnographically, in a rewriting of the formation of a secular civil society in 20th century Brazil. He has published in Brazilian journals (Revista Brasileira de Ciências Sociais; Mana; Novos Estudos - CEBRAP; Religião e Sociedade; Debates do NER; Pro-Posições) about Paulo Freire's pedagogy, Catholic and governmental politics of social inclusion, new atheist organizations, and the religious role in political disputes.


Myisha Eatmon is a fourth year doctoral student in Northwestern University's Department of History, studying African American history, legal history, and the Jim Crow South. She is particularly interested in the intersections of race, power, and the law under Jim Crow, moving away from criminal courts, which have received a lot of scholarly attention already. She is proposing a dissertation titled "Public Wrongs, Private Rights: African Americans, Private Law, and the Pursuit of Legal Remedies for Injuries Inflicted by Whites During Jim Crow," which seeks to examine the ways in which African Americans used tort law to seek legal recourse for assaults under Jim Crow. Her dissertation proposes to historicize some of the litigation strategies used by African Americans most recently, but also over the last 100 years. She is advised by Dr. Dylan Craig Penningroth (UC Berkeley) and is a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies at Northwestern.

Richard Kent Evans is a PhD student in the Department of History at Temple University. He is interested in secularism, religious liberty, pluralism, and the intersection between religion, politics, and law. His dissertation project, tentatively titled "MOVE: Religious Liberty and the Politics of Secularism," explores the contentious relationship between a religious group called MOVE and the city of Philadelphia as a way of interrogating the limits of the free exercise of religion. 


Jason Keith Fernandes is currently a post-doctoral scholar at the Centre for International Studies, Institute of the University of Lisbon. His research project seeks to explore the manner in which the Catholic hierarchy in Goa works to mould Catholics in that state into Indian citizens. The project also seeks to explore the larger ways in which Catholicism engages with liberalism. His doctoral project, completed in July 2013, focused on the citizenship experiences of Goan Catholics. This project looked at the manner in which language forms selected by the state effectively exclude Catholics, and especially lower-caste Catholics from secular civil society. Jason contributes regular op-ed pieces to Goan newspapers, these and other writings are available at


Alexis Emanuel Gros is a sociologist and PhD student in Social Sciences at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, where he is also co-lecturer of the seminar “Social Phenomenology.” His research field is social theory at large, and social phenomenology in particular. In recent years, he published several papers both in Argentinian and international journals and books, and made a number of translations of texts by classical and contemporary philosophers and social theorists – such as Alfred Schutz, Carl Schmitt, Frances Chaput Waksler, and Jochen Dreher – from both German and English into Spanish. In two opportunities, 2012 and 2014, he obtained grants from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for spending research stays at the Social Science Archive Konstanz - Alfred Schutz Memorial Archive at the University of Constance, and in 2014 he spent a short research stay at the Center for Subjectivity Research (CFS) at the University of Copenhagen.

Yemima Hadad is a doctoral candidate and teaching assistant at the school of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam. Her research project explores the concept of redemption in Martin Buber’s Biblical exegesis and Hasidic writings. The project demonstrates the significance of this concept in explaining the political tenets of Buber's thought. Her M.A Thesis, which she completed at Tel Aviv University, dealt with the meanings of the concept of nothingness in Martin Heidegger’s metaphysics. Her fields of interest include nihilism, religiosity, and secularism in Jewish and continental philosophy.


Fabiola Hanna is a new media artist and software designer. Her work explores the constructedness of impossible conversations in post-war situations. She is a PhD candidate in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she also gained her MFA in Digital Arts and New Media. Her doctoral project is an automatic montage machine of an archive of oral histories about Lebanon’s history starting in 1943. Her interdisciplinary research interests include Software Studies, Narrative Intelligence, Archive and Archives, Memory Studies and New Media Art Activism. Her work has been exhibited at the SubZero Festival in San Jose, the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, the New Children’s Museum in San Diego, the Digital Arts Research Center in Santa Cruz and the MakerFaire in San Mateo.

Ido Harari holds BA and MA degrees in Jewish thought from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Jewish Thought at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. His MA thesis was dedicated to the previous Rebbe of the Belz Hassidic court, R. Aharon Rokah zt"l, and focused on tracing the connections between suffering, asceticism, sacrifice, and the construction of charismatic Hassidic leadership. His doctoral research attempts to examine the ways in which orthodoxization processes of Jews with non-observant backgrounds in the German Kulturraum during the late 19th-early 20th centuries were conceptualized, enabled, and carried out, focusing on relevant aspects of the relations between Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Arab/Muslim East.

Sara Hassani is a PhD Student in the Politics Department at the New School for Social Research, where she is a University in Exile Fellowship recipient. Her research is interested in the intersections of refugee resistance and political self-sacrifice. Broadly, her graduate work focuses on camps across the Middle East including those bordered along Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. She completed her Master's at the University of Ottawa, where she completed her thesis entitled "Embodied Ideology: An Inquiry Into Normative Representations of Female Resistors of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Iran/People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran." In it she undertook a feminist discourse analysis of the normative prescriptions used to qualify women's agency in resistance across academic and media sources. She conducted her research on the MEK in French, English and Farsi.

Benjamin Hegarty is a PhD candidate in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra. His dissertation combines ethnographic and historical research to explore the history of ways of knowing transgender in medicine and psychology as they encountered new forms of liberalism in Indonesia during the 1970s and 1980s. He is interested in the anthropology of the body and issues of political economy, race, gender and sexuality. He completed his Masters degree at Monash University in Melbourne and BA at Griffith University in Brisbane. He has completed 18 months of fieldwork in Indonesia where he is also an intern at the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at Gadjah Madah University. 

Sorelle Henricus is a PhD candidate at the The National University of Singapore (Department of English Language and Literature), where she is writing her dissertation on the philosophy of knowledge. Her work is a sustained engagement with the different ways we can “think” knowledge in the various forms they appear today, as techno-science and in digital culture, as well as in the humanities and social sciences. Alongside twentieth and twenty-first century literature and continental philosophy, some of the objects of her research are bio-medical science and contemporary architecture. In addition to teaching at the English Department at NUS she is also an Associate Fellow at Tembusu College where she teaches an undergraduate course on science fiction film. Sorelle has co-organized and given papers at international workshops on both classic and contemporary thinkers in the tradition of critical philosophy, including Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, Blanchot, Adorno, Derrida, Baudrillard, Virilio, and Nancy. 

Carla Hung is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology, a graduate certificate student in Women’s Studies, and a research scholar at the Center for European Studies at Duke University. Her research has been supported by the Blinken European Institute and examines the practice of seeking political asylum in Italy. In order to shed light on the contemporary understanding of political asylum as a humanitarian practice, her work investigates Mediterranean conceptions of hospitality and their historical and cross cultural iterations. 


Fulden Ibrahimhakkioglu is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Oregon where she is also affiliated with women's and gender studies. Her research focuses on social and political philosophy, affect theory, and decolonial feminisms/feminisms of color. She is currently writing her dissertation, which is tentatively titled “Politics of Paranoia: Affect, Temporality, and Epistemology of National Security.” She received her B.A. in philosophy and psychology, along with a certificate in gender studies, from Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. She lives in Eugene, OR with her two cats, Sheldon and Leonard, and her partner in crime, Will. She is also the singer/guitarist of the Istanbul-based punk rock band Secondhand Underpants. Born and raised in Izmir, Turkey, a sunny beach town on the Aegean coast, she channels her frustrations with the Oregon weather into her creative endeavors.

Sarah Ihmoud is a doctoral candidate in social/activist anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research centers on the gendered and sexual performativity of Israeli settler colonial violence in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as the embodied, intimate and everyday aspects of native eviction, elimination and settler indigenization in the colonial city.  Prior to working in Palestine/Israel, she worked in Guatemala, researching indigenous women’s organizing against feminicide and other forms of gender violence in the aftermath of the country’s long civil war. Sarah embraces a feminist praxis of decolonial anthropology, working in alignment with communities in struggle to produce knowledge with a shared sense of purpose towards liberatory social change. Her work thus far has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Palestinian American Research Center, and the Wenner-                                                            Gren Foundation.

Paz Irarrazabal is a Chilean Lawyer. She hold a Master in Laws from the London School of Economics and is currently a PhD candidate at King´s College London. Her research explores issues of discrimination in the public space in contemporary Chile, particularly in relation to over-policed and criminalized groups. She has approached these issues from legal geography, criminology and relational egalitarian theories of justice. Prior to being awarded a scholarship to study in the UK, she worked in Chile as a legal advisor for the Presidency Office and as a researcher at the University of Chile in issues of public law and human rights. She is an activist against the injustice of the criminal system in her country, and in the UK she volunteers at the HM Prison Holloway.

Jacob Kang-Brown can be found at the Woolworth building downtown Monday through Friday, where he has been a researcher working for the Vera Institute of Justice for the last few years. Jacob used to work for Los Angeles County government in a small agency dedicated to harmony, equity, and inclusion that struggled with discrimination among staff. That experience shaped his dissertation research on hate crime in Los Angeles neighborhoods and the difficulties in using law enforcement to punish racism. Jacob will finish a PhD in criminology, law and society from the University of California, Irvine in 2016. Jacob’s writing appears in Contexts, as well various government and technical reports concerning hate crime, violence in correctional facilities, and school discipline policy.

Uri Landesberg is a graduate student in Philosophy and research fellow of the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University. His fields of interest are philosophical anthropology, the history of post-Hegelian thought, phenomenology and post-Kleinian psychoanalysis – and their possible bearings on ethics. His current research project aims to develop a critical conversation on otherness between Levinas and Hegel. Uri had also studied at Paris-1 University and published an essay on "Modernity and Primitivism on the Eve of 'The Great War.'" In addition, he is part-time teacher of history at public high schools.

Ashley Lebner (PhD, Cambridge) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University. She is currently completing two book projects: After Impossibility: Christianity, Marxism and the Secular in Brazil, a monograph based on ethnography among landless workers in Amazonia; and Conceptualizing Ethnographic Redescription: Strathernian Conversations, an edited volume in honor of Marilyn Strathern, under contract with Berghahn Books. Lebner’s new research explores struggles over science, Christianity and secularity among Brazilian creationists and scientists.

Anat Livshits is a doctoral student in sociology and the gender and sexuality studies program at the New School for Social Research, a Prize Fellow in the department of sociology, and a research assistant at the department of history. Her research is about divorce in Judaism, an unbalanced system that puts all the power solely in the hands of the husband, since he is the only one who can grant the divorce. She compares the situation of Jewish women in Israel and in North America to explore how the divergent relations between state and religion in each of the two countries affect the women. She is interested in how the women experience, interpret, and make sense of this unequal system, especially while living in a modern society that also promotes gender equality as one of its values.


Marlaina Martin is a doctoral candidate in the Cultural Anthropology program at Rutgers University. A Mellon Mays fellow during her undergraduate studies, Martin earned a Bachelor's degree from Brown University with a double concentration in Anthropology and American Civilization. Her senior honors thesis investigated displays of gender in Gozo’s tourism sector. Since beginning her graduate career, Martin has received the Ralph Bunche Fellowship from her home university (Rutgers) and a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. With regard to publications, Martin reflected on her international experiences of racialization, gender and nationality in an article for a forum on ‘Racism and Feminism’ organized by the on-line blogging collective, The Feminist Wire. With interests in critical race and feminist theory, body and embodiment studies, and media studies, Martin’s dissertation research documents and historicizes the production and distribution practices of black women working in New York City’s independent film scene. 

Nicole Maurantonio is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric & Communication Studies at the University of Richmond. Previously a Postdoctoral Teaching Associate at Northeastern University, Maurantonio teaches courses that reflect her research interests in public memory, race, and media in the 20th and 21st century United States. She has published within journals representing the academic fields of communication and media studies, journalism, and history. Maurantonio is currently working on a series of essays examining journalistic coverage of police abuses of authority and the propagation of contemporary myths surrounding black and white masculinity. She is also among the organizing faculty for the University of Richmond’s Race History project.

Mohamed Amer Meziane is a Ph.D. Candidate and Lecturer at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris 1. He is the French translator of Talal Asad and a member of the editorial board of the Deleuzian journal Multitudes. He was born in London to Algerian parents. He received a Masters at the University of Münster in Germany and the "agrégation de philosophie" in the Sorbonne. He was trained in German classical Philosophy and works in the field of French and "Post-colonial" Theory. He works on the emergence of Secular discourses in the context of French Colonialism and German Orientalism. His Dissertation is a genealogy of Secularism studying the formation of Hegelian and Socialists concepts of Secularization and Islam in relationship to colonial North-Africa and to the "Eastern Question" during the 19th century. He is the director of a dossier in the                                                                                                              last issue of Multitudes,

Irfan Muhammad is a lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, University of Karachi. His research endeavors are related to contemporary European philosophy. Specifically, he is interested in the political implications of phenomenological hermeneutics and Post-Structuralism in the larger context of self-other relationship. He is also interested in analyzing the concept of otherness as a political configuration from the perspectives of hospitality and love. In his current research, he is investigating the possibility of Critique in the non-Western contexts in general and South Asian context in particular. In this regard, he is analyzing the significance of asking new and better questions because he believes formulating meaningful questions itself is an act of philosophizing which helps us to bring our most basic axioms about everyday life to the fore for philosophical reflection. His publications include The (Im)possibility of Metaphysics: Focus on Kant’s Transcendental Idealism (2013).

Christine Muller currently serves as Dean of Saybrook College, one of Yale College's twelve residential colleges, as well as a Lecturer in the American Studies department.  Her cultural studies research focuses on the first decade of the twenty-first century, particularly through the lens of post-September 11th cultural trauma.  Her work has included studies of literature, film, television, and other forms of popular culture showcasing fractures and ambivalences within ordinary understandings of knowledge, agency, and responsibility. She is currently revising her dissertation for publication, which refines a definition of cultural trauma with September 11th as a kind of case study. She  is also building upon work she has published on The Dark Knight by further exploring the role of superheroes in post-September 11th film.

Peter Murray is a Ph.D. candidate in English literature at Fordham University, concentrating on 20th century British and Postcolonial literatures. His dissertation, “Precarious Children: Modern Women Writers and the Politics of the Child,” examines queer representations of children in 1930s transnational feminist literature. Peter reads queer kids in the works of Woolf, Bowen, Marson and Hyde as aesthetic judgments that allow these writers to reflect upon the successes and failures of the women’s rights movement that has recently come of age in England.


R. Santhosh Nair is an Assistant Professor with the department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras. He obtained his doctoral degree from Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore and his thesis explored the identity formation in the context of theological as well as organizational contestations within Islam in Kerala, India. His primary research interest is in the questions of religious encounter with modernity and late modernity. He is in particular interested in the questions of citizenship, identity, and secularism in the Indian context. His current research includes studies on religious civil society activism among Muslims in Kerala, a comparative study on citizenship and neoliberal state, popular religiosity and theological contestations on saint worship among Muslims. He offers a course on Religion and Modernity for the Master's students at IIT Madras.


Rosa Norton is a graduate student in Sociocultural Anthropology at UC Berkeley. Her research considers how sensible and aesthetic practices geared toward a remembrance of al-Andalus orient and potentially reconfigure political and social life in the region spanning North Africa and Iberia. She is currently preparing for dissertation fieldwork in Tetouan, Morocco. 


Mona Oraby is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Northwestern University, where she is also a Graduate Fellow in the Center for Legal Studies, a Graduate Affiliate of the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, and a Graduate Fellow in the International Studies Program. Her dissertation attends to enduring entanglements of law and religion that exacerbate dilemmas of religious difference in the contemporary Middle East. Focusing on Egypt, she uses historical evidence, content analysis of legal texts, and ethnographic research to examine how vulnerable populations who confound normative understandings of religion both challenge and perpetuate the state’s legal claim to religious authority. Mona has ongoing interests in secularism and secularity, the relationship between conversion and modern governance, as well as the processes through which religious majorities and minorities are constructed over time. Her publications on conversion, apostasy, and the rule of law are forthcoming in New Diversities and Oriente Moderno.

Teena Purohit is Assistant Professor of Islam and South Asian studies in the department of Religion at Boston University. She is the author of The Aga Khan Case: Religion and Identity in Colonial India (Harvard University Press, 2012).  Her current book project, under contract with Harvard University Press, is entitled Making Islam Modern.


Peter Raccuglia is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English Literature at Yale University. His work focuses on the emergence of environmental discourse in nineteenth-century American literature. As a member of Yale's Working Group on Globalization and Culture, he also conducts research on the cultural dimension of finance capitalism. He will be a Mellon Fellow in the Digital Humanities for the 2015-2016 academic year.


Farrah Raza is currently a second year PhD student at the Centre of European Law, King’s College London, where she is researching secularism and religious freedom. She holds first class honours LL.B from KCL and an LL.M from the University of Cambridge. She is a Teaching Fellow at SOAS, since 2012.  She was a researcher at the Commonwealth Secretariat for a year.

Ellie R. Schainker is the Arthur Blank Family Foundation Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Emory University where she teaches courses on modern European and East European Jewish history.  She is currently finishing a book on Jewish conversions to Christianity in nineteenth-century imperial Russia in light of the multi-confessional politics of the Russian empire and its impact on imperial sociability and religious toleration. In her current research, she is exploring non-traditional forms of Judaism and projects for Jewish religious reform in the Russian empire.  Schainker received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, and was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies in 2010-2011.

Grzegorz Sokol is a PhD candidate in anthropology at The New School for Social Research. He is currently finishing his dissertation on the notions of reality in psychiatric diagnosing and therapy in contemporary Poland. His research explores the production of reality's binding quality — its realness — in treatments of depression that seek to reshape patients’ relationship to “what is.” 


Dorothy Stringer is a psychoanalytic critic working on twentieth-century African American and US literatures. She is the author of “Not Even Past”: Race, Subjectivity and Historical Trauma in Faulkner, Larsen and Van Vechten (Fordham, 2010), as well as articles on Richard Wright and Junot Díaz. She teaches at Temple University.

Linda Takamine is a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her dissertation research focuses on the everyday lives of alcoholics in a metropolitan area of Texas. Alcoholism is commonly understood as a pathology of the reward and stress systems of the brain. However, she argues that neurophysiological effects of alcohol occur within self-interpreting social beings with values and purposes. Alcohol induces perceptible physical changes which display qualities that the drinker and others take to be indexes of socially valued types. Alcoholics eventually shift from being socially valued to disvalued as their character traits are established as tokens of alcoholic types. Some alcoholics stop drinking by forming social and spiritual relationships that enable them to enact virtues considered conducive to well-being. To understand these material processes, she draw upon phenomenology and semiotics to analyze interlocking sets of interactions at different scales, including physical sensations, social categories of persons, self-reflection, and the mutual evaluation of people in a social context.

SherAli Tareen is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster PA. He received his PhD in Religion/Islamic Studies at Duke University and his BA at Macalester College. His work centers on Muslim intellectual thought in modern South Asia with a focus on intra-Muslim debates and polemics on crucial questions of law, ethics, and theology. He is currently completing a book project entitled “Polemical Encounters: Competing Imaginaries of Tradition in Modern South Asian Islam” that explores polemics over the boundaries of heretical innovation (bid‘a) among leading 19th century Indian Muslim scholars (‘Ulama.’) He is also interested in the interaction of secular conditions and Muslim reformist thought. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Law and Religion, Muslim World, Political Theology, and Islamic Studies. His academic publications can be found at

Rima Vesely-Flad is the Chair of Religious Studies and the Director of Peace and Justice Studies at Warren Wilson College. She holds a doctorate in social ethics from Union Theological Seminary, a master's degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a B.A. from the University of Iowa.  Her research and publications explore the racialized structure of moral thought in Reformed theology, Enlightenment philosophy, and practices of punishment in historical and contemporary U.S. society. In addition to these topics, she teaches on environmental justice, critical race theory, and social movements.  In 2004, Rima founded the Interfaith Coalition of Advocates for Reentry and Employment (ICARE), a New York State grassroots organization focused on changing legislative barriers encountered by people with criminal convictions, which has been credited with helping pass seven bills in the New York State legislature. She taught religion courses at Sing Sing Prison from 2004 to 2006, and also spent several years working with direct service organizations, alternative-to-incarceration programs, and political campaigns. Her honors include a 2007 Union Square Award for grassroots activists, a 2007-2010 inaugural Episcopal Church Foundation fellowship, and several academic fellowships.

Bianca C. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She received both her B.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, with a Graduate Certificate in African & African American Studies. As a feminist cultural anthropologist, Williams’ research centers on the racialized and gendered experiences of Black American women in the U.S. and Caribbean, specifically their pursuits of happiness and strategies to maintain emotional wellness. Her book, currently titled Pursing Happiness: Black Women, Travel, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism, is under contract with Duke University Press.

Alexander Wolfson is a student of the Philosophy of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School. His background is both from within academia and the visual arts. His primary focus is on critiques of reason, or anti-Enlightenment thought, from the 18th-century to the present, with a specialization in deconstruction. His interests lie in both thinking about linguistic and artistic practices that serve as an affront to reason, but even more so, tracing lineages from within artistic, theological and philosophical practices that show reason to be not what it is. To show that the repression by reason of what it is not can be seen as the primary centrifugal force of philosophical thought. 

Shaolu Yu is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at the University of Connecticut. She is about to defend her dissertation in July and start a postdoctoral position in Rhodes College in August. She is an urban geographer interested in race and ethnicity, transnationalism and migration, mobility, and GIS.  She holds a B.A. in Resources, Environment and Urban Planning from the Confucius Cultural University (Qufu, China, 2007) and an M.A. in Human Geography from the Beijing Capital Normal University (Beijing, China, 2010). Her doctoral dissertation “Transnationalism, Mobility and Identity-The Making of Place in Flushing, New York City,” examines the paradox of transnational mobilities at the cross-national scale and (im)mobilities at the local scale of the Chinese (im)migrants in urban environment, and how the paradox impacts their everyday life, identities and senses of place. In her free time (which is rare), she likes reading, cooking, traveling, and photographing.

Veronika Zink is a Research-Postdoc at the International Graduate Center of the Study of Culture (GCSC) at the Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany. As a cultural sociologist she is working at the intersection of economic anthropology, social transformation and political theory by specifically focusing on religion and the cultural production of religiosity. In her current project she aims to further understand our so-called post-religious attitude by looking at two highly intertwined contemporary discourses, namely on the sacralization of the mundane and on the profanation of religion. In 2014 she released her monograph, Von der Verehrung. Eine kultursoziologische Untersuchung – On Adoration. A Socio-Cultural Essay (Campus).

Tali Ziv is a Doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania who has worked on issues of race, marginalization and citizenship in the Caribbean and US inner-city. She has a Masters in Public Health and is currently conducting fieldwork in Philadelphia. Her research interests revolve principally around issues of social suffering, violence, space and citizenship in urban areas. She is interested specifically in studies of urban marginality, affect, race and subjectivity. She is also committed to critical studies of methodology, subjectivity, health, queer anthropology, as well as to the literary integrity of ethnographic writing. Geographic areas of interest: US inner-city; Latin America and the Caribbean.