UCR

CHASS



New Faculty 2017-18


Faculty Profiles

Dean Milagros Peña, together with the CHASS faculty and staff, welcomes our new 2017-18 distinguished faculty members to the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Richard M. Carpiano

Richard M. Carpiano

Professor of Public Policy and Sociology
Ph.D., 2004, Columbia University

Professor Carpiano is a medical sociologist and population health scientist whose research focuses on how social factors, such as socioeconomic status, race-ethnicity, social connections, and community conditions, contribute to the physical and mental health of adults and children. His current work primarily entails several collaborative projects focused on social determinants of childhood vaccination coverage in the US and Canada and public attitudes towards vaccination policies. Carpiano’s solo- and co-authored publications have appeared in forums such as the American Journal of Public Health, American Sociological Review, Health & Place, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science & Medicine. He is the co-editor (with Brian Kelly of Purdue University) of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the leading journal for medical sociology scholarship.

Yasemin Irepoglu Carreras

Yasemin Irepoglu Carreras

Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., 2017, University of Pittsburgh

Professor Carreras earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Between 2015 and 2017 she worked as Lecturer in the Political Science department at UCR. Her fields of research and teaching are comparative politics and international relations, with primary focus on Western European politics, comparative federalism, governance, inequality, and international organizations. Her previous work has appeared in academic journals such as Electoral Studies, Turkish Studies and Regional Studies, Regional Science. She has also contributed to an edited volume on global economy, with a chapter on global inequality trends. She is currently working on a book manuscript on the impact of decentralization and interactive governance on income inequality in Europe. Her other current research projects include the effect of Spain’s territorial governance structure on regional inequalities, and the comparative impact of sub-state diplomacy and multi-level governance on policies addressing climate change.

Iván Eusebio Aguirre Darancou

Iván Eusebio Aguirre Darancou

Acting Assistant Professor, Hispanic Studies
Ph.D., 2017, Washington University in St. Louis

Professor Darancou received his Ph.D. from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St. Louis in May of 2017. He is currently working on a manuscript based on his dissertation titled “Consuming Bodies: Countercultural Citizens of Mexican Capitalism in the 20th Century,” which traces how a series of cultural artefacts –comics, music, performance, film, concerts, journalism, theatre– were used by citizens during the post-revolutionary period to generate alternatives narratives of nation, consumption habits and counterculture. Other research projects involve studying marginalized female and lgbtttqi countercultural producers of the 60s-80s, focusing on a variety of media from children’s books to songbooks to super8mm film production, as well as examine the ways in which humanimal subjectivities interact with ideologies of nationalism and gender. He has published articles on authors Augusto Monterroso, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Parménides García Saldaña and José Agustín in journals such as Hispanic Review, Tierra adentro, the Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea and Romance Notes.  His fields of interest include Latin American literature and culture (emphasis on Mexico), critical theory, film and media studies, queer theory, ethics, and countercultural studies.

María Firmino-Castillo

María Firmino-Castillo

Acting Assistant Professor of Critical Dance Studies
Ph.D., expected 2017, California Institute of Integral Studies

Professor Firmino-Castillo is a transdisciplinary artist, cultural worker, and researcher working at the intersections of performance and critical dance studies, decolonial studies, critical anthropology, and environmental philosophy. Firmino’s dissertation, entitled “The Destruction and Regeneration of Worlds through Performance,” draws from her engagement with community-based Ixil Maya art collectives in Nebaj, Guatemala and with Grupo Sotz’il, a professional xajoj-q’ojom (Kaqchikel, music/dance) ensemble based in Sololá, Guatemala. Using dialogical inquiry, collaborative theorization, and reflexive auto-ethnography, Firmino explored Mayan contemporary performance as a praxis of survivance in the face of genocide and the ontological violence of coloniality and empire. Professor Firmino was a National Science Foundation fellow at the University of New Mexico, where she researched the criminalization of dissent in Guatemala and a century-old tradition of protest called the Huelga de Dolores (Strike of Sorrows). As an artist and cultural worker, she has participated in several site-specific multidisciplinary performance projects in Guatemala, México, and the United States. Currently, she is working in close collaboration with Grupo Sotz’il on a bicoastal program of performances and workshops geared toward the growing Maya diaspora living in the United States. This forms the basis of her next research project, in which she explores transnational dance collaborations in the context of migration, exile, and forced displacement. Committed to deepening the potential for ontological critique in critical dance and performance studies, she centers the theories of the artists she collaborates with while developing decolonial and anti-positivist research approaches and forms of representation.

Armando Garcia

 Armando García

Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., Cornell University

Professor García is an interdisciplinary scholar, specializing in Latina/o, Latin American, and Indigenous Studies. He earned his PhD in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures from Cornell University. His research and teaching focus primarily on race, migration, decolonial performance, and feminist and queer cultural forms. Professor García is a Gates Millennium Scholar of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the past recipient of a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship, as well as research grants from the Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Program of the Social Science Research Council. Most recently, he was awarded a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016) in support of his current book manuscript, Impossible Indians: The Native Subjects of Decolonial Performance. His book studies how playwrights and performance artists alter formations of race and freedom in the Americas. His research on race, illegality, and decolonial performance also appears in Social Text and Modern Drama

San Juanita Garcia

San Juanita García

Assistant Professor, Sociology
Ph.D., 2014, Texas A&M University

Professor García earned her PhD in Sociology from Texas A&M University. She completed postdoctoral training in the NRSA Mental Health Postdoctoral T32 program (2015-2017) at the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, jointly sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Duke University. Juanita’s research explores how a deportation regime and racialization practices embedded in an anti-immigrant climate fuel discrimination and impact intra-group relations, identity, stress, and the mental health of Mexican-origin women in Texas. Her current book project explores a concept she develops called “vicarious illegality,” to highlight the stress and mental health impacts on those who witness the negative consequences of “illegality,” particularly family, romantic partners, and friends of the undocumented. Her research has been funded by the American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program and the Ford Foundation. Her solo and collaborative work appears in Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Sociology Compass, Psychiatric Services, Health Expectations, and Transnational Social Review.

Kimberly Guerrero

Kimberly Guerrero

Acting Assistant Professor of Theatre, Film and Digital Productions
MFA, 2017, University of California, Riverside

Professor Guerrero is an actor, writer, and director who works in film, television, theatre, and new media. Her practice-based research centers around righting the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of Native American and indigenous peoples in popular media. Her screen credits include Longmire, Blood and Oil, The Cherokee Word for Water, Grey’s Anatomy, Hidalgo, and Seinfeld; stage credits include August: Osage County (Chicago, Broadway, London, Sydney), Manahatta (The Public Theater, NY) and Steel Magnolias (TPAC, Nashville). Having written and directed her own award-winning short films, music videos, and PSAs, she has also worked extensively in tribal communities teaching digital filmmaking to youth as a means of empowerment. She is currently shopping TV pilots to major networks that feature contemporary Native American storylines, as well as writing a memoir of the highs and lows of her own experience as an indigenous actor in Hollywood.

Emily Hue

Emily Hue

Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
Ph.D., 2015, New York University

Professor Hue is an interdisciplinary scholar who specializes in studies of humanitarianism, Asian American Studies, visual art, performance, queer studies, Southeast Asia, and diaspora. She earned her Ph.D. at New York University in Social and Cultural Analysis in the field of American Studies and B.A. in Women’s Studies from Vassar College.  She has previously held a UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship in Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at UC Riverside.  Her book manuscript, tentatively titled, “Economies of Vulnerability: Humanitarian Imperialism and Performance in the Burmese Diaspora” uses visual and performance analysis, ethnographic interviews and archival research to explore how diasporic artists and activists from Burma and other postcolonial nations use bodily abstraction and in some cases, self-injury, to express their vulnerability to challenges of militarization as well as resettlement. She hails from Brooklyn, NY.

John Jennings

John Jennings

Professor of Media and Cultural Studies 
MFA, 1997, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professor Jennings received his MA in Art Education in 1995 and the MFA in Studio with a focus on Graphic Design in 1997 from UIUC. He is an interdisciplinary scholar who examines the visual culture of race in various media forms including film, illustrated fiction, and comics and graphic novels. Jennings is also a curator, graphic novelist, editor, and design theorist who's research interests include the visual culture of Hip Hop, Afrofuturism and politics, Visual Literacy, Horror and the EthnoGothic, and  Speculative Design and its applications to visual rhetoric.

Anusha Kedhar

Anusha Kedhar

Assistant Professor of Dance
Ph.D., 2011, University of California, Riverside

Professor Kedhar earned her Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies from UC Riverside. She is a scholar and a practitioner of dance whose research interests include dance and political economy; critical dance ethnography; globalization, migration, and the body; and dance as labor/dance as work. Her current book project titled Flexible Bodies: Contemporary South Asian Dancers in Britain (Oxford University Press) investigates the conditions of economic, political, and social precarity produced by neoliberalism, and the flexible, creative bodily practices dancers deploy to manage, challenge, and thrive in those conditions. Her scholarship has been published in Dance Research Journal, The Feminist Wire, and The New York Times. Professor Kedhar is also an established performer and choreographer. Trained in the South Indian classical dance form bharata natyam, she has collaborated and toured with various South Asian companies and choreographers in the US, UK, and Europe. Her own work has been presented at the Southbank Centre (London), Mediterranean Institute of Theatre and Performance (Malta), Glorya Kaufman Hall (Los Angeles), Richard Celeste Theatre (Colorado), and Gibney Dance (New York).

Gloria Kim

Gloria Kim

Assistant Professor of MCS
Ph.D., 2012, University of Rochester

Professor Kim is an interdisciplinary media scholar working at the intersection of the environmental humanities, media studies, visual culture, infrastructure studies, and science and technology studies. Her research examines how properties and systems of the anthropocenic world – like mutant bodies and networked, emerging microbes – have become important sites for the production of new forms of knowledge, ontologies, technologies, and politics.  Her current manuscript (in-progress),“Transmissions: Ambient Media and American Security in the Era of Emerging Infections,” explores modes of mediation, forms of kinship, means of capital, and senses of nationhood surfacing amid efforts to manage emerging viruses.  In a second project, Professor Kim examines discourses of the microbiome bridging insight from critical data studies, social theory, affect, security studies, material culture, and the anthropocene.  She received her PhD from the Graduate Program for Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester and holds and MA in Art History from York University (Canada).

Chioun Lee

Chioun Lee

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., 2012, Rutgers University

Professor Lee is a medical sociologist who is committed to investigating the social stratification of life adversities (stressors) and health disparities across the life course, with a focus on gender. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who explores how social processes shape health disparities at the population level. Her multidisciplinary research is rooted in her doctoral training in sociology at Rutgers University, followed by postdoctoral training in population studies at Princeton University and NIH career development training in psychology and epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is a recipient of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00). Her current project examines the gender-specific life-course pathways that explain the impact of adverse childhood experiences on cardiovascular and metabolic health (heart disease and metabolic syndrome) in later life.  

Philipp Lehmann

Philipp Lehmann

Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., 2014, Harvard University

Professor Lehmann earned his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University in 2014. For the past three years, he worked as a Research Scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany, where he co-directed the Research Groups “Experiencing the Global Environment” and “Knowledge Practices in Bureaucracies.” His research focuses on the histories of colonial data gathering in Africa, the development of climate science, and the emergence of a global environmental vision in the geographical and earth sciences. He is currently working on his first book with the title “Deserts with History: From Climate Change to Changing Climates,” which traces the development of early ideas of global environmental change and examines their links to both climate engineering projects and theories of cultural and societal decline in Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. 

Antoine Lentacker

Antoine Lentacker

Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., 2016, Yale University

Professor Lentacker is a historian of science, medicine, and technology in modern Europe with interdisciplinary interests in media studies and critical theory. His work is broadly dedicated to investigating the effects of changing communication technologies on the governing of people and things in Europe since c. 1800. Before receiving his PhD in History from Yale, he studied philosophy and the social sciences at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. As a historian, he remains deeply interested in the fundamental questions of how language relates to the world; how names gain a hold over the objects and subjects they name; and how belief and authority are made and undone. His current book project, entitled Signs and Substances, pursues these interests through a history of drugs in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France and Central Europe. In examining how the conditions of trust in drugs were transformed by the emergence of mass media, Signs and Substances seeks to highlight drugs’ unique ability to reveal changing attitudes toward the written and printed word.

Mark Allen Minch

Mark Allen Minch

Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Professor Minch is an enrolled member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria and earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley with a designated emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. His areas of research and teaching include critical Native American and Indigenous theories; the politics of cultural revitalization; violence, representation, and performativity; multimediation and the archive; and the decolonization of knowledge and cultural production. He is currently at work on his first book project titled, “Native Revitalizations: Transcriptions and Gestures of Cultural Return.” Focusing primarily on cultural revitalization projects currently taking place in Native California, the manuscript analyzes figurations of “cultural life” alongside practices of living again in the aftermath of a genocidal campaign, a spatial and temporal frame that some have labeled in California as being “post-apocalyptic.” 

Victoria Reyes

Victoria Reyes – on leave 2016-17

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., 2015, Princeton University

Professor Reyes earned her PhD in Sociology from Princeton University in 2015. Her research interests include global inequality, culture, economic sociology, urban sociology, race/ethnicity, colonialism and postcolonialism and historical/comparative sociology. Her work appears in Theory and Society, City & Community, Poetics, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and elsewhere.  She is a 2016-2017 Postdoctoral Scholar at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan, and a 2006-2007 Fulbright Scholar (Philippines). She has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the American Sociological Association. She is currently working on her book manuscript, which is about places she calls “global borderlands”—semi-autonomous, foreign-controlled places of international exchange. 

Ruoyao Shi

Ruoyao Shi

Acting Assistant Professor of Economics
Ph.D., 2017, UCLA

Professor Shi's current research is to develop econometric methods for the evaluation of distributional effects of large-scale policy interventions and social changes. The methods developed to evaluate the effects on the distributions of outcome variables of interest have abundant empirical applications, such as earnings inequality in labor economics, or valuation of public goods (natural resources) in environmental economics, among others. In the evaluation of distributional effects, one usually has to account for the equilibrium effects because large-scale interventions and changes (e.g., de-unionization, demographic changes,etc.) affect a substantial proportion of the population, and hence are likely to shift the market into a new equilibrium. Her recent paper is the first that admits equilibrium effects and agent heterogeneity in a non-parametric setting, and uses the method to analysis earning distributions in the US.

Annika Speer

Annika Speer

LPSOE
Ph.D., 2013, UC Santa Barbara

Professor Speer earned her PhD in Theater Studies with a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies at UC Santa Barbara and completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Communication at University of Connecticut. Her research and teaching interests include gender and communication, documentary/interview-based activist theatre, and public speaking. She has publications in Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesCommunication Quarterly, and Contemporary Studies of Sexuality & Communication. She also works as a dramaturgical researcher for films, most recently for The Girl on the Train (2016), Men, Women & Children (2014), Walking Stories (2013), and Call Me Crazy: A Five Film (2013).

Jennifer Syvertsen

Jennifer Syvertsen

Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D. in 2012 and MPH in 2009, University of South Florida

Professor Syvertsen is a Medical Anthropologist whose research on the global HIV epidemic offers insight into how social inequalities and structural violence become embodied in the everyday experiences of marginalized populations. Specifically, her work has explored the complex meanings of intimate relationships, interpersonal violence, “risk behaviors,” gender, and caregiving among underserved groups, including sex workers and people who inject drugs in Mexico, the US, and Kenya. Her current ethnographic research in western Kenya examines the social dimensions of increasingly medicalized policy responses to the HIV epidemic. Her interdisciplinary scholarship has appeared in journals including Social Science & Medicine, Medical Anthropology, and the International Journal of Drug Policy, where she is on the Editorial Board. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Ohio State University (2014-2017) and Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Public Health at UC San Diego (2012-2013). She earned her PhD in Applied Medical Anthropology and MPH in Epidemiology from the University of South Florida.

Joao Vargas

Joao Vargas

Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., 1999, UC San Diego

Professor Vargas’ written work is a result of engaging individuals and collectives combating gendered antiblackness. It draws from collaborative projects in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador (in Brazil), and in Austin and Los Angeles, (in the United States.) The projects focus on and attempt to propose alternatives to the current dynamics of social death and early physical death by preventable causes. Such dynamics include juvenile and adult imprisonment, repressive policing, punitive schooling, residential hypersegregation, exposure to environmental hazards, and blocked access to health care and well-being. Exploring the possibility and terms of Black-nonblack collaboration, the projects aim at contributing to the imagination and practice of viable Black life worlds. 

Fuson Wang

Fuson Wang – on leave 2016-17

Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

Professor Wang received his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a mixed disciplinary background in mathematics and literature, and consequently approaches literary studies with a consciously interdisciplinary perspective. His work seeks to make the humanities matter to science, and vice-versa. It engages a broad audience that includes medical humanists, medical anthropologists, disability theorists, historians of science and medicine, and literary critics. Currently, he is hard at work on a book manuscript about the British Romantic era and the medico-literary origins of smallpox inoculation.

Ni’Ja Whitson

Ni’Ja Whitson

Assistant Professor of Dance
MFA, 2007, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Professor Whitson is a gender queer interdisciplinary artist, Bessie-nominated performer, and writer. Commissions and residencies include Hedgebrook (Seattle), Dance in Process at Gibney Dance (New York), LMCC Process Space (New York), Bogliasco Fellowship in Genoa Italy, St. Danspace at St. Mark’s Church (New York), ICA Philadelphia.  A noted innovating practitioner of the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic, Treinel in Capoeira Angola, and accomplished improviser, Whitson performs nationally with renowned musicians, including a collaborative partnership with Douglas Ewart of the AACM.  Other collaborations include Cynthia Oliver, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Sharon Bridgforth, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Byron Au Yong and Aaron Jafferis. Current research: an evening-length adaptation of Marlon T. Riggs’ Tongues Untied (1989) entitled A Meditation on Tongues, that investigates Black/Queer masculinities in non-binary frameworks, and technologies of shapeshifting.  Their forthcoming manuscript and performance project: Time Trickle ‘Cross You (The Hunted) explores the notion of the “vaporous body” via relationships between dark matter, dark energy, Queerness, Blackness, premature death, and indigenous healing modalities.  Whitson will receive their second MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2018. They are the founder/artistic director of The NWA Project. 

Melanie K. Yazzie (Diné)

Melanie K. Yazzie (Diné)

Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies
Ph.D., University of New Mexico

Professor Yazzie holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She also holds a Master of Arts in American Studies from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Grinnell College. 

She specializes in Diné studies, Indigenous feminist and queer studies, American Indian history, social and political theory, and environmental studies. She has held numerous research fellowships and awards, including a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship, an Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, and a Ford Foundation Diversity Predoctoral Fellowship. She is a past board member of Navajo Studies Conference, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the development of Navajo Studies, and an organizer with The Red Nation, a grassroots movement advocating the liberation of Native people from colonialism and capitalism. She has published articles and book reviews in Wicazo Sa ReviewStudies in American Indian LiteratureAmerican Indian QuarterlySocial Text, and American Quarterly. With Nick Estes, she recently guest edited a special issue of Wicazo Sa Review (June 2016) on the legacy of Dakota scholar Elizabeth Cook-Lynn to the field of Native studies. She is also co-editing a special issue of Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society with Dr. Cutcha Risling-Baldy on Indigenous water politics in Turtle Island (forthcoming December 2017). Along with Nick Estes, Jennifer Nez Denetdale, and David Correia, she is co-authoring a forthcoming book with PM Press on bordertown violence and Native resistance (forthcoming fall 2018).


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