UCR

CHASS



CHASS New Faculty 2016-17


Ilana Bennett

Ilana Bennett
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., 2009, Georgetown University

Professor Bennett earned her Ph.D in lifespan cognitive neuroscience from Georgetown University in 2009. Her research seeks to advance our understanding of neurocognitive aging by examining age-related differences in the way we acquire, retain, and retrieve information and identifying the neural substrates that underlie these learning and memory processes using a combination of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Her work has attracted funding from the National Institute on Aging, including a current Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).

   
Emily Rapp Black

Emily Rapp Black
Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
MFA, University of Texas-Austin

Professor Rapp Black received her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Texas-Austin, where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. Prior to getting her M.F.A., she studied feminist theology, 19th century philosophy, and disability studies at Harvard University. A former Fulbright scholar, she received her B.A. in Religion from St. Olaf College and studied Hebrew and Biblical Studies at Trinity College-Dublin. She has published two memoirs -- Poster Child (BloomsburyUSA, 2006), and The Still Point of the Turning World (The Penguin Press, 2013), which was a New York Times bestseller. Her essays and articles have appeared in the Sun, O the Oprah Magazine, Redbook, VOGUE, Salon, Slate, the Lenny Letter, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Her next project, Casa Azul Cripple (New York Review of Books, 2017), is a book-length lyric essay that explores the intersection of art, disability, sex, and the fetishization of pain and suffering through the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She is working on a book about resilience, trauma, and memory in an effort to redefine what it means to be resilient in the modern world. With interests ranging from research-based nonfiction to the experimental essay, she will also focus on the rise of medical narratives as a new and exciting sub-genre in creative nonfiction. 

   
Richard M. Carpiano

Richard M. Carpiano
Professor of Public Policy and Sociology (appointment begins July 2017)
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. 

   
Xóchitl C. Chávez

Xóchitl C. Chávez
Assistant Professor of Music
Ph.D., 2013, University of California, Santa Cruz

Professor Chávez earned her Ph.D from UC Santa Cruz in Cultural Anthropology with a designated emphysis in Latin American and Latino Studies.  She is a scholar of expressive culture and performance, specializing in indigenous communities from southern Mexico and transnational migration. Her current work and ethnographic documentary short entitled, Booming Bandas of LosÁngeles, focuses on second-generation Zapotec brass bands in Los Angeles County. Through its investigation of how women and youth now fill the ranks of musicians and new leadership, Booming Bandas breaths new air into the study of transnational migration on indigenous communities and performance studies. Dr. Chávez was a recipient of the University of California President’s Post Doctoral Fellowship and a Smithsonian Institution Post Doctoral Fellow. She has also collaborated with the Smithsonian Institution as a Digital Curator and Content Specialist for the Smithsonian Latino Center Mobile Broadcast Series and as a linguistic presenter for Smithsonian Folklife Festival. 

   
Gerald L. Clarke Jr.

Gerald L. Clarke Jr.
Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
MFA, 1994, Stephen F. Austin State University

Professor Clarke received his M.F.A. in Studio Arts with an emphasis in painting and sculpture from Stephen F. Austin State University located in Nacogdoches, Texas. As an enrolled member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, he served on the Cahuilla Tribal Council as Vice Chairman as well as the Southern California Representative to the California Association of Tribal Governments. His artwork examines issues related to contemporary Native American existence. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is included in several prominent museum collections including the Autry Museum of the American West, the Heard Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum. In 2007, He was awarded the Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship. Recently, Professor Clarke produced a series of bronze sculptures while serving as an Artist In Residence at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

   
Allison Hedge Coke

Allison Hedge Coke
Professor of Creative Writing
MFA, Vermont College/Norwich University

Allison Hedge Coke is the 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellow and editor of Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, and Effigies II. Her interests include poetry, poetics, long form, translation, creative nonfiction, manuscript orchestration, docupoetics, documentary film, interdisciplinary and hybrid works, theater, performance, narrative medicine, migration, cultural emulation on migratory flyways, Mathematics in sacred sites, material culture, and built environment (including mound culture), encoding, the environment, ethics, peace, choreographed resiliency and its effect on language and literature, labor, community engagement, youth/elder empowerment, oratory, coincidences and similarities in language, philosophy, and material cultures, including earthworks and written/pictorial language. She has authored several books.

   
Joab Corey

Joab Corey
Assistant Professor of Teaching, Economics (PSOE)
Ph.D., West Virginia University

Joab Corey earned his Ph.D in Economics from West Virginia University. He served for the past seven years as a lecturer in the Department of Economics and a member of the Excellence in Economics Education faculty in the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University. He specializes in teaching large section principles of economics and intro to economics classes where he uses interactive class demonstrations, video clips, pop-culture examples, student-designed economic T-shirts, and occasional acrobatics to create an enthusiastic student learning environment. While at Florida State University he was the recipient of the Transformation Through Teaching award, the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society Service in Excellence Teaching Award, and the Florida State University Undergraduate Teaching Award. 

   
Alejandra Dubcovsky

Alejandra Dubcovsky
Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Alejandra Dubcovsky earned her Ph.D from UC Berkeley. Her research interests include early America, especially the American South and Spanish borderlands, history of Amerindians, and the history of communication and information. Her first book, Informed Power: Communication in the Early American South (Harvard University Press, 2016) maps the intricate, intersecting channels of information exchange in the early American South, exploring how people in the colonial world came into possession of vital knowledge in a region that lacked a regular mail system or a printing press until the 1730s. She has also published several article on these topics in Ethnohistory, The William and Mary Quarterly, Native South, and Common-Place. She is currently researching the multiple fronts of Queen Anne's War (1702-1713). 

   
Luca Ferrero

Luca Ferrero
Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., Harvard University

Dr. Ferrero earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University.  He has been a Humanities Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Stanford University, and an NEH Summer Fellow at Princeton University. He works on the nature of diachronic agency, intentions, constitutivism, practical reasoning, and personal identity. His most recent work has been published in Noûs, Philosophical Studies, Philosophers' Imprint, Inquiry, Philosophical Issues, Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Journal of Ethics, and in several book collections. He serves as the editor of the Philosophy of Action section of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and is a founding board member of the International Society for the Philosophy of Agency.

   
Alfonso Gonzales

Alfonso Gonzales
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies
Ph.D., 2008, University of California, Los Angeles

Professor Gonzales received his Ph.D. in Political Science from UCLA in 2008. He is a theorist of Latino and Latin American politics with a research agenda focused on issues of migration control, migrant social movements and the politics of race in liberal democracies. He is in simultaneous dialogue with scholarly debates in Latino politics, political theory, Latino and Latin American studies, and critical ethnic studies. His underlying concern is to understand how Latino migrant and refugee social movements influence policy and the politics of migration control from the ground up.  In addition to writing his award publication Reform without Justice: Latino Migrant Politics and the Homeland Security State (Oxford University Press, 2013), he spearheaded an international conference on migrant detention and Latino asylum seekers through the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT Austin in 2016. As a first generation college student, born in Tijuana and raised in Southern California, Alfonso Gonzales is particularly thrilled to be teaching at the University of California Riverside. 

   
Sarojini Hirshleifer

Sarojini Hirshleifer
Acting Assistant Professor of Economics
Ph.D., 2016, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Hirshleifer earned her Ph.D in economics from University of California, San Diego in 2016. Her research interests span the fields of development, labor and behavioral economics. Specifically, her research focuses on understanding and alleviating the behavioral and human capital constraints to higher productivity and better decision-making. This involves designing and testing interventions that have the potential to help people overcome biases and optimize complex production processes. A complementary thread in her research aims to understand how to increase the efficiency of learning and human capital accumulation across the lifecycle, and thus support higher labor force participation. 

   
Brent Hughes

Brent Hughes
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., 2012, University of Texas-Austin

Professor Hughes received his doctorate in social psychology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2012. His research explores the phenomenon of motivated cognition, under which goals and needs guide individuals’ thinking towards their desired conclusions. These motives (i) range from the need to feel good about oneself and the desire to affiliate with others, (ii) pervasively shape cognition and decision-making, and (iii) exert harmful consequences on real-world outcomes. His research program examines these questions using a broad array of methods from social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and behavioral economics. A central goal is to provide integrative models of motivated cognition that provide new insights into its role in shaping maladaptive behavior, and interventions that “nudge” motivation so as to reduce harmful outcomes. 

   
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. 

   
Anthony Russell Jerry

Anthony Russell Jerry
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Anthony Russell Jerry holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  His primary research interests are in theorizing the relationships between race and citizenship and investigating the influence that regional discourses of race and racism have on citizenship practices and overall access to citizenship.  He is the recipient of a Fulbright Garcia Robles Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and a University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship.  He has worked in the Costa Chica Region of Mexico for over 10 years.  His work also explores the impacts of issues of migration, immigration, racism, and citizenship on first generation youth and youth of color in the U.S./Mexico border region. 

   
Noel Peyera Johnston

Noel Peyera Johnston
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., Washington University, St. Louis

Dr. Johnston earned his Ph.D from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.  His research explores the structure of compliance in the global political economy. With particular focus on foreign investment and international trade, his research touches on topics including international institutions, globalization, development, and the politics of international property rights. From 2013 to 2016, Noel was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and Research Fellow of Nuffield College. 

   
Robert Kaestner

Robert Kaestner
Professor of Economics
Ph.D., City University of New York

Robert Kaestner earned his Ph.D from City University of New York.  He is currently a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and an Affiliated Scholar of the Urban Institute. Dr. Kaestner’s areas of research interest are the economic and social determinants of health, health demography, and health, labor and social policy evaluation. He has published over 100 articles in academic journals. Recent studies have been awarded Article of the Year by AcademyHealth in 2011 and the 2012 Frank R. Breul Memorial Prize for the best publication in Social Services Review

   
Judith Kroll

Judith Kroll
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., Brandeis University

Professor Kroll earned her Ph.D Brandeis University. She held previous faculty positions at Swarthmore College, Rutgers University, Mount Holyoke College, and Penn State University, where she was most recently the director of the Center for Language Science. The research that she and her students conduct concerns the way that bilinguals juggle the presence of two languages in one mind and brain. Their work, supported by grants from NSF and NIH, shows that bilingualism provides a tool for revealing the interplay between language and cognition that is otherwise obscure in speakers of one language alone. She is a Fellow of the AAAS, the APA, the APS, the Psychonomic Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and from 2013-14, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She was one of the founding editors of the journal Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Cambridge University Press), and one of the founding organizers of Women in Cognitive Science, a group developed to promote the advancement of women in the cognitive sciences and supported by NSF. With Penn State colleagues, she was the PI on a 2010 NSF PIRE grant (Partnerships for International Research and Education) to develop an international research network and program of training to enable language scientists at all levels to pursue research abroad on the science of bilingualism and on a 2015 PIRE grant to translate the science of bilingualism to learning environments in the US and abroad.  UCR will partner with Penn State on the 2015 PIRE.

   
Bree Lang

Bree Lang
Assistant Professor of Teaching, Economics (PSOE)
Ph.D., 2010, University of California, Santa Barbara

Professor Lang earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010, where she studied public finance, urban and labor economics. She worked as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio for six years where she taught Urban Economics, Economics of Poverty, Sport Finance and Economics, Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics and Managerial Economics for MBAs. Her research interests include housing subsidies, property tax policy and mortgage markets. She is currently examining how property tax limitations, like Proposition 13 in California, affect funding for low-income public schools. She has another project that studies the role that wealth constraints play in home ownership and racial housing segregation. Her previous research has appeared in scholarly outlets including Journal of Housing Economics, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Regional Science and Urban Economics and National Tax Journal.

   
Matthew Lang

Matthew Lang
Assistant Professor of Teaching, Economics (PSOE)
Ph.D., 2010, University of California, Santa Barbara

Matt received his Ph.D. in Economics from The University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010 and spent the last six years as an assistant professor of economics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH where he taught courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, health economics, managerial economics and game theory. Matt is interested in studying the effectiveness of public policies in many contexts, but he has a specific interest in the consequences of mental health policy. He has published papers that explore the role of firearms in crime and suicide, the effectiveness of mental health insurance mandates and seasonal patterns of youth suicide. His current projects examine how privately insured patients are affected by the Affordable Care Act, whether patients in emergency rooms receive worse treatment when nearby mental health resources are reduced and the relationship between student outcomes and university calendar systems. Prior to studying at UCSB, he received an M.Sc. in Economics from the London School of Economics and a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Redlands. 

   
Wesley Y. Leonard

Wesley Y. Leonard
Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies
Ph.D., 2007, University of California, Berkeley

Professor Leonard received his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. His research examines various social factors that are intertwined with Native American language endangerment, documentation, and reclamation. A citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, he focuses in particular on the reclamation of his tribal nation's language, myaamia, which was once mistermed "extinct" but is actually widely used among Miami people. He is especially interested in building capacity for Native American languages in ways that support tribal sovereignty and survivance, and has developed a number of workshops on culturally appropriate application of the analytical tools of Linguistics for language reclamation purposes. His research has appeared in scholarly outlets including the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Gender and Language, and Language Documentation & Conservation.

   
Jacques Lezra

Jacques Lezra
Professor of Hispanic Studies
Ph.D., 1990, Yale University

Professor Lezra earned his Ph.D in 1990 from Yale University.  His most recent books are Contra los fueros de la muerte: El suceso cervantino (La Cebra, 2016), and Lucretius and Modernity (co-edited with Liza Blake; Palgrave, 2016).  His Wild Materialism: The Ethic of Terror and the Modern Republic (Fordham, 2010) has been published in a Spanish translation (2012) and in Chinese (2013). Two more books are under review: Necrophilology after ‘Capital’: On the Nature of Marx’s Things and This Untranslatability Which Is Not One. Lezra has edited collections on the work of Althusser, Balibar and Macherey, and on Spanish republicanism, and published widely on Shakespeare, contemporary and early modern translation theories and practices, Freud, Althusser, Woolf, animality studies, and other topics.  He is the co-translator into Spanish of Paul de Man’s Blindness and Insight.  With Emily Apter and Michael Wood, he is the co-editor of Dictionary of Untranslatables (2014), the English translation of Vocabulaire européen des philosophies.  With Paul North, he edits the Fordham University Press book series IDIOM. 

   
Steven Liao

Steven Liao
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., 2015, University of Virginia

Professor Liao’s research interests lie in the intersection of political economy and methodology, with a specific focus on international migration. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Politics (2015). Before joining UCR, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance at Princeton University (2015-2016). His current projects examine the influence of multinational corporations on migration policymaking, the nexus between migration flows and real estate investments, big data in international trade, and Chinese Renminbi internationalization. His work has appeared in International Studies Quarterly.

   
Luis Lara Malvacias

Luis Lara Malvacias
Assistant Professor of Dance
MFA, Transart Institute

Professor Luis Lara Malvacias' body of work has focused on ideas of transformation, multiplicity, authorship and the role of the audience in dance performance. His projects explore the interaction between dance, design, videos, installations, sound, new media and the visual arts, questioning preconceived ideas of choreography, and modes of production and presentation. He created 3RD CLASS CITIZEN in 2003, a collective initially comprising Latino artists living in NYC, which became a platform for the Not Festival - a nomadic and kaleidoscopic artistic object, embracing ideas of cross-cultural and global artistic collaboration. Current projects include the creation of 26 collaborative duets (A-Z) using significant signposts connected with life and aging, by looking into issues surrounding mature dance makers and inquiring into the relationship of the body thinking, the body processing, the body making, and the body performing.

   
Lynne Marsh

Lynne Marsh
Assistant Professor of Art
MA, Goldsmith’s University of London

Professor Lynne Marsh is a video installation and interdisciplinary artist who’s practice-based research lies at the intersection of moving image, sound, performance and installation. Since receiving her MA at Goldsmith’s University of London, her research and teaching interests have been concerned with questioning the status of the image through and in relation to mediation, technology and simulation. Her recent projects invest in social sites and architectures — spaces of cultural spectacle— through location-based filming and behind-the-scenes views thereby negotiating the historical, social, and political forces that have produced these spaces and the events they frame. Her current long-form film installation Tragedy, co-produced with Opera North in Leeds, brings forth an altered experience of the infamous opera La traviata, composed of the processes of routine labour around the stage.

   
Natasha L. McPherson

Natasha L. McPherson
Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., 2011, Emory University

Professor Natasha McPherson earned her Ph.D. in History from Emory University.  Her research and teaching interests are broadly focused on African American history, urban history, and the historical constructions of blackness and the color line.  Professor McPherson specializes in the history of black women, examining the ways in which notions about gender, color, sex, and social reputation influenced black family and community development in the nineteenth and twentieth century.  She is currently working on her first book, tentatively titled, “Creole Queens: Creole Women, the Color Line, and the Birth of a Beige Bourgeoisie.”  By investigating the public and private lives of Creole Women in post-Reconstruction New Orleans, this book demonstrates that Creole women challenged the politics of the color line and pushed the boundaries of respectability, and citizenship in the Jim Crow South. 

   
Kalina Michalska

Kalina Michalska
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., University of Chicago

Professor Michalska received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Chicago and was subsequently a Research Fellow in the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD. Her research explores the nature of emotional processes engaged by the distress of others: how these processes mature across development; how individual differences are expressed; and how these emotional processes relate to pathologic conditions. Specifically, why do some children aggress against their peers, while others withdraw from them? When are externalizing and internalizing behaviors outward signs of psychopathology and when might they be adaptive ways of responding to challenging circumstances and social contexts? Professor Michalska combines functional and structural brain imaging, physiological measures and longitudinal behavior observations to integrate investigation of behavioral dispositions, context and development with direct referents in neurobiology. 

   
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.” 

   
Benjamin J. Newman

Benjamin J. Newman
Associate Professor of Public Policy & Political Science
Ph.D., 2012, Stony Brook University, New York

Benjamin Newman earned his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in 2012. His research focuses on race and ethnic politics, class and income inequality, and urban politics and policy.  In the area of race and ethnic politics, his research focuses on the political consequences of demographic change, and explores this theme within the topical areas of immigration policy and public opinion on immigration, as well as gentrification and its impact on majority-minority communities. Dr. Newman is also interested in the racial politics of policing in the U.S., and race- and class-based inequality in the criminal justice system.  In the area of class and inequality, his research explores the effects of local income inequality on citizens’ support for redistributive policies.  His work in this area also explores the effects of growing economic inequality on public support for labor unions and labor politics more generally. Last, Dr. Newman is interested in quantitative research methods, including survey research and experimental methods.  Dr. Newman’s work has been published in a wide range of journals. 

   
Worku Nida

Worku Nida
Assistant Professor of Teaching, Anthropology (PSOE)
Ph.D., 2006, University of California, Los Angeles

Professor Nida earned his Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from UCLA.  His research and teaching interests span Africa, the United States, and the Middle East with foci on social change, entrepreneurialism, migration, crafting identity, class formations, diaspora, transnationalism, immigration, social movements, ethnohistory, and nation-building.  He has authored several publications, and his  teaching experiences include courses in anthropology, area, ethnic, and gender studies. 

   
Francisco Pedraza

Francisco Pedraza
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., 2010, University of Washington-Seattle

Dr. Pedraza earned his Ph.D in 2010 from the University of Washington-Seattle.  His research centers on political attitude formation and political behavior, with a special emphasis on the attitudes and behaviors of racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. His research draws on sociological, psychological, and policy processes theoretical frameworks to better understand individual-level policy preferences, electoral candidate preferences, political knowledge, and other political orientations like trust in government.  His substantive research interests also include the relationship between immigration policy and health policy.

   
Victoria Reyes

Victoria Reyes
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

   
Melinda Ritchie

Melinda Ritchie
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., 2015, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Professor Ritchie earned her Ph.D in Political Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Before joining UCR, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant for a member of Congress. Dr. Ritchie specializes in American politics, and her recent research focuses on the United States Congress, federal bureaucracy, interbranch relations, and public policy. Her current projects examine the backdoor communication between members of Congress and federal agencies and how legislators influence policies through their interactions with the bureaucracy. Her research has appeared in Political Behavior and the Journal of Politics.

   
Richard Rodriguez

Richard Rodriguez
Associate Professor of English & Media and Cultural Studies
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz

Richard T. Rodríguez earned his Ph.D in the History of Consciousness from UC Santa Cruz.  His primary specializations are in Latina/o literary and cultural studies, film and visual culture, and queer studies with additional interests in transnational cultural studies and popular music studies. The author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 2009), which won the 2011 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award, his work has appeared in publications such as Social Text, GLQ, Biography, American Literary History, The Cambridge Companion to Latina/o American Literature, and Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future.

   
David A. Rosenbaum

David A. Rosenbaum
Distinguished Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., 1977, Stanford University

Professor Rosenbaum is a cognitive psychologist whose research focuses on the planning and control of physical action. He conducts behavioral experiments and uses computational modeling to understand how everyday actions are assembled. He was the Editor of Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception and Performance (2000-2005) and is the author of books on human motor control, MATLAB computer programming, and a Darwinian approach to the analysis of mental function. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012, Rosenbaum was on the faculty at Penn State University before coming to UCR.

   
Carolyn Sloane

Carolyn Sloane
Professor of Economics
Ph.D., 2016, University of Chicago

Professor Sloane earned her Ph.D in 2016 from the University of Chicago.  Her research agenda is focused on the impact of changes to the wage distribution and labor demand on several policy-relevant outcomes within the US.  Her publication: Rising Wage Inequality and Human Capital Investment with Lancelot Henry de Frahan uses metropolitan-level variation to analyze the causal impacts of changes in wage inequality on human capital investment. In Where Are the Workers, she explores the impact of declining labor demand in the manufacturing and service sectors on local disability insurance participation. A separate branch Dr. Sloane’s research sets a familiar question in the field of labor economics into the context of a major political institution: how do workers respond to the destruction of option value? Specifically, that project explores the compositional effects of a policy intended to slow the revolving door from careers on Capitol Hill to K Street on the labor supply of Congressional staff.

   
Christina Soto van der Plas

Christina Soto van der Plas
Acting Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
Ph.D., 2016, Cornell University

Professor Soto van der Plas received her Ph.D. in Spanish Literature in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University in August of 2016. The project and upcoming book, “A Poetics of Transliterature,” centers on the work of 20th century Latin American authors such as José Emilio Pacheco, Salvador Elizondo, Macedonio Fernández, among others, to propose that literature is a kind of thought and, as such, is able to traverse geographies, genres, identities and aesthetic categories by denying three core components of modern narrative: plot, character and time as cause and effect. In other research projects she analyzes the material support of writing in relation to literary forms, the corpus, project and definition of a “Latin American philosophy,” and the relationship between madness and critical thought. Her fields of interest include Latin American literature (emphasis on Mexico), aesthetic forms, music, psychoanalysis, critical theory and European and Latin American philosophy.

   
Kenichiro Tsukamoto

Kenichiro Tsukamoto
Assistant professor of Anthropology
Ph.D., 2014, University of Arizona

Professor Tsukamoto is an anthropological archaeologist who received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 2014. His research centers on the interplay between social relations and embodied practices that are reflected in the spatial and material settings of early complex societies. He seeks to refine different theoretical and methodological approaches in order to better understand the nature of power and ideology; the intersection of social change and theatrical performance; and the materiality of social inequality. Methodological interests include spatial analysis, material analyses through petrographic microscopy and particle-induces X-ray emission (PIXE), and epigraphic studies. He currently conducts fieldwork in the Maya lowlands of southern Mexico where he has directed the El Palmar Archaeological Project since 2007. This project examines the urbanization processes resulting from the mutual entanglement between public and private practices in El Palmar during the Classic period (ca. A.D. 250-950).  He is the co-editor of a book “Mesoamerican Plazas: Arenas of Community and Power (2014) with Takeshi Inomata.

   
Fuson Wang

Fuson Wang
Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., 2014, University of California, Los Angeles

Professor Wang received his Ph.D. in English from UCLA in 2014.  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.

   
Nicholas Weller

Nicholas Weller
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego

Professor Weller received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego and was previously a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California.  His research focuses on how the structure of organizations or institutions affects collective problem solving and the use of mixed-methods research in social science. In the context of collective problem solving, his research utilizes experimental methods to study how groups solve tasks that involve both coordination and cooperation. In particular, he is interested in how the network of communication between the individuals in a group can influence the group’s ability to solve collective problems. Dr. Weller also studies how to best conduct research at the intersection of quantitative, qualitative, and experimental research, and is currently working on a book manuscript that integrates these different methods within the potential outcomes framework of causality. He has published a book about mixed-methods research and causal mechanisms with Cambridge University Press and articles in numerous journals, including Social Networks, American Politics Research, Sociological Methods and Research, Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and Public Choice.

   
Melissa Wilcox

Melissa Wilcox
Endowed Chair and Professor of Religious Studies
Ph.D., 2000, University of California, Santa Barbara

Melissa M. Wilcox received her Ph.D in Religious Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara in 2000. Her multi-methodological research program focuses on gender studies and queer studies in religion, with particular emphasis on the U.S. and Europe in the context of transnational queer and religious politics. Her books include Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (Indiana University Press, 2003); Sexuality and the World’s Religions (co-edited with David W. Machacek; ABC-CLIO, 2003); Queer Women and Religious Individualism (Indiana University Press, 2009); and Religion in Today’s World: Global Issues, Sociological Perspectives (Routledge, 2013). Her 2009 book received the annual book award from the Sociology of Religion Section of the American Sociological Association. Her newest book, Serious Parody: Religion, Queer Activism, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, is forthcoming from the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press, and she is currently working on two textbooks focused on sexuality and queer studies in religion.

   
Yang Xie

Yang Xie
Acting Assistant Professor of Economics
Ph.D., 2016, University of California, Berkeley

Yang received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016. His primary interests include political economics, comparative economics, and microeconomics. His job market paper builds a game theory model to show how polarization of beliefs could eliminate political gridlock instead of intensifying disagreement, and the model is applied to explain how China adopted an experimental approach in its transition from the planned economy and why Operation Market Garden was implemented at the late stage of WWII. His current projects study the evolution and consequence of property rights comparing the history of China and Europe. He also has interests in agricultural and resource economics, analyzing the economic relation between water storage and conservation and the implications of climate change for adaptations in the water sector.

   
Melanie K. Yazzie

Melanie K. Yazzie
Acting Assistant Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies
Ph.D Candidate, University of New Mexico

Melanie K. Yazzie is a fifth year doctoral candidate.  She specializes in feminism, violence studies, Indigenous critiques of liberalism and colonialism, the politics of life/death, and Diné studies.  Her dissertation is a critical historical and ethnographic examnation of how twentieth century Navajo life is moralized in social practices of tradition and violence conditioned by liberal recognition of Navajo self-determination.  She was a UNM Regents Fellow, a Ford Foundation Diversity Pre-Doctoral Fellow, and is a member of the Navajo Studies Conference, Inc. Board, an organization that promotes Diné Studies as its own field of specialization.  She has taught courses in race, class and ethnicity; Southwest studies; critical theory; and Indigenous gender and sexuality studies.  She holds an MA in American Studies from Yale University.

   
Edward Zagha

Edward Zagha
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., 2008, M.D. 2010, New York University School of Medicine

Professor Zagha completed a combined MD-PhD at NYU School of Medicine and postdoctoral training at Yale School of Medicine in 2010.  Through this training, he studied neuroscience at multiple levels of organization, from ionic currents to spike patterns to cortical circuits to behavior. At UCR, Dr. Zagha’s laboratory will study the cellular and circuit mechanisms of internal, cognitive processes, such as expectation and impulse control. These studies will focus on how groups of cortical neurons organize to create meaningful circuits to regulate behavior. His laboratory will draw on expertise from cellular and systems neuroscience, psychology, computational neuroscience and engineering. Dr. Zagha is also interested in studying the how neuronal disorganization leads to behavioral dysfunction, to better understand and treat human disease.


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