Distinguished Visitors

Branka Arsic
Branka Arsic is Charles and Lynn Zhang Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She specializes in 19th-century literatures of the Americas and their scientific, philosophical, and religious contexts. She is the author of Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau, (Harvard University Press, 2016), winner of the 2018 James Russell Lowell Prize from the Modern Language Association, which discusses how Thoreau related mourning practices to biological life by articulating a complex theory of decay, and proposing a new understanding of the pathological. Her other publications include On Leaving: A Reading in Emerson (Harvard UP, 2010), and a book on Melville entitled Passive Constitutions or 71/2 Times Bartleby  (Stanford UP, 2007), and the coedited (with Cary Wolfe) collection The Other Emerson (U Minnesota, 2010). She is currently co-editing (with Kim Evans) a collection of essays on Melville, entitled Melville's Philosophies (Bloomsbury, 2017). Her work has appeared in such journals as Common Knowledge, Diacritics, ELH, J19, Leviathan, New England Quarterly, Nineteenth Century Prose, Qui Parle?, Telos and Textual Practice, and discusses such authors as Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, as well as Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze.

Neda Atanasoski
Neda Atanasoski is an Associate Professor of Feminist Studies and Director of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Humanitarian Violence: The U.S. Deployment of Diversity (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). She is also the co-editor of a 2017 special issue of the journal Social Identities, titled "Postsocialist Politics and the Ends of Revolution." Atanasoski has published articles on gender and religion, nationalism and war, human rights and humanitarianism, and race and technology, which have appeared in journals such as American Quarterly, Cinema Journal, Catalyst, and The European Journal of Cultural Studies. She has received numerous fellowships, including the UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship, and grants from the Center for New Racial Studies, the Hellman Program, the UC Humanities Research Institute, and the Luce Foundation initiative on Religion in Diaspora and Global Affairs. Currently she is co-authoring a book with Kalindi Vora, which is tentatively titled Surrogate Humanity: Race, Technology, Revolution.

Dionne Brand
Dionne Brand is a renowned poet, novelist, and essayist. Her writing is notable for the beauty of its language, and for its intense engagement with issues of social justice. She was Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto 2009-2012 and has received the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing. An award-winning poet, Dionne Brand won both the Governor General's Literary Award and the Trillium Prize for Literature for her volume Land to Light On. Her work of Poetry, Ossuaries won the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize. Among her works the volumes No Language Is Neutral and Inventory respectively were nominated for the GG. She has won the Pat Lowther Award for poetry for her volume thirsty, which was also nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Toronto Book Award and the Trillium prize for literature. As a novelist, Brand has also achieved distinction. Her critically acclaimed novel, What We All Long For, won the Toronto Book Award. Her latest novel, Love Enough was short listed for the Trillium Prize for Literature, 2015. Her fiction includes the novel In Another Place, Not Here, a New York Times notable book, and At the Full and Change of the Moon, a Los Angeles Times Notable Book. Brand's non-fiction works include Bread Out Of Stone, and A Map to the Door of No Return, which, has been widely taken up in scholarly work on Being in the Black Diaspora.

Kimberly Juanita Brown
Kimberly Juanita Brown's research engages the site of the visual as a way to negotiate the parameters of race, gender, and belonging.  Her book, The Repeating Body: Slavery's Visual Resonance in the Contemporary (Duke University Press) examines slavery's profound ocular construction, the presence and absence of seeing in relation to the plantation space and the women who existed there. She is currently at work on her second book, tentatively titled "Mortevivum: Photography, Melancholy, and the Politics of the Visual."  This project examines images of the dead in the New York Times in 1994 from four geographies: South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, and Haiti. Brown argues that a cartography of the ocular exists in documentary images to normalize global violence, particularly if the victims are black. Brown is the founder and convener of the Dark Room: Race and Visual Culture Studies Seminar.  The Dark Room is a working group of scholars who are invested in the intersection of critical race theory and visual culture studies.

Mel Y. Chen
Mel Y. Chen is Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies at University of California, Berkeley, and an affiliate of the Center for Race and Gender, the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society, the Haas Institute's Disability Studies and LGBTQ Citizenship Clusters. Mel's research and teaching interests include queer and gender theory, animal studies, critical race theory, Asian American studies, disability studies, science studies, and critical linguistics. Mel's book Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke UP 2012, Alan Bray Memorial Award), explores questions of racialization, queering, disability, and affective economies in animate and inanimate "life." Further writing can be found in Women's Studies QuarterlyGLQ, Discourse, Women in PerformanceAustralian Feminist Studies, Amerasia, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. With series coeditor Jasbir K. Puar, Mel recently inaugurated a new book series called "Anima" highlighting scholarship in critical race and disability post/in/humanisms at Duke University Press. A special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies on "Queer Inhumanisms," coedited with Dana Luciano, appears in 2015.

Brent Hayes Edwards
Brent Edwards is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he is also affiliated with the Center for Jazz Studies. He is also the Director of the Scholars-in-Residence Program at the Schomburg Center of the New York Public Library.  His books include The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Harvard University Press, 2003), which was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association, the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies, and runner-up for the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association; the co-edited collection Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University Press, 2004); and scholarly editions of classic works by W. E. B. Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, and Joseph Conrad. A revised paperback of his scholarly edition (in collaboration with Jean-Christophe Cloutier) of Claude McKay's long-lost novel, Amiable with Big Teeth, was released in February by Penguin Classics. Edwards published two other books in 2017: his translation of Michel Leiris’s 1934 Phantom Africa (Seagull Books), and Edwards's own monograph Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination (Harvard University Press).  Edwards is currently at work on three different projects: a book called "Black Radicalism and the Archive" (based on the Du Bois Lectures he presented at Harvard in 2015) about the collecting activities of black political activists, artists, and intellectuals including Arturo Schomburg, Hubert Harrison, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, Alexander Gumby, and C. L. R. James; a book-length cultural history of the downtown New York "loft jazz" scene in New York in the 1970s, when musicians such as Ornette Coleman, Sam Rivers, Rashied Ali, and Joe Lee Wilson opened their own performance spaces in SoHo, NoHo and the East Village; and another study called "Art of the Lecture" (about lectures as a genre combining pedagogy and performance), a book project he began during his tenure as a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. 

Nina Eidsheim
Nina Eidsheim is Professor of Musicology at UCLA, and Special Assistant to the Deans of the School of Music and Humanities. She is the author of Sensing Sound: Singing and Listening as Vibrational Practice (Duke UP, 2015) and Measuring Race: the Micropolitics of Listening to Vocal Timbre and Vocality in African-American Popular Music (Duke UP, forthcoming). Eidsheim is currently co-editing the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Voice Studies and is a recipient of the Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Cornell University Society of the Humanities Fellowship, the UC President’s Faculty Research Fellowship and the ACLS Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship. She received her bachelor of music from the Agder Conservatory (Norway), an MFA in vocal performance from the California Institute of the Arts, and the Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of California, San Diego.

Kathy Fagan
Kathy Fagan's latest collection is Sycamore (Milkweed Editions, 2017). She is also the author of the National Poetry Series selection The Raft (Dutton, 1985), the Vassar Miller Prize winner MOVING & ST RAGE (Univ of North Texas, 1999), The Charm (Zoo, 2002), and Lip (Carnegie Mellon UP 2009). Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Kenyon Review, Slate, FIELD, Narrative, and The New Republic, among other literary magazines, and is widely anthologized. Fagan is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Frost Place, Ohioana, and the Ohio Arts Council. The Director of Creative Writing and the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, she is currently Professor of English, Poetry Editor of OSU Press, and Advisor to The Journal.

Ari Heinrich
Ari Larissa Heinrich teaches in the Literature Department at UCSD. He researches the intersections of medicine, art, postcoloniality, and race, with a focus on stereotypes of Chinese identity. His most recent book, Chinese Surplus: Biopolitical Aesthetics and the Medically Commodified Body (Duke University Press, 2018) explores the racialized aesthetics of the human body as commodity in the age of biotech. He studied Chinese Literature at Harvard and UC Berkeley, and his research interests include literary and cultural figurings of science and medicine; cultural notions of authenticity, copyright, replication, and reproduction; the use of visual culture in literary studies; science fiction and utopian imaginings; and global queer cultures. Heinrich is also the author of The Afterlife of Images: Translating the Pathological Body Between China and the West (Duke UP, 2008), and is coeditor of with Fran Martin, Embodied Modernities: Corporeality and Representation in Chinese Cultures (U Hawaii Press, 2006), and with Howard Chiang, Queer Sinophone Cultures (Routledge, 2013).

Jake Kosek
Jake Kosek is Associate Professor of Geography at University of California, Berkeley. He is coauthor of Race, Nature and the Politics of Difference (Duke University Press, 2003), which explores the intersections of critical theories of race and nature, and author of Understories: The Political Life of Forests in Northern New Mexico (Duke University Press, 2006), an ethnography that examines the cultural politics of nature, race, and nation amid violent struggles over forests in northern New Mexico. Understories received the John Hope Franklin Book Award for the Best Book in American Studies. His current research builds on this past work on nature, politics and difference, using conceptual insights not only from geography but also anthropology, science studies and theories of history to develop new approaches to natural history as both an object of critical inquiry and a conceptual tool. Through fine-grained, multi-sited ethnography and detailed archival research, this project examines manifestations of natural history in the present, exploring contemporary taxonomies and varieties of nature, charting their resonance and discord with fossilized formations of prior natures.

Ann Laura Stoler
Ann Laura Stoler is Willy Brandt Distinguished University Professor of Anthropology and Historical Studies at The New School for Social Research since 2004. Her work on the politics of knowledge and histories of the present stretches across the domains of imperial history, the politics of racial epistemologies, and comparison as an object of historical inquiry. She is founding director of the Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI) at the New School. She has worked on issues of colonial governance, racial epistemologies, and the sexual politics of empire, and is the author of more than seven books, including Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (1995), Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (2002), and most recently, Duress: Imperial Durabilities in Our Times (2016).

Wen-ti Tsen
Wen-ti Tsen is a distinguished artist with a forty-year career as a public artist whose paintings, sculptures, and installation pieces are characterized by their unique relationship to specific communities and contexts, mediating the community history and its change over time.Tsen was born in China, and studied painting and sculpture at L'Académie de la Grande Chaumière (Paris, France, 1957), architecture and stage design at The Polytechnic (London, England, 1956), and he is a graduate of the Museum School of Fine Arts (Boston, 1961).  He has been an art and painting instructor, and an Artist-in-Residence, in many schools and arts institutes around the world, from The International College in Beirut, Lebanon (1969-72) and the International Arts for Peace in Moscow, Russia (1987), to the Boston Arts Academy (1999-2000), Central Washington University (2000), and New England College (2003). His work is frequently site specific, and expresses his collaborations with the communities and environment in which the work is situated, such as "Dream Catching," a collection of eighteen bronze and mirror-finished stainless steel silhouettes of folk art figures attached to the outer walls of the Boston Arts Academy, or "Water of Life," a sculptural plaza in the center of Yakima, Washington.  "Pilgrim Father / Illegal Son" is a set of two long murals that juxtaposes the life narrative of William Bradford (1590-1657), the Puritan settler who arrived on the Mayflower to 17th-century Massachusetts, and the life narrative of 'Li Tieshan,' an undocumented Chinese immigrant worker. His recent project, "Home Town," places twelve life-size hand-painted photographic figures of nineteenth-century Chinatown residents in contemporary Boston Chinatown.

Kalindi Vora
Kalindi Vora is Director of the Feminist Research Institute and Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at The University of California Davis. Her first book, Life Support: Biocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor, takes up questions of technology, colonialism and raced and gendered labor under globalization. Her research has included ethnographic study of IT professionals and gestational surrogates in India, and a new project with Neda Atanasoski on the racial and gendered politics of robotics and artificial intelligence, about which she has edited special issues and published in journals such as, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, Current Anthropology, Social Identities, The South Atlantic Quarterly, Postmodern Culture, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Her current book project with Neda Atanasoski is entitled, Surrogate Humanity. 

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