Distinguished Visitors

Spring 2019

Siraj Ahmed

Siraj Ahmed
Siraj Ahmed is a professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and of English and Comparative Literature at Lehman College. He is the author of The Stillbirth of Capital: Enlightenment Writing and Colonial India, published by Stanford in 2012; and Archaeology of Babel: The Colonial Foundation of the Humanities, published by Stanford in 2018 and the recipient of the MLA's Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies; as well as essays in Critical Inquiry, Representations, Cultural Critique, and Postcolonial Studies, among other journals. 

Ammiel Alcalay

Ammiel Alcalay
Ammiel Alcalay is Professor of Hebrew at Queens College, poet, critic and translator. His work often examines how poetry and politics affect the way we see ourselves and the way Americans think about the Middle East, with attention to methods of cultural recovery in the United States, the Middle East and Europe. Research Interests: Poetry and poetics, ancient, medieval and modern; textual scholarship; the Indigenous Americas, pre-colonial and post-colonial; colonialism and the cultures of decolonization; textual scholarship; the Cold War; the Beats, New American poetry, and African-American culture in local and international contexts; literatures and cultures of the Middle East and the Balkans; medieval studies; translation.

Ebony Coletu

Ebony Coletu
Ebony Coletu is Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies, Affiliate Faculty, Center for Democratic Deliberation, Affiliate Faculty, Social Thought Program. Her interests are: Rhetoric of Application Forms; Funding Infrastructures, Biography - addresses the rhetoric of application forms within a historical and sociological framework that accounts for the way biographic details are used to distribute institutional resources; Transnational American Studies in the Middle East and Africa; African Diaspora Studies /African Studies.

Laurie Essig

Laurie Essig
Laurie Essig is Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies at Middlebury College. She is a sociologist who teaches courses on how power shapes our bodies and our desires. Her courses include Sociology of Heterosexuality, White People, Men & Masculinities and Feminist Blogging. Her first book, Queer in Russia: A Story of Sex, Self and the Other (Duke, 1999) considered how sexual others are imagined and thus imagine themselves in Russia. Her second book, American Plastic: Credit Cards, Boob Jobs and Our Quest for Perfection (Beacon, 2010) argued that cosmetic surgery in the US is the subprime mortgage crisis of the body, with corporations squeezing profit from working class Americans who hope a more perfect body will lead to a better future. Essig has written for a variety of publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Conversation and  The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth Foster
Elizabeth Foster is Associate Professor of History at Tufts University. She specializes in the history of modern France and the French Empire. Her first book, Faith in Empire, explores French colonial rule in West Africa through the prism of religion. Based on archival research in France, Senegal, and Italy, it examines the relationships between French Catholic missionaries, French colonial administrators, and Muslim, Christian, and animist Africans in colonial Senegal between 1880 and 1940.

Ursula K. Heise

Ursula K. Heise
Ursula K. Heise is the Marcia H. Howard Chair in Literary Studies at the Department of English and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA. She is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and former President of ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment). Her research and teaching focus on contemporary literature and the environmental humanities; environmental literature, arts, and cultures in the Americas, Western Europe, and Japan; literature and science; science fiction; and narrative theory. Her books include Chronoschisms: Time, Narrative, and Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press, 1997), Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the Global (Oxford University Press, 2008), Nach der Natur: Das Artensterben und die moderne Kultur [After Nature: Species Extinction and Modern Culture] (Suhrkamp, 2010) and Imagining Extinction: The Cultural Meanings of Endangered Species (University of Chicago Press, 2016), which won the 2017 book prize of the British Society for Literature and Science. She is editor of the series Natures, Cultures, and the Environment with Palgrave, and co-editor of the series Literature and Contemporary Thought with Routledge. She is co-editor of the Routledge Companion to the Environmental Humanities (Routledge, 2017) and Managing Editor of Futures of Comparative Literature: The ACLA Report on the State of the Discipline (Routledge, 2017). She is also a co-founder of UCLA’s Lab for Environmental Narrative Strategies (LENS) and producer and writer of "Urban Ark Los Angeles," a documentary created as a collaboration of LENS with the public television station KCET-Link.

Neda Maghbouleh

Neda Maghbouleh
Neda Maghbouleh is Assistant Professor of Sociology at UTM, with appointment to the graduate department at St. George. A recent winner of the Province of Ontario’s Early Researcher Award, she is lead researcher and Principal Investigator on the RISE (Refugee Integration, Stress, and Equity) Team, funded by a major 2018-2023 SSHRC Insight grant. View up-to-date information on her research and publications.

Amir Moosavi

Amir Moosavi
Amir Moosavi is Assistant Professor of Comparative literature at Rutgers University Newark. His research and teaching interests include modern Arabic and Persian literatures, with an emphasis on Iran, Iraq, the Levant, and Afghanistan as well as the cultural history of the modern Middle East. Currently, his primary research project is a book manuscript entitled, "Dust That Never Settled: Legacies of the Iran-Iraq War in Arabic and Persian Literatures."  The book argues for the expansion of comparative literary and cultural studies across the Arabic and Persian linguistic spheres based on the common experience of war and the responses of writers to it since 1980. His other current projects are based on the afterlives of 1979 in cultural production emerging from the Arab and Persian worlds, a co-edited volume on sensory readings of Persian literature, various translation projects from Arabic and Persian fiction and an exploration of the maqam musical tradition across Iran and the Arab world.

Golnar Nikpour

Golnar Nikpour
Golnar Nikpour (Dartmouth) is a scholar of modern Iranian political and intellectual history, with a particular interest in the history of law, incarceration, and rights. She holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University's department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, & African Studies. She teaches on an interdisciplinary set of topics including modern Middle Eastern and North African history, Iranian history, political theory, Islamic studies, critical prison studies, and women and gender studies. She is currently finishing her first book, "The Incarcerated Modern: Prisons and Public Life in Iran, a study of prisons and punishment in 19th-21st century Iran" that situates the expansion of Iran's modern prison system (and public discourses on those prisons) in the context of the global expansion of incarceration. She is also co-founder and co-editor of B|ta’arof, a journal for Iranian arts and writing, where she has written extensively on the intellectual and cultural histories of Iran and its diaspora.

Lior Sternfeld

Lior Sternfeld
Lior Sternfeld is Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies, a social historian of the modern Middle East with particular interests in Jewish (and other minorities') histories of the region. His book titled "Integrated After All: Iranian Jews in the Twentieth Century," examines the integration of the Jewish communities in Iran into the nation-building projects of the twentieth century. This book examines the development of the Iranian Jewish communities' vis-à-vis ideologies and institutions such as Iranian nationalism, Zionism, and constitutionalism, among others. His current research project examines the origins of "third-worldism" in the Middle East and interests include histories of modern Iranian and the Middle East, Jewish histories of the Middle East, and social movements in the Middle East and beyond.



Fall 2018

Vivek Bald

Vivek Bald (MIT)
Vivek Bald is a scholar, writer, and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on histories of migration and diaspora, particularly from the South Asian subcontinent. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor, with Miabi Chatterji, Sujani Reddy, and Manu Vimalassery of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013). His films include "Taxi-vala/Auto-biography," (1994) which explored the lives, struggles, and activism of New York City taxi drivers from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and "Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music" (2003) a hybrid music documentary/social documentary about South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. Bald is currently working on a transmedia project aimed at recovering the histories of peddlers and steamship workers from British colonial India who came to the United States under the shadows of anti-Asian immigration laws and settled within U.S. communities of color in the early 20th century. The project consists of the Bengali Harlem book as well as a documentary film, "In Search of Bengali Harlem," (currently in production), and a digital oral history website in development at

Sharad Chari

Sharad Chari (UC Berkeley)
Sharad Chari is Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Berkeley, and Research Associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Sharad is a scholar of agrarian transition and industrialization in India (Fraternal Capital, 2004) and has been working on South Africa since 2002. He has also begun new work on an oceanic conception of capitalism, in relation to the fetishism of "the Ocean Economy" in the Southern African Indian Ocean region. At Berkeley Geography, he is also part of Berkeley Black Geographies and the Submergent Archive, and at WiSER he is part of the project on the Oceanic Humanities in the Global South.

Tarek El-Ariss

Tarek El-Ariss (Dartmouth College)
Tarek El-Ariss is Associate Professor and Chair of Middle Eastern Studies at Dartmouth. Working across disciplines and languages, his research interests include contemporary Arabic culture, literature, and art; new media and cyber culture; digital humanities; Nahda literature, language, press, and literary theory; travel writing and the war novel; film and television studies; sci-fi and utopia studies; 18th- and 19th-century French philosophy and literature; gender and sexuality studies; and psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and affect theory. He is author of Trials of Arab Modernity: Literary Affects and the New Political and Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age, and editor of the MLA anthology, The Arab Renaissance: A Bilingual Anthology of the Nahda. He's the editor of a series on literature in translation entitled, Emerging Voices from the Middle East.

Alyosha Goldstein

Alyosha Goldstein (U New Mexico)
Alyosha Goldstein is a Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico. Goldstein's research interests include the study of globalization, neoliberalism, and social movements; comparative histories of imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism; modern liberalism and twentieth-century political culture; critical race and indigenous studies; the history and politics of public health; and social and political theory. Poverty in Common: The Politics of Community Action during the American Century (Duke University Press, 2012), Goldstein’s first book, examines mid-twentieth century community-based antipoverty initiatives in the United States within the context of the Cold War, decolonization movements worldwide, and grassroots struggles for self-determination. This study focuses on the ways in which the negotiation of boundaries—between foreign and domestic, empire and nation, violence and order, dependency and autonomy—were a vital part of racial and gendered struggles over the dynamics of governance and inequality in the United States.

Paget Henry

Paget Henry (Brown University)
Paget Henry (Ph.D. in Sociology, Cornell University, 1976) is Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies. His specializations are Dependency Theory, Caribbean Political Economy, Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Art and Literature, Africana Philosophy and Religion, Race and Ethnic Relations, Poststructuralism, and Critical Theory. He has served on the faculties of S.U.N.Y.Stony Brook, University of the West Indies (Antigua) and the University of Virginia. He is the author of Caliban's Reason: Introducing Afro-Caribbean Philosophy (Routledge, 2000), Peripheral Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Antigua (Transaction Books, 1985), and co-editor of C.L.R. James's Caribbean (Duke UP, 1992) and New Caribbean: Decolonization, Democracy, and Development (Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1983). His more than fifty articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in such journals, newspapers, and magazines as Caribbean Quarterly, Social and Economic Studies, The Cornell Journal of Social Relations, The Encyclopedia of the Left, Sociological Forum, Studies in Comparative International Development, The American Journal of Sociology, the Antigua and Barbuda Forum, Third World Affairs, The Bulletin of Eastern Caribbean Affairs, and Blackworld. Several of Henry's essays have been reprinted in anthologies on the best work in his fields. Henry is editor of The C.L.R. James Journal and co-editor of the Routledge series Africana Thought.

Kehaulani Kauanui

Kehaulani Kauanui (Wesleyan)
J. Kēhaulani Kauanui is Professor of American Studies and an affiliate faculty member in Anthropology at Wesleyan University, where she serves as the current Chair of the American Studies Department, and the current Director of the Center for the Americas. She earned her PhD in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2000. After transferring from community college (Irvine Valley) in 1989, she earned her B.A. in Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley in 1992. Kauanui has a newly released book, Speaking of Indigenous Politics: Conversations with Activists, Scholars, and Tribal Leaders, which features select interviews from her public affairs radio show "Indigenous Politics," which aired from 2007-2013 (forthcoming 2018, University of Minnesota Press). Her first book is Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Duke University Press, 2008). In September 2018, her new book, Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism, which examines myriad contradictions of indigeneity and self-determination vis-a-vis US domestic policy and international law will be released (Duke University Press).

Eunsong Kim

Eunsong Kim (Northeastern)
Eunsong Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Northeastern University. She completed her PhD at UC San Diego. Her book project in progress, The Politics of Collecting: Property & Race & Aesthetic Formations considers how legal conceptions of racialized property become foundational to avant-garde and modern understandings of innovation in the arts. Eunsong co-founded and co-runs the arts forum, contemptorary, a magazine supported by the Andy Warhol Art Writers Grant Program, dedicated to featuring, interviewing and archiving artists of color and publishing emerging perspectives in the arts. For her work bridging the conversation between contemporary art and politics, she received the 2016 Poynter Fellowship in journalism at Yale University. Her essays have appeared in: Lateral: Journal of the Cultural Studies Association, Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, The New Inquiry, and in the book anthologies, Poetics of Social Engagement and Reading Modernism with Machines. Her poetry has appeared in the Brooklyn Magazine, The Iowa Review, Minnesota Review, and West Branch amongst others. Her first book of poetry, Gospel of Regicide, was published by Noemi Press in 2017, and her co-translation (with Sung Gi Kim) of Kim Eon Hee's poetic text "Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days?" will be published in the Spring of 2019.

Minkah Makalani

Minkah Makalani (UT Austin)
Minkah Makalani is assistant professor of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of the book, In the Cause of Freedom: Radical Black Internationalism from Harlem to London, 1917-1939, and co-editor (with Davarian Baldwin) of Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem. His work has appeared in The Journal of African American History, Souls, Small Axe, Social Text, South Atlantic Quarterly, and Women, Gender, and Families of Color, as well as the collections Outside In: The Transnational Circuitry of U.S. History, and C.L.R. James' Beyond a Boundary Fifty Years On.

Zachariah Mampilly

Zachariah Mampilly (Vassar College)
Zachariah Mampilly is a Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Vassar College. In 2012/2013, he was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He is the author of Rebel Rulers: Insurgent Governance and Civilian Life during War (Cornell U. Press 2011), and Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change (Zed Press, 2015), co-written with Adam Branch. Mampilly teaches courses on civil wars and rebel movements; race, ethnicity and nationalism; and the international relations of the Third World.


Nicholas Mirzoeff

Nicholas Mirzoeff (NYU)
Nicholas Mirzoeff is a visual activist, working at the intersection of politics, race and global/visual culture. He is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Among his many publications, The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) won the Anne Friedberg Award for Innovative Scholarship from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies in 2013. His new project, The Appearance of Black Lives Matter was published in 2017 as a free e-book, and in 2018 as a limited edition print book with the art project "The Bad Air Smelled Of Roses" by Carl Pope and a poem by Karen Pope, both by NAME Publications, Miami. A frequent blogger and writer, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Time and The New Republic.

Josie Saldana

Josie Saldana (NYU)
Josie Saldana area of interests are Latin American and Latinx Studies; Indigenous Studies; colonization and comparative race in the Americas; globalization and immigrations studies; development studies and revolutionary thought; hemispheric literary and cultural studies. She is a Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis at NYU. Saldaña-Portillo has also received various grants and awards over the course of her career from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the University of California, between them: 2017 Best Book Award for Book Published in 2016. National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies (NACCS); 2017 Finalist, IPEG Book Prize. British International Studies Association- International Political Economy Group; May 2011, The Hispanic History of Texas Project, Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project Research Grant and 2010-2011 U.S. Fulbright-García Robles Research Fellowship, All Disciplines Mexico City.


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