Fellows

Mark Aaukhus

headshot of Mark AakhusThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. investigates the relationship between communication and design, especially the uses of technological and organizational design, to augment human interaction and reasoning for decision-making and conflict-management. He uses multiple methods from discourse analysis and computational social science to examine language, argumentation, and social interaction in professional practice, organizational processes, and information infrastructures. The aim in these streams of research is to improve understanding of the intentional, and emergent, design of institutions for communication and the consequences for the co-creation of health, wellness, and democracy.

Tobias Schulze-Cleven

headshot of Tobias Schulze-ClevenThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), and the Director of SMLR’s Center for Global Work and Employment. Interested in the role of collective action for sustaining social protection and economic performance, he studies the contemporary politics of labor market and higher education reforms in the rich democracies. A recipient of the John T. Dunlop award for research of international significance (Labor and Employment Relations Association, 2018), Tobias held fellowships at Harvard University and from Germany’s Max Planck Society, and received a teaching award at UC Berkeley. While at CCA, he examines the effects of shifting state strategies and faculty mobilization on the academy in transatlantic comparison.

Nichole Margarita Garcia

headshot of Nichole GarciaThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. As a Chicana/Puerto Rican her research focuses on the intersections race, feminism, and Latinx/a/o communities in higher education She is a recipient of the Andrew W. Mellon dissertation fellowship which she completed a comparative study on Chicana/o and Puerto Rican college-educated families to advance narratives of intergenerational achievement and college choice processes.Dr. Garcia has published in international and national journals such as Race, Ethnicity and EducationThe Journal of Latinos in EducationJournal of Hispanics in Higher EducationInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Educationand Frontiers.She is a regular contributor to Diverse Issues in Higher Education Magazine, The Latino Book Review,and Motivos: Bilingual Magazine. She received her PhD in Social Science and Comparative Education with a specialization in Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan

KOK 2018 Christopher Kulfan CopyThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an Instructor in the History Department at Rutgers University, where she directs the Public History Program. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Leicester and an MA in Modern History from Queens University Belfast, and researches poverty, labor, mobility, crime and punishment in the early American northeast, as well as public historical and commemorative representations of these subjects. Kristin is the author of Vagrants and Vagabonds: Poverty and Mobility in the Early American Republic (New York University Press, 2019) and several chapters, articles, and essays on early American and public history. She has previously worked as an archivist and research analyst for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Archives, and in museums, archives, and libraries in the US and the UK curating exhibits, managing archival collections, and creating inclusive public programming. She regularly consults on public history projects in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and edits the new Routledge series Global Perspectives on Public History. 

Karen M O'Neill

Karen O'Neill headshotThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a sociologist studying coastal climate adaptation, biodiversity, and other policies on land and water. This includes understanding who wins and who loses under different policies. Karen has written or co-edited books on the U.S. program for river flood control and the growth of government power (Rivers by Design, Duke University Press), on race and Hurricane Katrina (Katrina’s Imprint, Rutgers University Press), and the book Taking Chances, on changes in institutions in response to Hurricane Sandy (Rutgers University Press).

Jessica Mack

Jessica Mack headshot

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a historian of Latin America whose research explores urban transformation, intellectual life and the public sphere in twentieth-century Mexico. Her current book project traces the spatial reconfiguration of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) on its midcentury campus in Mexico City. By chronicling the planning and construction of this University City, the project explains the national university’s shifting role in Mexico’s developing revolutionary state and examines the ways in which national priorities were inscribed upon intellectual and cultural life. Reshaping the space of the university both reconfigured Mexico City’s urban landscape and realigned consent and contestation in national politics. She explores the role of the university more broadly through work in the digital humanities, university archives and public history and is a contributor to the Princeton & Slavery digital history project. She holds a B.A. in History from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University.

Shari M. Cunningham

headshot of Shari CunninghamThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., M.S., is a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education program in the School of Graduate Studies and a proud Educational Opportunity Fund alumna. She earned a Bachelors in American Studies with a double minor in History and Political Science and a Master of Science in Business from the College of Saint Elizabeth. 

She was an assistant director in the Office of Financial Aid for the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) programs at the Piscataway campus.

Currently Ms. Cunningham serves as a student representative for the Advisory Council for the Graduate School of Education and the co-Vice President for the Graduate School of Education Student Affairs Committee. Her research interest primarily focuses on how Black students make sense of their scholarly journey throughout the stages of doctoral study. Her prior research projects included historical archival research on the emergence of Colored school in 19th century Newark as well as being a contributing author on two chapters to Scarlet and Black: Vol. 2, a Rutgers University exploration of its historical past as a mechanism for reconciliation. 

Nora Devlin

Nora Devlin headshotThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an advanced doctoral student in the PhD in Higher Education program at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Nora's research interests deal with justice and organizational/governance structures in universities, specifically in the realm of higher education law. Her dissertation examines faculty First Amendment cases brought against their (public) university employers. Nora researches the current caselaw on faculty free speech cases which reflects a split among the federal circuits, only some of which recognize the free speech rights of public university faculty. Her research seeks to map and theorize this landscape while offering practical recommendations for faculty, faculty organizers, and university leaders.

Benjamin Foley

Benjamin Foley headshotThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Rutgers University and an activist interested in how white organizers understand and navigate "whiteness" as they participate in interracial coalitions and politics. His dissertation is a historical sociological study of the Young Patriots Organization—a group of poor white migrants from Appalachia who formed in the impoverished neighborhood of “Uptown” Chicago in 1968. Paradoxically brandishing Confederate flags and Black Panther pins, they protested racism against “hillbillies” and “oppressed white people,” and claimed solidarity with other oppressed people of color around the world. Remarkably, the Illinois Black Panther Party saw the Patriots as an ally and recruited them to join their Rainbow Coalition in 1969. The Patriots’ heterodox “white revolutionary” discourse, Ben contends, complicates how we think about “whiteness” and how white anti-racism should and could happen. Rather than treating “whiteness” as an attitude or idea to be rejected, and inadvertently reaffirming its legitimacy as race category, the Patriots “produce” a race discourse where the essentialism of white/ nonwhite binary discourse is weakened, and thereby drained of some of its normative power. Through organizing free medical clinics, food pantries, and other “serve the people” programs, the Patriots link poor southern whites’ poverty and oppression to structural anti-“hillbilly” racism in Chicago. In doing so, the Patriots sought solidarity with other oppressed people of color, not out of a moral or pragmatic objection to “whiteness,” but out of a sense of shared positionally as racially oppressed by white supremacy. While the Patriots’ race discourse often erroneously (and dangerously) equates intra-white racism to racism against communities of color, it merits attention because it offers a model of antiracism that chips away at how white supremacy is reproduced in white ideology. In my project for CCA, therefore, I explore how the Patriots’ experience with Student for Democratic Society organizers formulated this extraordinary race consciousness.

Scott Harris

head shot of Scott HarrisThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a Ph.D. candidate in English at Rutgers University. His research and teaching focus on twentieth- and twenty-first-century British literature and culture. His dissertation, “English Variety: Popular Theatrical Culture and Localist Form in the Post-Consensus Novel,” analyzes the sociopolitical function of popular theatrical forms as they appear in the work of Salman Rushdie, Angela Carter, Sarah Waters, and Ian McEwan. It suggests that contemporary fiction, marked by the decline of imperialism and post-war social consensus, takes up the popular theater in order to provide alternatives to cosmopolitan and democratic forms of inclusion in an age characterized by sociopolitical division.

Atif Akin

atifakin july2018 61a2cThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an artist and designer and Associate Professor of Visual Arts at Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. He lives and works in New York. His work examines science, nature, mobility, and politics. Through a series of activities made up of research, documentation and design, Akın’s work considers transdisciplinary issues, through a technoscientific lens, in aesthetic and political contexts.

During his studies at the Middle East Technical University, Akın was actively involved in artistic and political circles in Ankara. He practiced design, photography and video, and in graduate school, developed an interest in interaction design, cyberculture, digital humanities, semantics and semiotics. Akın became active as an artist during his years in İstanbul, and exhibited widely in Turkey and Europe, taking part in collective and international projects in a field that was seeing its first years of development and emergence. From İstanbul, Akın created connections with institutions in Germany, took classes in Berlin, and stayed close to the pioneers who practiced interaction design and digital data driven forms and interfaces in artistic and political contexts.

In 2009, his work was listed in the ‘Younger Than Jesus’ art directory project of the New Museum, published by Phaidon. That same year, Akın co-curated a seminal media art exhibition, ‘Uncharted: User Frames in Media Arts,’ and edited an accompanying book. Throughout his practice in İstanbul, he regularly collaborated with Ars Electronica in Austria, ZKM in Karlsruhe and Pixelache in Helsinki. Akın was the recipient of the 2015 apexart Franchise Program award in New York, and was the organizer of the zine project and exhibition, Apricots from Damascus, on behalf of apexart, co-produced and hosted by SALT in İstanbul. In 2016, he took part in the public programming of Olafur Eliasson’s Greenlight Project, hosted by TBA 21 in Vienna. With the same institution, he embarked on an expedition to research nuclear test sites in French Polynesia. Currently, part of his long term research-driven art project on nuclear mobility and oceanography is on display at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Singapore and Le Fresnoy Museum in France.

Since the beginning of his practice, he has been interested in manifestations of boundaries–physical, metaphorical, linguistic–that exist around science, nature and politics. In an effort to create the most effective presentations, he refused to settle into an established medium of expression, and instead, moves fluidly between various media, including photography, video, and visualization of quantitative information and programmable media. Some of his works appear as museum, gallery or public space installations, and others in screen-based formats, including online works. Most of his works and links to his online projects can be reached through http://atifakin.info.

 

Francesca Giannetti

Francesca Giannetti headshot a34a5This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is the Digital Humanities Librarian at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and subject liaison to the departments of Classics, French, and Italian, and the program in Comparative Literature. In her research, she pursues topics at the intersection of information studies, digital humanities, and music. Working with a musicologist, a music librarian, and a digital humanities project developer, Giannetti is developing a digital research environment called Music Scholarship Online (MuSO), a contributing node of the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC) whose aims are to improve the dissemination of digital scholarly outputs in music as well as develop a peer review framework for the evaluation of digital work in musicology and music history. Her research interests include digital libraries, audio preservation, opera and libretto studies, and digital humanities pedagogy. She has published articles in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and TechnologyMusic Reference Services QuarterlyNotes, and College & Undergraduate Libraries

 

Preetha Mani

Preetha Mani Headshot Square cbf62 ec457This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literatures at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on how representations of the Indian woman are used to shape ideas of regional and national identity, and experiences of belonging, in the aftermath of Indian Independence. She is currently completing a book manuscript, which chronicles the emergence of the short story as a preeminent genre in twentieth century Hindi and Tamil literature. The book proposes a view of Indian literature as a field of comparative literature that is comprised of mutually imbricated local, regional, national, and global processes of literary canonization and shows the short story to be a major genre of postcolonial literature and central to the formation of the new woman. She has an enduring interest in the relationship between gender and genre and the popular and the literary, which informs her ongoing work on the comparative study of Indian and world literatures, translation studies, and women’s writing in South Asia.

Hana Shepherd

Shepherd 0db7cThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2011. She specializes in the study of culture, networks, and organizations. She uses diverse methods, including network analysis, lab and field-based experiments, interviews, and archival research to study social processes, especially social influence. She has designed instruments to build several datasets, both quantitative and qualitative, to study organizations and culture, particularly in terms of the development of shared norms within groups. A current line of work uses comparative, qualitative data from schools and city government agencies to understand variation in how organizations implement law. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Social Psychology Quarterly, Poetics, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Sociological Forum.

Laura Weigert

Weigert 1c741 small 8695bThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.is Professor of Art History at Rutgers University. She specializes in Northern European art of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. She received her B.A. from Swarthmore College and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Professor Weigert has taught at the University of Nantes and the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and was Associate Professor of Art History and Humanities at Reed College before joining the Rutgers faculty in September, 2006. Her scholarship addresses the interaction between diverse media in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as a means to probe questions of representation, spectatorship, and meaning making during this period. She has published on manuscript illumination, prints, panel painting, textiles, and the ephemeral arts of performance. Her book on tapestries, Weaving Sacred Stories: French Choir Tapestries and the Performance of Clerical Identity (Cornell, 2004) reconstructs the architectural and ceremonial context in which tapestries were seen and the process of storytelling to which they contributed. French Visual Culture and the Making of Medieval Theater (Cambridge, 2015) engages theatricality as an interpretive lens to understand a broad range of fifteenth-century artifacts and performance practices and reveals the roots of misperceptions about medieval theater that continue to inform the disciplines of art history and theater history. She is currently investigating the fifteenth-century origins of modern media distinctions and the role that painting played in their definition. She was an invited faculty member at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in November, 2015 and is an Associated Researcher at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art for the academic year 2015-2016.

Danielle Allor

allor headshot 757d6This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a PhD Candidate in the English department at Rutgers University. Her work focuses on vegetal life and late medieval literature, arguing that late medieval authors imported knowledge-organizing and classifying strategies from natural philosophy to bolster claims to religious authenticity and literary authority. Her dissertation, “Trees of Thought: Arboreal Matter and Metaphor in Late Medieval England,” examines trees as material and figural classification systems in the work of William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, and John Skelton.

 

Virginia Conn

conn headshot CCAThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a PhD candidate in the Comparative Literature program at Rutgers University, whose work occurs at the intersection of comparative languages and literatures (Sinophone, Anglophone, Francophone, Germanophone, and Russophone literatures) and science and technology studies, particularly those aspects of STS that investigate circulations of knowledge and biopolitics. Her research interests include the intersection of science fiction and ideology, socialist teleologies, the ethics of progress, and nationalist technologies of embodiment. Her dissertation examines socialist modernities by questioning how science fiction conscientiously harnessed utopian ideals of technological advancement as rational blueprints to shape the country’s citizens. Virginia has published peer-reviewed articles in science fiction studies, cultural studies, visual studies, and computer science journals. In addition to her academic research, she works for the international division of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

 

Aghil Daghagheleh

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University. He is currently a graduate fellow at the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University (CCA) and recently finished a project on social movements and electoral politics in Iran. In his current research project, Refusal: Resistance, Subjectivity, and Construction of Arabness in Iran, Aghil explores the geography of social marginalization in contemporary Iran, a topic which brings together research on the politics of marginalized communities, social movements, race and ethnic relations, nationalism, political economy, religion, and resistance. Through an ethnographic study of the everyday experiences and politics of Arab minority, Aghil shows how ethnicity becomes a significant facet of subaltern politics and explores modalities of resistance, subversion, negotiation, and refusal that marginalized communities deploy to cope with the effects of ethnoreligious nationalism and to unsettle ethnicity, nationhood, and citizenship, as major products of state classification. He problematizes the notions of citizenship and belonging in the Islamic Republic by highlighting the work of classification in perpetuating structures of power and forms of everyday domination and resistance. Aghil is also participating in a comparative research project, The Rise of The Peripheral, that explores the conflicts about the extraction of natural resources that are increasingly expressed in indigenous, ethnic, racial, and decolonial terms. He works with Dr. Zakia Salime (Rutgers) to examines the collective and individual forms of resistance at the nexus of neoliberal economics and political authoritarianism in the United States, Morocco, and Iran.

 

Alex Leslie

leslie headshot CCAThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a PhD candidate in the English Department at Rutgers University. His research primarily focuses on the intersection of print circulation and cultural geography in the long nineteenth century. His dissertation “Reading Regionally: Cultural Geography and American Literature, 1865-1915” argues that region was not simply a framework for representing cultural difference but a structuring principle of the postbellum cultural field: it explores how literary texts were read differently in different regions of the country and how this fact shaped editorial policy and authorial production. Alex is also currently the Rutgers Libraries Graduate Digital Humanities Specialist.

 

Irina Nicorici

IMG 20180814 094615 31240This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is an advanced PhD student in Sociology at Rutgers. Her dissertation focuses on the Soviet migration policies and the bureaucratic processing of applications for entry into or exit from the USSR. Empirically, she investigates how the Soviet Union and its heirs collected data about their inhabitants and visitors between 1960 and 2000, how the state machineries accounted for and controlled who belonged, and how the publics responded to such evaluative metrics. In addition to the sociology of citizenship, she is also interested in the gendered logics of stratification, migration control, state organization and economic governance, as well as race and ethnic relations. 

 

Mónica Hernández Ospina

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a doctoral candidate in the Geography Department at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Her research interests have been focused on the formation of territories and contested spaces in contexts of conflict over land ownership, as it traditionally occurs in Colombia. In her current research, she analyzes collective land property conflicts and how collective titling processes are used by state governments as instruments to protect ethnic communities. Using fieldwork and archival research, she studies processes through which Afro Colombians obtained collective titles of ownership for the territories they have occupied traditionally. Working on different scales, her goal is to examine the tensions between state and rural/ethnic communities, using land property as a relationship where those tensions are constantly deployed.

 

Rachel Miller

Rachel MillerRachel Miller is a labor and cultural historian of the nineteenth-century with a particular focus on the development of the global entertainment industry. She is currently working on a book project adapted from her dissertation, "Capital Entertainment: Stage Work and the Origins of the U.S. Creative Economy, 1843 - 1912," which analyzes the transformation of commercial performance from a small-scale artisanal or folk practice into a staple product of global, export-oriented capitalism. Despite the glossy sheen of stardom that shapes our understanding of stage work, most performers were contingent staffers whose efforts—as the first pastime to become big business—generated exponential profits. Far from a niche interest or obscure curiosity, common understandings of stage work naturalized capitalism’s demands on all workers, even as it introduced prescient questions about talent, creativity, and individuality that persist today. Rachel's other research projects include the global reach of Americana, the legal history of the blackface minstrel show, and the theory and practice of historic house museums. She received a PhD in American Culture at the University of Michigan, and her work has been published in scholarly journals, edited collections, and popular outlets.

Jasmine Samara

Photo Samara cbfd8Jasmine Samara is a legal scholar and anthropologist whose work explores the regulation of identity through law, the governance of religious minorities, gender, and critical approaches to rights. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University and has a J.D. from Columbia Law School. Her ethnographic research in northern Greece explores debates on distinctive policies governing Muslim minority citizens in contemporary Greece, analyzing the legal stakes of this classification and ways in which it is contested and evaded.