Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies

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Program Faculty

María Acosta Cruz, Ph.D.
Professor, Language, Literature and Culture Department
Born and raised in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, María Acosta Cruz received a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She teaches all levels of Spanish language and literature. Her main research and teaching interests are Caribbean and Latino cultures. She explores issues such as the making and marketability of identities, Puerto Rican cultural history, and national and gender-based stereotypes. Her book Dream Nation: Puerto Rican Culture & the Fictions of Independence (Rutgers University Press 2014 is also part of the American Literatures Initiative from NYU, Fordham, Temple and Virginia University Presses. The series has funding from the Mellon Foundation).
Tel: 1-508-793-7677

Belen Atienza, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Dr. Atienza's research interests include the relationship between social history and literature in the Spain of the Conquistadores. In particular she is interested in the literary representations of marginal groups – the poor, the ill, the outcast – as well as the conditions in which they lived. Other research interests include gender and women’s studies, history of theater, pedagogy, and cinema.
Tel: 508-793-7256

Parminder Bhachu, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Sociology
Dr. Bhachu is interested in emergent cultural forms and cultural identities in border zones and niche markets innovated from the margins by multiply-moved new global citizens. Her work deals with the production, circulation, and marketing of cultural products and commodities in multiple sites around the globe and their interpretation in local contexts. These research topics build on her long term interests in immigrant enterprises, multiple migrations and diasporas, race and ethnicity, cultural nationalisms, and consumer and popular cultures in global markets.
Tel: 1-508-793-7599

Ramon Borges-Mendez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, International Development, Community, and Environment Department
Associate Professor of Community Development and Planning
Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Community Development and Planning
Dr. Borges-Mendez has written on various public policy issues: workforce development; labor markets; Latino CBO’s; Latino poverty and community development in the United States; immigration; decentralization and civil society matters in Latin America. His research and teaching interests include, Urban and regional economic development, labor markets and workforce development, political economy, Latin America, Latinos in the U.S. and immigration, governance, non-profits and institutional development, and research methods.
Tel: 508-421-3838
Tel: 1-508-421-3838

Esteban Cardemil, Ph.D.
Professor, Hiatt School of Psychology
Mental health care disparities, prevention and treatment, cultural adaptations, depression
Tel: 508-793-7738

Mark Davidson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Geography
Urban politics, critical urban theory, gentrification, urban development, state restructuring
Tel: 508-793-7291

Eric DeMeulenaere, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Education
Urban Education; Critical Pedagogy; Critical Theory; Critical Media Literacy; Communities of Practice in Schools and Classrooms; Pedagogies of Trust; Participatory Action Research; Counterstory-telling
Tel: 1-508-421-3750

Debórah Dwork, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scholar, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; History Department
Debórah Dwork is Senior Research Scholar at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. She was the inaugural Rose Professor of Holocaust History (1996-2018)and Founding Director of the Strassler. Debórah Dwork is a leading authority on university education in this field, as well as her area of scholarly expertise: Holocaust history. One of the first historians to record Holocaust survivors' oral histories and to use their narratives as a scholarly source, Dwork explores the social and cultural history of the Holocaust. Among her books, Flight from the Reich: Jewish Refugees, 1933-1946 opened the geographic view of the Holocaust and integrated the refugee experience into its history; Children With A Star: Jewish Youth in Nazi Europe introduced a child-centered approach to historical investigation and Auschwitz, 1270 to the Present received the Spiro Kostoff Award, the National Jewish Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and was voted a Best Book by the German Book Critics. She has been, inter alia, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Jody Emel, Ph.D.
Professor, Graduate School of Geography
Resource/environmental geography, animal geographies, feminist/social theory

Rachel Falmagne, Ph.D.
Professor, Hiatt School of Psychology
Modes of reasoning, personal epistemology and social location. Thought and societal discourses of knowledge. Feminist perspectives on mind, self, identity and development. Gender, self and thought. Psychology and society.
Tel: 508-793-7262

Odile Ferly, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Language, Literature and Culture Department
Dr. Ferly's research interests are Caribbean literatures and cultures from a comparative perspective, including the Anglophone, Francophone, and Hispanic regions. She studies especially contemporary women's writing from the Caribbean and its diaspora. Her work focuses on the issues of race and gender in connection with history, language, and the Caribbean literary tradition. She teaches interdisciplinary courses on literatures and cultures from Francophone countries, on French popular culture, immigration in France and on Caribbean writing from a comparative perspective.
Tel: 1-508-793-7723

William Fisher, Ph.D.
Professor, International Development, Community, and Environment Department; Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies
Dr. Fisher's research centers on the social and environmental impact of large dams, forced displacement, transnational advocacy, competition over natural resources and non-governmental organizations. His research and work for such agencies as CARE, USAID, and the UNDP have taken him to several continents. Other research activities, mostly in South Asia, include ethnic associations, competition for natural resources, non-governmental associations, and the role of participation and community-based institutions in development planning and action.
Tel: 1-508-421-3765

Everett Fox, Ph.D.
Professor, Language, Literature and Culture Department; Allen M. Glick Chair in Judaic and Biblical Studies; Director, Jewish Studies Program
Dr. Fox's main scholarly focus is the rhetoric and internal coherence of the Hebrew Bible, and how they may be brought out in translation. He is also interested in how the Bible has been transformed at each stage by generations of Israelites, Jews, and Christians. He teaches courses in which texts serve as windows to the attitudes and concerns of Jews through the ages. Dr. Fox's activities in translation have led him to some unexpected places. He was a religious consultant on the animated film Prince of Egypt, and has been collaborating with an American-Israeli artist, Schwebel, who sets the David stories against the backdrop of 1980s Jerusalem.
Tel: 1-508-793-7355

Janette T. Greenwood, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of History
Dr. Greenwood teaches a variety of courses in U.S. history including Race and Ethnicity in American History, History of the American South, Reconstruction, The Gilded Age, and Public History. She is the author of First Fruits of Freedom: The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900 (2010); Bittersweet Legacy: The Black and White "Better Classes" in Charlotte, (1994); and The Gilded Age: A History in Documents (2000. She is also co-author of an innovative U.S. History survey text, American Horizons: U.S. History in a Global Context (3rd edition, 2017). She is co-curator of Reimagining an American Community of Color: The portraits of William Bullard, 1897-1817, an exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum which opened in October 2017, and co-editor of the exhibition catalogue.
Tel: 1-508-793-7286

Anita Hausermann Fabos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of International Development, Community, and Environment
Dr. Fábos is an anthropologist who has conducted research on issues of ethnicity and race, gender, refugees in urban settings, immigration and naturalization policy, Arab nationalism, and Islam. Her research interests include, ethnicity and race, gender, urban refugees, Sudanese immigrants and refugees, Middle Eastern immigration and naturalisation policies, transnationalism and citizenship, transnational Islam, narratives of exile, and Hungarian refugees.
Tel: 508-793-7201

Betsy P. Huang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of English; Andrea B. and Peter D. Klein '64 Distinguished Professor
Dr. Huang researches and teaches representations of ethnic identities and politics in 20th-century American literature and popular culture. Her scholarship focuses on literary treatments of ethnicity in narratives about immigration, assimilation, and citizenship, and she is particularly interested in the ways in which the "ethnic" and the "American" persist as mutually exclusive terms in the American cultural consciousness. She also investigates the affinities between ethnic literature and science fiction, two bodies of work that, in her view, share similar critical and theoretical aims in their treatments of social, biological, and cultural difference.
Tel: 508-793-7145

Esther Jones, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of English; Associate Provost and Dean of the Faculty; E. Franklin Frazier Chair in African American Literature, Theory, and Culture
Dr. Jones specializes in the study of black women writers in the Americas, with a focus on the intersections of race, gender, class, and nationality and theorizations of difference. She has a particular interest in speculative literatures and science fiction by feminists and writers of color, and how such texts attempt to theorize and/or critique how difference operates within contemporary culture.
Tel: 1-508-793-7141

Lisa Kasmer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair (fall 2018), Department of English
Dr. Kasmer specializes in gender studies and women's writing in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British literature and culture. She is particularly interested in the way in which the sociopolitical milieu and print culture between 1760-1840 shaped gender politics in Britain. Some of her courses include Making Gender in Eighteenth-Century British Literature, Gender and Genre in the Nineteenth-Century British Novel, Jane Austen in Contemporary Culture, and The Terror of the Gothic.
Tel: 508-793-7136

Willem Klooster, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of History
Dr. Klooster specializes in the history of the Atlantic world (15th-19th centuries). He teaches classes on comparative colonialism (the Americas), the age of Atlantic revolutions (1776-1824), and Caribbean history. His recent research includes, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History (New York University Press, 2009) and Migration, Trade, and Slavery in an Expanding World: Essays in Honor of Pieter Emmer (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009).
Tel: 1-508-421-3768

Thomas Kuehne, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of History; Strassler Chair in the Study of Holocaust History; Director, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Dr. Kuehne teaches Modern European and German History. His academic and research work is concerned with the relation of war, genocide, and society, with long-term traditions of political culture of Central Europe, above all with the problem of locating the Holocaust and Nazi Germany in the social and cultural history of the 20th century.
Tel: 1-508-793-7523

Stephen M. Levin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair (spring 2019), Department of English
Director of Graduate Studies in English
Dr. Levin specializes in contemporary British and postcolonial literature, transnational cultural studies, and critical and literary theory. His research focuses on the ways in which twentieth-century global conditions have shaped contemporary culture and produced new discourses of self and identity. Dr. Levin teaches introductory and advanced courses on Anglophone world fiction, contemporary British literature, English poetry, and cultural studies and social theory. His recent courses have included "Fictions of Empire," "Contemporary British Fiction and Culture," and "Webs and Labyrinths: Imagining Globalization in Literature."
Tel: 508-793-7147

Olga Litvak, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History; Michael and Lisa Leffell Chair in Modern Jewish History
Dr. Litvak specializes in Eastern European and modern Jewish history. She has written and lectured on a wide range of subjects related to the study of Russian Jewry, including urban violence, literary and artistic life, war, revolution and migration. She has also been pursuing the study of Jewish participation in the making of modern Russian visual culture.
Tel: 1-508-793-7254

Deborah Martin, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Graduate School of Geography
Program Coordinator, Urban Development and Social Change Concentration
Urban geography, social movements (particularly neighborhood activism), place identity, local politics, legal geography, and qualitative methodologies.
Tel: 508-793-7104

Jie Park, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Education
Dr. Park's research interests include adolescent literacy and language practices in school and out-of-school settings. For the past two years, she has been studying how first-generation immigrant students acquire academic discourses, and what cultural and linguistic resources they bring to their schooling.
Tel: 1-508-793-7737

Paul W. Posner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Director of Latin American and Latino Studies Concentration
Dr. Posner's current research focuses on democratization and political participation in developing regions, particularly Latin America. He is also interested in the impact of economic globalization and related state reforms on social organization and collective action in both developing and developed countries, and in comparative environmental policy and democratization in developing countries.
Tel: 1-508-793-7253

Ousmane Power-Greene, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History
Dr. Power-Greene teaches courses on African American history, especially those that deal with African American social and political movements. His dissertation examined debates over emigration and colonization within the Abolition Movement. Currently, he is researching twentieth century African American internationalism in the thought and activism of Hubert H. Harrison.
Tel: 1-508-421-3725

Amy Richter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair (spring 2019), Department of History
Dr. Richter specializes in 19th and 20th century American and cultural history, with an emphasis on women's and urban history. Her teaching repertoire includes the history of American women, U.S. urban history from the colonial era to the 21st century, Gender and the American City, and American Consumer Culture. Her book, Home on the Rails: Women, the Railroad, and the Rise of Public Domesticity, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2005. Her current research looks at marriage and the consumer marketplace at the turn of the twentieth century, and she is working on a primary source reader on 19th-century interpretations of home.
Tel: 1-508-793-7216

Dianne Rocheleau, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist, School of Geography
Environment and development, political ecology, forestry, agriculture and landscape change, with an emphasis on the role of gender, class and "popular" vs. "formal" science in resource allocation and land use.

Marianne Sarkis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor (non-tenure track), International Development, Community, and Environment Department
Health disparities and social determinants of health, immigration and health, culture in clinical encounters, diasporic health, demographic anthropology, Participatory Action Research (PAR), Community-Based Health Research (CBHR), Patient-Centered and Community-Engaged Research, Somali history and culture, advocacy anthropology, Social Networks Analysis (SNA).
Tel: 1-508-421-3898

Valerie Sperling, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Political Science
Dr. Sperling teaches a variety of courses in comparative politics, including Russian politics; revolution and political violence; mass murder and genocide under communism; transitions to democracy; globalization and democracy; and introduction to women’s studies. Her research interests include globalization and accountability, social movements, gender politics, patriotism and militarism, and state-building in the post-communist region.
Tel: 1-508-793-7679

Ora Szekely, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Dr. Szekely's research and teaching interests include Non-state military actors, the politics of the Middle East, mass violence and civilian protection, new media, propaganda, and political mobilization.
Tel: 1-508-793-7360

Shelly Tenenbaum, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology
Coordinator of Undergraduate Activities, Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
American Jewish Studies, race and ethnicity, social stratification, comparative genocide, gender
Tel: 1-508-793-7241

Johanna Ray Vollhardt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Hiatt School of Psychology
Group-based victimization; inclusive and exclusive victim consciousness; acknowledgment; prosocial behavior between groups (especially between minority and victim groups); psychology of genocide
Tel: 508-793-7278

Kristen Williams, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Political Science
Director, women's and gender studies; International relations theory, arms control and international security, nationalism and ethnic politics, U.S. foreign policy, women, gender and conflict.
Tel: 1-508-793-7446

Visiting Faculty

John Palella, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Gender, Race and Area Studies
Historical constructions, productions and experiences of race, gender and sexuality in the United States and the Atlantic World
Tel: 508-793-7584