• Graduate Student Picnic 2009
  • Graduate Student Picnic 2014

Current Graduate Students

Click on the names below to read about each of the current graduate students in the Ethnic Studies Department at UCSD

Bayan Abusneineh

Bayan Abusneinehabusneineh

Email: babusnei@ucsd.edu

Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. Political Science and Gender Studies

Research Interests: Palestinian women's social movements, transnationalism, state and gender violence

Research: I aim to thoroughly investigate the critical relationships that have existed between forms of state violence enacted against African American women and Palestinian women, as well as the strategies of opposite that women in both contexts have developed. Furthermore, I aim to explore the interplay between state and domestic regimes of gender violence in the context of racial terror and freedom movements.

Sophia Armen

Sophia Armenabusneineh

Email: sarmen@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. Global and International Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Research Interests: Critical University Studies, critical race theory, radical theory, Middle Eastern Studies, SWANA/Middle Eastern-American Studies, postcolonial theory, SWANA Feminisms, social movements and Indigenous Studies.

Research: I hope to critically examine the domestic and foreign regimes of American terror in the Southwest Asian/North Afrikan region and their relationship to the University. I hope to connect these explorations with a critical race intervention that unites the conception of the corporatization of the University to larger State apparatuses of violence with particular focus on dissecting how this relationship requires the containment of resistance, containment that historically serves to as the lifeblood of racism, colonialism and imperialism. I am here because I am an Armenian-American woman from Los Angeles committed to radical resistance for our collective liberation

Christiane Assefa

Martin Boston

Martin Boston

Email: mboston@ucsd.eduMartin Boston

Research Interests: Black Diaspora Studies, Cultural Studies, African American Studies, Africana Studies, Black Popular Culture, Critical Resistance Studies, South African - US Comparative History, Race and Ethnicity

Dissertation Title: Be(Long)ing: New Africanism & South African Cultural Producers Confronting State Repression in an Era of Exile

Research: I specialize in Black Diaspora studies, cultural studies, and theories of race and ethnicity. Emphasizing visual and auditory texts, such as (auto)biography, film, theatre and music, my research and teaching focuses on long 20th century American and South African cultural studies with an investment in social movements, Black internationalism, decolonial struggle, liberation praxis and cultural production. Currently, my interdisciplinary research brings together historic, cultural, diasporic and socio-political perspectives to trace South African cultural producers working in an era of exile across the globe (roughly 1959 – the mid 1980’s). My dissertation currently titled, “Be(Long)ing: New Africanism & South African Cultural Producers Confronting State Repression in an Era of Exile,” seeks to understand exile as a function of government control, as a way to theorize global anti-Blackness and modes of Black solitaries, and as an avenue through which South African cultural producers and artistic works became active in the politics of various countries around the world, not the least of which the countries they were exiled from. The dissertation consists of four chapters, where each explores a different set of objects and subjects that add nuance to my argument of understanding exile and its connections to Pan-Africanism and struggles against anti-Blackness. My first chapter, “The Makings of Exile,” looks at two pivotal events that led to the era of exile in South Africa, the rise and fall of the township Sophiatown and its renaissance, and the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre. Chapter 2, “Prelude to Departure,” is a study that situates the 1959 jazz opera King Kong and film ComeBack, Africa as key productions that critiqued the apartheid state while also, due to an (im)perfect storm of events taking place almost simultaneously including Sharpeville, the 1960 Venice Film Festival and an European run for King Kong, would eventually lead to the exile for some of the most prominent and infamous South African cultural producers in the country’s history. Chapters 3 and 4, “Armed Propaganda” (A portion of which is my writing sample attached to this application) and “Lakutshon’ Ilanga,” respectively, look at what South African cultural producers were creating, how they lived, and the politics they took up while in exile. Chapter 3 focuses on the ANC radio program, “Radio Freedom,” and Chapter 4 considers musicians and writers from Miriam Makeba to Todd Matshikiza.

Dissertation Committee:
Chair: Prof. Dayo F. Gore
Prof. Roshanak Kheshti 
Prof. Sara Clarke Kaplan
Prof. Kirstie Dorr
Prof. Daniel Widener
Prof. Ivan Evans

Keva X. Bui

Keva X. Buikeva.JPG

Email: kxb002@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. in English Literature modified with Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Dartmouth College

Research Interests: queer/feminist science and technology studies, science and speculative fiction, transnational and transpacific Asian/American studies, discourses of the category of human, and U.S. militarism and settler colonialism in Asia and the Pacific

Research: Keva’s research traces a disparate genealogy of scientific knowledge production surrounding the Vietnam War, exploring how various discourses of science have shaped formations of race, nation, the human, and the nonhuman through the transnational crosscurrents within and between Asia, the Pacific, and the United States. 

Website: kevaxbui.com

Maria Celleri

Maria CelleriMaria Celleri

Email: mcelleri@ucsd.edu

Advanced to candidacy in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego
M.A. in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University, 2013
M.A. in Hispanic Languages and Literature from Stony Brook University, 2011
B.A. in Comparative Literature and Spanish Literature from Binghamton University, 2009

My current project, “From Shungoloma to La Virgen del Panecillo: Struggles Over Urban Space in Quito, Ecuador,” is an interdisciplinary analysis of the foundation of Quito as Ecuador’s capital city in the sixteenth century and its rapid growth in the mid-twentieth century through the lens of two related phenomena: the promotion of social and moral control and the accrual of monetary debt. Throughout, I focus on the area of El Panecillo, a hill once known as Shungoloma by the Incan empire, and later baptized as El Panecillo by the Spanish once incorporated in the Royal Audience of Quito in 1563.

Today, it holds a 41-meter tall aluminum statue of La Virgen de Legarda, constructed in 1976. I suggest that the ordering of the city limits, which were rapidly expanding by the mid-20th century, has always been shaped by political pressures to exert social control, manage ‘chaotic’ forms of expansion, and maintain moral respectability. I argue that urban growth and management has always aimed to control marginalized populations, especially poor communities, Indigenous populations, and women.

Furthermore, I consider the role contemporary cultural artists and activists have played in adapting the image of La Virgen del Panecillo in cultural production to address Ecuador’s lingering colonial past and the contemporary, hierarchical relationships between Ecuador and the United States. I specifically consider how feminist interpretations of La Virgen del Panecillo have been strategically used to challenge state laws around reproductive justice and other forms of racial and gender control.

Fletcher Jones Dissertation Fellowship, 2018-2019 academic year
MANA de San Diego Travel Grant, Summer 2018
Ethnic Studies Dissertation Research Fellowship, Summer 2018
Tinker Field Research Travel Grant, UCSD, Summer 2016
Friends of the International Center Scholarship, UCSD, Summer 2016
Tinker Field Research Travel Grant, UCSD, Summer 2015
Friends of the International Center Scholarship, UCSD, Summer 2015

Website: mariacelleri.wordpress.com

Esther Choi

Esther Choiechoi

Email: emchoi@ucsd.edu

Education: Columbia University, B.A. Economics

Research Interests: My research is on the rise of the experience economy and its relationship to race and neoliberal dispossession.

Burgundy Fletcher

Burgundy Fletcher

Email: bjfletch@ucsd.edu

Yessica Garcia

Yessica Garciayessicagarcia

Email: yeg003@ucsd.edu

Education: A.A. Long Beach City College, Liberal Arts B.A. UC Riverside, Chicano Studies M.A. CSU Los Angeles, Chicano Studies

Research Interest: Decolonizing Methodologies, Critical and Feminist Ethnographies, Gender and Sexuality, Immigrant Cultural Production, Digital Humanities, Performance Theory, Theories of Violence, and Transnational Culture.

Research: Through Mexican Regional Music, I study the experience of Latino immigrants in the United States. My past research has focused on corridos, narco-corridos, Banda music and nightclubs. I am currently working on a documentary about Banda music and Jenni Rivera fans in the United States.

Camila Gavin

Kimberly George

Kimberly George


Email: kbgeorge@ucsd.edu

Education: BA Westmont College; MA Yale University

Research Interest: psycho-social studies; women of color feminisms; embodied epistemologies and somatic literacies; relational psychoanalysis; critical pedagogy; critical reading practices; creative writing practices; and ethnographies of reading and writing

Research: My research investigates power and transformative pedagogy through bridging analysis of the social and historical with analysis of the psychic and affective. I am particularly interested in the imagination as a site of resistance, creativity, and healing vis-a-vis the structural violences in which we live. To that end, I am currently developing curriculum for teaching feminist ethnic studies traditions through creative writing and contemplative reading practices. As part of this work, I partner with psychodynamic therapists and psychoanalysts to consider how such learning practices need to be informed by knowledges of trauma, identity formations, and depth work

In addition to being a PhD student,  I am also a writing doula, a creative writer and essayist, and a feminist critical social theory consultant for teachers and psychodynamic clinicians. I am the editor, with David Leonard and Wade Davis, of Football, Culture and Power (2016).

Banah Ghadbian

Gregory Seiichi Pōmaikaʻi (Pōmaikaʻi) Gushiken

Gregory Seiichi Pōmaikaʻi (Pōmaikaʻi) Gushikengushiken.png

Email: ggushike@ucsd.edu

Education:  BA in English and Political Science, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 2018

Research Interests: critical Hawaiian studies; the Kanaka ʻŌiwi diaspora in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Southern California; Hawaiian Nationalist movements;  militarism and settler colonialism in the Pacific Islands; immigration and critical refugee studies

Oscar Gutierrez

Oscar Gutierrezoscar.jpg

Email: ogutierr@ucsd.edu

B.A. in Journalism and Race and Resistance Studies, San Francisco State University (2017)

Research Interests:
Environmental Justice, Latinx Studies, Critical Geography, Land and Memory, Working-class Epistemologies, Industrial Labor, Political Activism and Social Movements, (Southeast) Los Angeles, Gender and Migration, Queer Studies, Settler Colonialism, Community-based Participatory Research, and Grassroots Intergenerational Organizing.

LeKeisha Hughes

LeKeisha HughesLeKeisha Hughes

Email: lekeisha.hughes@gmail.com

Education: B.A., Gender & Women's Studies, University of Arizona (2010)

Research Interests: LeKeisha's research interests focus around theories of sexuality, queer studies, critical race theories, and notions of desire that are articulated in black feminist thought. For her graduate work, she is interested in tracing the ways that white racism is theorized in black feminist accounts of sexuality in order to unpack the psychic and discursive mechanisms that are said to bind black female sexualities to white racist stereotypes. In doing so, she hopes to build upon and critically approach black feminist theories of sexuality by setting up frameworks that take steps toward disidentifying black female sexuality from dominant white conceptions.

Lea Johnson

Lea JohnsonLea Johnson

Email: lmj002@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. Comparative Literature - University of California, Los Angeles (2011); M.A. Ethnic Studies - University of California, San Diego (2014)

Bio: Lea Johnson is a digital curator and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego. Her major fields of interest are African American literature and cultural history, the transnational South, black feminist theory, and speculative imaginaries. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Ceremony Press, an online publication for scholars of Black Studies to creatively recode their research across digital mediums.

Aundrey Jones

Aundrey JonesAJones

Email: amj005@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. in African-American Studies, University of California, Riverside

Research interests: African-American/Black Studies, Black Radicalism, Critical Race Theory, Ontology, Policing, Prison Abolition, Slavery, Genocide, Literature, Visual Culture, and Gender.

Leon Lee

Mellissa Linton-Villafranco

Mellissa Linton-Villafranco

Email: mlinton@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. University of Southern California, English Literature and American Studies & Ethnicity

Research Interests: Central American studies, critical gender studies, reproductive justice, race and medicine,

 Latin American feminism, the Salvadoran diaspora, technology and revolution.

Mellissa Linton Villafranco is a creative writer, computer coder, community activist and Ph.D. Candidate. 

Her academic interests pivot around Central American studies and the legacies of imperial violence and resistance in El Salvador. Her dissertation explores the relationship between prison systems in Central America and the criminalization of reproductive rights.

América Martínez

América MartínezAmerican Martinez

Email: amm001@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. University of California, Los Angeles, 2012

Research Interests: Social justice research; migration; healing processes; metaphysical resistance; memory; (re)imaginings; Testimonios; collaborative and transformative work grounded in social change and empowerment.

Rochelle McFee

Krys Méndez Ramírez

Krys Méndez RamírezCMendez

Email: c3mendez@ucsd.edu

Education: Brown University, 2010, B.A in Sociology and Philosophy

Research Interests: postcolonial theory, Marxist urbanism, critical geography, critical race theory, spatial studies, disability studies, medical sociology, borderland studies, political economy.

In my research, I hope to examine the intersections of race, space, health, and the political economy. Specifically, I’m interested in exploring questions of how the built neoliberalized urban environment impacts identity-formation and biopsychosocial health among residents of various racialized and criminalized communities, as well as investigate the potential for revolutionary healing through the formation of resistive identities and ‘counter-spaces.’ I aim to study migrant subjectivities in borderland cities across the Americas, drawing from multiple schools of thought in postcolonial theory, Marxist urbanism, and critical geography.

Jennifer Mogannam

Jennifer Mogannam

Email: jmmogann@ucsd.eduv

Jennifer Mogannam is a PhD candidate of Ethnic Studies. For her doctoral research she is working to build a historical tracing of power in the Arab world on regional and global levels, particularly through examining Cold War and Post-Cold War dynamics in Arab regional politics in relation to on-the-ground life and struggle, movement work, and cross-movement building with Third World Movements globally.

Dissertation Committee: Daphne Taylor-Garcia (Chair), Yen Le Espiritu, Dennis Childs, Kalindi Vora, Jodi Kim.


  • Advancement to Candidacy (ABD) in Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego, June 2015;
  • M.A. in Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego, June 2014;
  • M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, American University of Beirut, June 2012;
  • B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley, May 2008

M.A. Thesis: LNM–PLO Alliance: Unified Interests, Divided Power

B.A. Thesis: Ramallah and the Palestinian Authority: A Rising Elite and Its Societal Effects

Languages: English, Arabic

Areas of Interest: Decolonization; Cold War; Arab Social and Political Movements; (Arab) Regional and Global Configurations of Power; Settler–Colonialism; Indigeneity; Colonial, Neo-Colonial, Neo-Liberal and Imperialist Impacts in the Arab World; Global Capital; Palestinian Refugeehood and Critical Refugee Studies; Functions and Repressive Practices of the State/Various State Structures; Transnationalism; Security and Surveillance of Arab Populations


Mogannam, Jennifer, and Leslie Quintanilla. "Borders are Obsolete: Relations Beyond the ‘Borderlands’ of Palestine and US-Mexico." American Quarterly 67.4 (2015): 1039-1046.

Affiliations: Critical Immigration and Refugee Studies Research Group – UC San Diego.

Naaila Mohammed

Ly Thúy Nguyễn

Ly Thúy Nguyễn

Ly Nguyen

Email: t0nguyen@ucsd.edu

Education: International student from Vietnam, BA in Sociology, Hanoi National University of Social Sciences and Humanity, Viet Nam. MA in Sociology, San Diego State University, California. 

Research Interests: Critical Pedagogy, Critical Education, US empire, Postcolonial Theories, Third World Feminism, Postmodernism, Globalization and Neoliberalism, Queer Studies, Media, Pop Culture and Fandom.

Bio: I am invested in studying education, both pedagogically and theoretically. I conceptualize education not only as a subject or an institution, but as a site of critique through which to understand the deployment of power. I am interested in developing a theoretical framework that links power/knowledge formation to colonial, imperialist and nationalist projects, and education to alternative ways of being and social justice.

I am also interested in media and pop culture in relation to the production of sexual fluidity, comparing what I believe to be deeply racist and transmisogynist narrative within certain U.S-drag practices with the homoerotic gendered presentation of mainstream Korean pop male stars and Yaoi genre of Japanese Manga.

Omar Padilla

Omar PadillaOmar Padilla

Email: opadilla@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. Latin American – Latino Studies/Politics, UC Santa Cruz (2007), M.A. Mexican American Studies, CSU Los Angeles (2013) 

Research Interests:  Race, Immigration, Visual Culture, Chicano Studies, Transnationalism, U.S. – Mexico Transnational Networks, Undocumented Student Movements, Diaspora Studies

Faculty Mentor: Curtis Marez

India Pierce

pierceIndia Pierce

Email: ipierce@ucsd.edu

Education - Ohio University, B.A. Women and Gender Studies; The Ohio State University, M.A. African and African American Studies  

Areas of Interests - Visual Ethnography, Performance Studies, Feminist Pedagogy, Gender and Sexuality, Religion, Black Radicalism, Embodiment epistemology,  Speculative Imaginaries and Methodologies, Social Movements, Popular Culture, and Queer theory. 

Research - My work investigates the expansive spiritual freedom that is opened up when thinking about the past/present/future of queer divine embodiment. Central to that exploration is my question of how queer women of color activists queer notions of salvation in order to create alternative pathways to the divine.  Ultimately,  illuminating how those practices can be read as not only acts of self-love that demand a different type of engagement with the world around them, but also as a practice of freedom that impacts their work as organizers and activists.

Leslie Quintanilla

Leslie Quintanilla

Leslie Quintanilla

Email: ljquinta@ucsd.edu

Education: My family. Cross-Cultural Center UCSD.  B.A. International Studies & Ethnic Studies UCSD 2011

Advisor: Kirstie Dorr

Research Interests: Critical pedagogy, schooling, transnationalism, European of color youth organizing, music & poetry, anti/de-colonialisms, indigenous epistemologies, climate change, critical geographies, movement organizing and love

Olivia Quintanilla

Olivia QuintanillaOlivia Quintanilla

Email: oquintan@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A., Urban Studies, San Diego State University (2013)

Faculty mentor: Kirstie Dorr

Research Interests: Chamorro diaspora and decolonization, immigration and critical refugee studies, urban communities, organizing practices, undocumented youth, cannabis consumption and motherhood practices.

Daniel Rios

B. Pricila Rodriguez

B. Pricila RodriguezB. Pricila Rodriguez

Email: brr022@ucsd.edu                                                                 

Education: B.A. in Gender and Women Studies and B.A. in Anthropology at the University of Arizona

Research Interests: Race, space, and punishment; connections between the spaces of prisons, immigrant detention centers, reservations, ghettos, and borders

Boke Saisi

Boke SaisiBSaisi

Email: bsaisi@ucsd.edu

Education: Bachelor of Journalism, Ryerson University (2012), MA Communication and Culture, York University (2014)

Research Interests: Settler colonialism, Black feminist thought, Indigenous feminisms, carceral studies, decolonial studies, post-colonial studies, critical gender studies, transnational feminisms, social justice research, political economy, Marxism, media representation

Research: Utilizing theories of settler colonialism, I aim to investigate the racialized nature of imprisonment of Black and Indigenous women in Canada and the US examining the ways in which the Prison Industrial Complex affects and is propelled by the presence of racialized women in those spaces. Moreover, I am interested in women-led activist organizations engaged in prison abolition work and modes of resistance to carceral regimes.

Amrah Salomon J.

Amrah Salomon J.A. Salomon

Email: ansalomo@ucsd.edu

Website: http://amrahsalomon.wordpress.com/

Education: B.A. in English (Creative Writing) and Political Science, San Francisco State University (2007); graduate coursework in Comparative Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University (2007-2009); M.A. in Ethnic Studies, University of California- San Diego (2013), ABD Ethnic Studies, University of California- San Diego (2015).

Dissertation Chair: Dr. K. Wayne Yang

Research Interests:
Indigenous Studies; Autonomy and Decolonization; Chicana/Latina Feminisms and Native Feminisms; Movement, Migration and Belonging; Non-Western and Indigenous Political Thought; Social Justice Organizing Practices; Social Pedagogy and Popular Culture; Radical Learning; Art and Media in Social Movements; Land and Environment

I provide facilitation, workshops, popular education curriculum, research, and strategic consultation for community organizations and activists in the U.S. and abroad. I am also the current director of the UCSD Community and Labor Project: labor.ucsd.edu

Additional Research Topics Include:
Catholic Mission System and Catholic Indian Schools
The Colonial Regulation of Indigeneity and Mixed-Race Identity in the U.S. and Mexico
Transformative Justice and Community Accountability
U.S.-Mexico Border and Indigenous Nations
Theorizations of Brownness and Settler Colonialism

Proposed Dissertation Title: Beyond Nation:  Politics of abolition, decolonization, and fugitivity in the transnational Mexican revolution

Proposed Dissertation Abstract:
At a time when some trajectories in Ethnic Studies discourse are arguing against the possibility of conjoined struggles across politics of abolition, Indigenous sovereignty, and fugitive migrations this dissertation seeks to examine a historical moment when activists worked to unite these very concerns. The 1910 Mexican revolution was a moment when common people and revolutionaries created anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist political projects that exceeded the nation-state. Rather than assuming that these projects led towards a common decolonial movement or a romanticized notion of unity, I examine what the differences and possible points of strategic alliance were between these projects that could provide us with a new lens through which to understand the historical tensions that have arisen between Indigenous, Black, and migrant communities. This project also considers what political possibilities emerge from this historical context that could bridge the politics of abolition and decolonization through an examination of political documents, movement journalism, popular culture texts such as teatro and poetry, and archival records of people of color and Indigenous resistance during the time period of 1900 to 1930 in both English and Spanish in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.
I argue that political and cultural texts and archival records reveal that solidarity efforts lead by white allies to the Mexican revolution marginalized the impact of Indigenous and radical Black thought to the revolution. However, when people of color and Indigenous concerns are centered it can be seen that the Partido Liberal Mexciano, the Zapatistas/agrarian movement, and other revolutionary movements began to articulate slavery, white supremacy, and settler colonialism as co-constituted processes of subjection that specifically impacted racialized peoples of the Americas. In the Mexican revolution anti-slavery, anti-genocide, anti-Eurocentricity, and anti-racist discourses were utilized as major justifications for the abolishment of the colonial nation-state and the capitalist system. Additionally, the enslavement and state-sponsored genocide of Indigenous peoples in both the U.S. and Mexico created a discursive context where it became impossible for Mexican activists to de-articulate slavery from white supremacist settler colonialism and Indigenous genocide. The U.S. racial context challenged Mexican activists in exile to rethink the Spanish racial caste system, often through attempts to reclaim Indigeneity or to develop a “brown” politic of resistance to racism in relation to radical Blackness in contrast to the rise of Indigenismo and assimilationist articulations of mestizaje. I conclude with the question of futurity in the Mexican revolutionary project as a possibility beyond settler utopias of assimilation, citizenship, heteropatriarchy. This can be best seen through the current day Mayan Zapatista movement’s return to the politics of a decolonial revolution beyond the nation-state in Mexico where politics of Indigenous decolonization, radical abolition, and transformative justice have been reframed as the legacy of the 1910 revolution.

Courses Taught:
Introduction to Native American Studies.
Race and Social Movements..
The Science and Critical Analysis of Environmental Justice. (co-instructor)
Comparative Border Studies: Palestine and Mexico. (co-instructor)


“Chapter 15: Offering our stories: resistance narratives and the marketing of justice.” Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change. Ed. Andrew Jolivette. Bristol, UK: Policy Press. 2015.

When Social Media Becomes Social Justice: Denuncias Inside/Outside of Chicano/a Studies. Amrah Salomón J. Chicana/Latina Studies. Spring 2014.

Book Review. Who Speaks for Hispanics? Hispanic Interest Groups in Washington by Deirdre Martinez. Black Politics in a Time of Transition. National Political Science Review, Vol. 13, 2011. Ed. Michael Mitchell and David Coven. p. 149-152.

Noelle Sepina

Hina Shaikh

Kai Small

Katherine Steelman

Katherine Steelman

Email: ksteelma@ucsd.eduGraduate Student

Education: B.A. English, University of California, Riverside; M.A. English, Cal State Long Beach

Research Interests: 

Her current project examines the effects of US cultural production on the development of queer space in Tijuana, MX, as well as the Tijuanense response to the US's narrative of the city and it's queer communities.This work juxtaposes critical analyses of cultural texts with ethnographic interviews.

Cynthia Vazquez

Cynthia VazquezCVasquez

Email: c5vazque@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. Political Science, University of Nevada Las Vegas (2008); M.A. Latin American Studies (History), UC San Diego (2014).

Research Interests: traditional/sacred knowledge, critical pedagogy, Indigenous education, transnational/borderlands, Latin American history/literature, indigenismo, Marxism, decolonial studies.

Jael Vizcarra

Jael Vizcarra

Jael Vizcarra

Email: jvizcarr@ucsd.edu

Research: Jael Vizcarra is a Ph.D. Candidate in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. Her dissertation is entitled, "En Búsqueda de Posada: Military Rule and the Laotian Resettlement Program in Misiones, Argentina." Jael’s dissertation historicizes the 1979 Southeast Asian refugee resettlement program in Argentina and analyzes the incorporation of Laotian refugees into the Argentine labor force during and after the Argentine military dictatorship. Her research highlights the political origins of displacement and humanitarianism in South America and their relation to U.S. imperialist projects. Jael analyzes the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees in various Argentine provinces to understand how refugees contest their ascribed role as objects of compassion and intervention.

Jael's scholarship is informed by comparative racial formation theories, Asian-American Studies, and Critical Refugee and Immigration Studies. Her research gestures towards a transnational reading of the US-centric and universalizing category of "Asian-American" by elucidating the geopolitical implications of South American racial formations that produce Asians beyond US-based racial logics and categories.  

Her work has appeared in Amerasia and the popular historiography blog Tropics of Meta.

Melanie West

R. Zach Williams

Zach Williams

R. Zach Williams

Email: rzwillia@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. Comparative Ethnic Studies - Washington State University (2011); M.A. Ethnic Studies - University of California, San Diego (2013)


RXA Williams is a MC/thinker/geographer from the Central District, Seattle WA. His research interests cohere around intersections of G/geography, blackness, gender, and sound studies focusing specifically on productions of modernity in relation to the period between Post-Reconstruction and the Great Migration in the United States. Since 2006 he has released several mixtapes under the name Xyz(X), including the forthcoming Reel/Deal/HOLYfield (2014).

“As a scholar it was never my purpose to exhaust the subject, only to suggest that it was there.” – Cedric Robinson

Syed Muhammad Abbas (Muhammad) Yousuf

Email: syousuf@ucsd.edu

Education: B.A. in Philosophy, Political Science, Gender and Women Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2017

Research interests: historical and narrative depictions of martyrdom; ideas of the self, the soul, and liberation in critical theory and decolonial thought; gender and resistance; critical Muslim studies

Learn more about the Ethnic Studies Ph.D. Alumni