About Contributors

Contributors to this blog:

Sarah Atwood (HWW 2015 Fellow) is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. Sarah’s research explores how secondhand clothing has been circulated and consumed during the late 19th through 21st century. She is especially interested in the diverse ways that used clothes have been used to perform identity (class, race, gender, and sexuality).  More broadly her research interests include consumerism, popular culture, dress history, women’s history, material culture, and public history.  Sarah is currently working with the Minnesota Historical Society’s recently created Department of Inclusion and Community Engagement.  In her spare time she enjoys gardening, cooking, and being outdoors.

Monica Bykowski (HWW 2015 Fellow) is a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Notre Dame, in the Department of History. Her research focuses on the growth of the state and development of social structures in Imperial Russia, particularly concentrating on the Russian peasantry during the 19th C. When Monica is not working on her dissertation, she enjoys reading Golden Age Russian literature, as well as contemporary sci-fi and fantasy, partaking in her own adventures around the world (albeit without elves, magicians,  or other otherworldly beings), volunteering at the local history museum, and walking her dog along forest and river trails.

Noaquia Callahan (HWW 2015 Fellow) is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Iowa. She studied sociology and German at California State University of Long Beach and the University of Munich. Her research interests include African American and modern European history, women’s history, transnational feminist organizing, and race and empire. When Noaquia is not working on her dissertation, she can be found in one of Iowa City’s second-hand stores looking for rare jazz vinyl records, at a coffee shop, watching NBA games, and boxing at Title Boxing Club.

Liz Crisenbery (HWW 2019 Fellow) is a PhD Candidate in Musicology at Duke University. Liz studies early twentieth-century Italian opera, exploring the intersection of gender, politics, and music. Her dissertation examines masculine identities of fascist composers and reception of their operas during the height of Italian fascism. Other research interests include digital humanities, opera and media, and riot grrrl. In her free time, Liz enjoys spending time with her family, taking hikes with her dog, playing music with her band, and volunteering with Girls Rock NC.

Erica Damman (HWW 2015 Fellow) received her B.F.A in Sculpture from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, and earned her M.F.A in Sculpture from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is currently pursuing an Interdisciplinary Ph.D in Environmental Humanities. As an artist and researcher her work explores creativity as a way of engaging environmental questions. Of particular interest is the way in which an interdisciplinary approach, blending sciences, history, narratives, and aesthetics, can be used to reach and affect a diverse public. Her favorite projects are artworks that remain attentive to nonhuman actors, as well as works that cartwheel with scientific knowledge in unusual and visually compelling ways.

Robin Garabedian (HWW 2019 Fellow) is a PhD Candidate at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst specializing composition & rhetoric in the English Department. She is interested in literacy studies and writing centers in the age of neoliberalism, particularly in regards to identity politics.

Maria Giulia Genghini (HWW 2015 Fellow) is Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Notre Dame. During her BA in Classics at the University of Bologna (Italy), she spent a year studying at University College London (UK) where she also gained her MA degree in Ancient History. She also completed a second MA Degree in Classics back in Bologna. In August 2011, she started the Ph.D. program in Literature at the University of Notre Dame, and she is now a Candidate expecting to graduate in August 2016. Her current research interest focuses on Jesuit biblical and patristic literature in Quito (Ecuador) during colonial times. The cosmopolitan nature of her research led her to travel to Latin America (Quito and Bogotá) as much as to Europe (Rome, London, Paris). She particularly enjoys this aspect of her work since it gives her the chance to explore different countries and meet new people. She is Italian and love cooking and eating meals with others and this quite helps in making friends! She loves her family, her friends, and Rimini – her home town on the Adriatic coast of Italy. She loves playing soccer and dance Latin Salsa.

Michael Hicks (HWW 2019 Fellow) is a PhD candidate in History and African American Studies at Penn State University. His research looks at the intersection of Chinese foreign policy in Africa and propaganda outreach to African Americans during the Cold War. Before coming to Penn State, Michael lived in southern China for three years as a high-school English teacher and student of Chinese language. Michael loves to travel and has traveled to nine countries on three continents (with plans to visit more). When not working on his dissertation, Michael enjoys cooking, learning new languages, and generally being outdoors.

Kei Hotoda (HWW 2015 Fellow) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Her research focuses on self-understanding, particularly by examining its absence and redevelopment in the context of oppressive and traumatic circumstances.  To develop her view of self-understanding, she draws on moral, social and political philosophy, philosophy of the self, fiction, and the psychological effects of sexual assault.  During her graduate career, Kei has also developed a strong interest and enjoyment in teaching philosophy to undergraduate students and is often thinking about how to better engage students in class.  In her spare time, she enjoys baseball, reads Japanese modern history and fiction set in Japan, watches detective shows as well as Japanese television shows to help keep up with her Japanese language skills, and loves hanging out with her dog, Mitsu.

Jamil Jorge (HWW 2018 Fellow) is a PhD student in musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research explores the plurality of American identity and citizenship by analyzing how an individual’s intersecting identities are negotiated through participation in drum and bugle performances. Jamil earned an M.M. from UIUC with a master’s thesis that explored race, place, and community in Black drum and bugle corps, and graduated with a B.A. in music from Connecticut College where he earned a Mellon Mays Fellowship. Feeling the need to apply his research to community building and public services, Jamil started and is president of Performing Arts Initiative for Students of Color (https://www.paisoc.org), a non-profit organization that grants scholarships to future leaders of color in order to promote diversity in the performing arts. While not studying for preliminary exams, Jamil can be found teaching himself to bake, pretending that he exercises more than he does, cuddling the dog, and imagining all the bands he wished he played in.

Gabriele Lazzari (HWW 2019 Fellow) is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. His research focuses on the contemporary novel (in English, Italian, and Spanish) and on theories of world literature. He is particularly interested in the ways in which recent works of fiction address questions of space, cultural attachments, and political histories. Before joining Rutgers, he received his BA and MA from the University of Padova, Italy, where he travels back as often as possible to visit his family and friends. In 2019, he will be a Rutgers Public Fellow and collaborate on various projects at the Newark Public Library. When he is not writing his dissertation, he enjoys playing soccer and volunteering for associations in New York City that provide social services to the local immigrant community.

Winifred Maloney (HWW 2017 Fellow) is a PhD student in History at the University of Connecticut. Before UConn, Winifred studied history at Sacred Heart University. Winifred’s research focuses on nineteenth-century American childhood, particularly children orphaned during the Civil War and children of politicians and generals. She is primarily interested in the American North. When she is not researching, Winifred is preparing for her exams. In her free time, Winifred enjoys bookbinding, reading historical fiction, swimming, and spending time with her dog. She has a particular passion for baking and loves collecting recipes.

Jeffrey Pannekoek (HWW 2019 Fellow) is a PhD Candidate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His primary interests are applied ethics, in particular clinical bioethics and animal ethics, as well as embodied agency, practical reason, free will, and moral responsibility. Some of his current research focuses on medical decision-making for incapacitated patients. He is a member of the University of Tennessee Medical Center ethics committee. Jeffrey has spent a lot of time in the deserts of the south-western U.S., and was born and raised in the Hague, the Netherlands.

Julian Serna (HWW 2019 Fellow) is a Ph.D. Candidate in History of Art and Architecture at Boston University. His research focus on Latin American Art with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. He is currently working on the relation between the private Arts Academies of Paris and the emergence of the official Art Academies Latin American between 1870 and 1900. Before joining BU, he was working as a curator in several research and curatorial projects as freelance and also as an institutional curator in his home country, Colombia. He holds a B.A. with double major in Visual Arts and Art History (Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá) and, thanks to a Fulbright scholarship, in 2012 he finished his M.A. degree in Visual Culture (Illinois State University). Among his activities as a curator are noteworthy projects such as the permanent exhibitions galleries of the National Museum of Colombia La Tierra como Recurso and Modernidades (Bogotá, 2016 and 2010) and the permanent exhibition of the Tertulia Museum (Cali, 2012-2017). In 2009 won the Colombian National Arts Criticism Award (Ministry of Culture and Los Andes University) with an essay about the piece La Performola of the artist Carlos Monrroy and in 2012, with a grant from the Colombian Ministry of Culture, published a monographic book about the Colombian artists Juan Mejía (“No me hagas preguntas y no te dire mentiras, Juan Mejía 1995-2010”).

Robert Smith III (HWW 2015 Fellow) is a doctoral student in the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University. Outside of the classroom, he sits on the Board of Directors of PFund Foundation, an LGBT community foundation based in Minneapolis, and has worked at the Walker Art Center and the Minnesota Historical Society. Before beginning graduate school, Robert worked in the development department at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission in New York City and was a volunteer at the Audre Lorde Project, the Ali Forney Center, and Queers for Economic Justice. His personal interests include weightlifting, the Wobble, and West African dance.

Kantara Souffrant (HWW 2015 Fellow) is a Haitian-American artist-scholar, community worker, and PhD Candidate in Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her works examines the effects of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti on feminist and queer art practices in the Haitian Diaspora. Her research interests include ritual and performance, postcolonial theory, black feminist theory, and diaspora studies. As an installation artist/performer she is informed by Yoruba and KiKongo aesthetics where performance, art creation, and communal transformation are inseparable. Kantara sees teaching both formally and informally as central to her community-based work. She has taught at formal and informal institutions throughout Chicagoland such as Northwestern University, Evanston public schools, the Haitian Congress of Evanston, and collaborated with the Engelwood-based restorative justice organization Life Builders United, Inc. and has been a teaching artist with Columbia College’s Project AIM since 2014. She has presented her scholarly-artistic at numerous venues including: The Whitney Biennale under the Dance Diaspora Collective, the American Studies Association (ASA), The Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), The Caribbean Cultural Center and African Diasporic Institute (CCCADI), New York University, Judson Church, praxis place (Chicago), Northwestern University, Fisher Gallery (Oberlin, OH), The University of York (UK), and the 3rd Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince.  Lastly, Kantara is a volunteer-doula and is currently working to incorporate birth justice in her work both in the U.S., Haiti, and the Haitian diaspora.

Derek Faux set up initial blog when he was an MLIS Student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys learning about data curation and the history of the book. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering with Books to Prisoners and cycling. You can contact him at derekfaux (at) gmail.com More about GSLIS can be found here: http://www.lis.illinois.edu/

Andreea S. Micu is an Adjunct Instructor in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, a performance practitioner and teacher, and the On-Site Coordinator of the 2019 Humanities Without Walls Summer Workshop. Her research examines the intersection of aesthetics, migration, and contemporary anti-austerity activism in the south of Europe in the aftermath of the 2008 European economic crisis. Her book manuscript, tentatively called The Performative Commons: Squatting and Aesthetics in the Austere City, looks at how urban working classes use performance and aesthetic production to imagine alternatives to neoliberalism and (re)build the urban commons in Madrid, Rome, and Athens, where she has conducted extensive ethnographic research. Andreea’s work has been published in venues such as Performance PhilosophypARTicipatory Urbanisms, and the upcoming Art & Housing Struggles anthology by Intellect. Andreea’s teaching interests include performance ethnography, arts activism, Marxist feminism, and critical urban studies. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and starting in the fall of 2019, she will be a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University.

Jason Mierek (“jack of all trades, master of Buddhist studies”) is Director of Operations for the Humanities Without Walls Consortium. He received his B.A. with a dual degree in religion and bio-social studies (a major he designed, combining biology, sociology, and anthropology) from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, IL, and earned his M.A. in Buddhist studies from The Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO. He subsequently completed coursework toward a PhD in Humanities, with an emphasis on Asian and comparative religion and philosophy, at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA under Dr. Steven D. Goodman. When he is not coordinating the myriad activities of the HWW consortium, he may be found reading omnivorously, puttering about in his gardens, fermenting various elixers and comestibles, composing surreal collages, singing with his band, and relaxing at home with his family. He loves new challenges.

This blog is maintained by Humanities Without Walls staff. Contacts can be found following this link: http://www.humanitieswithoutwalls.illinois.edu/contact.html

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