New Faculty at the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Twenty-five scholars join the CHASS faculty this year

Maile Arvin

Maile Arvin

Maile Arvin

Maile Arvin, assistant professor of ethnic studies (beginning July 2015), earned her Ph.D. in ethnic studies at UC San Diego. Her fields of research and teaching include indigenous studies, Native feminisms, Pacific Islander and oceanic studies, critical ethnic studies, and science studies. She is working on her first book project, “Regenerating Polynesia: Settler Colonialism and the Possessive Science of Racial Mixture.”

Megan Asaka

Megan Asaka

Megan Asaka

Megan Asaka, acting assistant professor of history, who expects to complete her Ph.D. in American studies at Yale University in December. She previously worked as a researcher and oral historian for Densho,a Seattle-based digital archive offering primary source materials related to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans. She focuses on Asian American history, urban history and the built environment, histori- cal memory, and public humanities.

Crystal Baik

Crystal Baik

Crystal Baik

Crystal Baik, acting assistant professor of ethnic studies, expects to complete her Ph.D. from University of Southern California in American studies and ethnicity with a certificate in gender studies this year. She focuses on Korean/American studies, feminist theory, visual culture studies, critical memory studies, and decolonization theory.

 

Miguel Carreras

Miguel Carreras

Miguel Carreras

Miguel Carreras, acting assistant professor of political science, who expects to complete his Ph.D. at University of Pittsburgh in November. His research interests include Latin American politics, comparative political behavior, the study of parties and party systems, and the link between criminal violence and the quality of democracy.

 

Joseph R. Cummins

Joseph Cummins

Joseph Cummins

Joseph R. Cummins, acting assistant professor of economics, who will complete his Ph.D. in economics from UC Davis this year. His research focuses on understanding the determinants and long-term effects of child health in developing countries, and on related problems in econometric methodology. He is engaged in a long-term, inter-disciplinary study of the effectiveness of providing lipid-based nutritional supplements to pregnant women and children in rural Bangladesh to promote physical and cognitive growth.

Josh Emmons

Josh Emmons

Josh Emmons

Josh Emmons, assistant professor of creative writing, who earned his M.F.A. in creative writing from Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has published two novels with Scribner, “The Loss of Leon Meed” and “Prescription for a Superior Existence,” and short stories, essays and book reviews in various publications.

 

Steve Erickson

Steve Erickson

Steve Erickson

Steve Erickson, assistant professor of creative writing, who earned his M.A. from UCLA. He is the author of nine novels — including “These Dreams of You,” “Zeroville” and “Days Between Stations” — that explore themes concerning reality, identity, history, desire and redemption, and is finishing his 10th. He also has written two nonfiction books on American politics and popular culture. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Katie Ford

Katie Ford

Katie Ford

Katie Ford, associate professor of creative writing, who earned her M.F.A. from Iowa Writers’ Work- shop and M.Div. from Harvard University. She is the author of “Deposition,” “Colosseum,” and the forthcoming “Blood Lyrics” (Graywolf Press, 2014), which is a meditation on survival, violence, and war. Ford is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. “Colosseum” was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

John Franchak

John Franchak

John Franchak

John Franchak, assistant professor of psychology, who received his doctorate in experimental psychology from New York University. His research explores the development of perceptual and motor skills, focusing on how children gather and use perceptual information to guide motor actions and engage in social interactions. A novel head-mounted eye-tracking methodology allows him to measure eye gaze in infants, children, and adults to investigate the real-time acquisition of visual information during spontaneous, self-generated behavior.

Adam Harmer

Adam Harmer

Adam Harmer

Adam Harmer, assistant professor of philosophy, who earned his Ph.D. at University of Toronto. He works primarily on early modern philosophy, with associated interests in metaphysics, logic, and philosophy of mathematics. His current research investigates theories of matter in the 17th century, particularly the views of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and the connections between the nature of matter and the nature of human beings, including questions of personal identity and the relation between the mind (or soul) and the body.

Imani Kai Johnson

Imani Kai Johnson

Imani Kai Johnson

Imani Kai Johnson, assistant professor of dance, who received her Ph.D.in American studies and ethnicity from University of Southern California. She is an interdisciplinary scholar, specializing in the African diaspora, global popular culture, and hip hop. Her work explores African diasporic ritual cultures, popular cultures, representations of race, and negotiations of racial, gender, and national difference.

Matthew King

Matthew King

Matthew King

Matthew King, assistant professor of religious studies, who received his doctorate in Buddhist studies at University of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada. He is particularly interested in the social history of monastic responses to the new authority of science and secular political authority in the post-imperium. He currently focuses his research on Tibetan and Mongolian language archives from networks of Géluk-sect monasteries that extended from St. Petersburg to Mongolia, North China, and the Himalaya.

Aleca Le Blanc

Aleca Le Blanc

Aleca Le Blanc

Aleca Le Blanc, assistant professor of art history, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Le Blanc specializes in Brazilian art and architecture of the 20th century. Among her research interests are Latin American art and visual culture, global modernisms, the construction of nationalism and internationalism, and institutional histories.

Andreja Novakovic

Andreja Novakovic

Andreja Novakovic

Andreja Novakovic, assistant professor of philosophy, who earned her Ph.D. at Columbia University. While she is interested in the history of 19th and 20th century European philosophy, her research is focused on the work of G. W. F. Hegel. She is writing a book about habit and reflection in Hegel’s account of rational social life.

 

Bella Merlin

Bella Merlin

Bella Merlin

Bella Merlin, professor of theater, film and digital production, who received her Ph.D. in drama and theater arts from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom. She is an actor and a practice-based re- searcher into acting processes. Her performances include seasons at the Royal National Theatre, with Max Stafford-Clark’s Out of Joint, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, various roles for BBC TV and Radio, and her one-woman play, “Tilly No-Body: Catastrophes of Love.” She has written several books and is working on “Facing the Fear: An Actor’s Guide to Overcoming Stage Fright” (Nick Hern Books).

Sharon S. Oselin

Sharon Oselin

Sharon Oselin

Sharon S. Oselin, assistant professor of sociology, who received her Ph.D. in sociology from UC Irvine. Her research interests include gender, deviance and crime, and social movements. She is the author of “Leaving Prostitution: Getting Out and Staying Out of Sex Work” (New York University Press, 2014). Current projects examine comparative resistance strategies among male and female sex workers against violence, as well as labor market comparisons of indoor and outdoor sex workers.

Taisha Paggett

Taisha Paggett

Taisha Paggett

Taisha Paggett, assistant professor of dance, who earned her M.F.A. at UCLA. Her work has been presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Danspace at St Mark’s Church (New York), Defibrillator (Chicago), Public Fiction and LACE (Los Angeles), The Off Center (San Francisco), and Basis Voor Actuele Kunst (Utrecht, Netherlands). In 2005, she co-founded itch, an independently run journal/zine whose content was centered in and generated by the noncommercial dance population of Los Angeles and beyond.

Jose L. Reynoso

Jose Reynoso

Jose Reynoso

Jose L. Reynoso, assistant professor of critical dance studies, who received his Ph.D. in culture and performance with a specialization in dance studies at UCLA. He was the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Dance Studies at Northwestern University in 2012-2014. His interests focus on the roles that corporeality in general and dance in particular play in the production of knowledge and subjectivity.

Judith Rodenbeck

Judith Rodenbeck

Judith Rodenbeck

Judith Rodenbeck, assistant professor of media and cultural studies, who received her Ph.D. in the history of art from Columbia University. Her teaching and research interests encompass critical theory, performance studies, and the politics of aesthetics, especially as these engage with Modernism and its avant-gardes and with contemporary artistic practice. Her first book, “Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings” (2011), explored the emergence of performance and intermedia in the American fine arts of the 1950s.

Ana Sabau Fernandez

Ana-Sabau-Fernandez

Ana-Sabau-Fernandez

Ana Sabau Fernandez, acting assistant professor of Hispanic studies, who will complete her Ph.D. at Princeton University this year. She is working on a book, “Revolutions and Revelations: An Archaeology of Political Imagination in 19th Century Mexico.” Her interests include Latin American literature and culture, visual culture (emphasis on cartography), religion and politics, and indigenous and subaltern studies.

Jade Sasser

Jade Sasser

Jade Sasser

Jade Sasser, assistant professor of gender and sexuality studies, who received her Ph.D. in environmental science, policy and management from UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on global environmental change, women’s health, and international development, and has been supported by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation. She is working on her first book, “Making Sexual Stewards: Population, Climate Activism, and Social Justice in the New Millennium.”

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley

Jane Smiley, distinguished professor of creative writing, who earned her Ph.D. in English at University of Iowa. Her novel “A Thousand Acres” won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. “The All True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton” received the 1999 Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. Her new novel, published in October, is “Some Luck.”

Stephen Hong Sohn

Stephen Hong Sohn

Stephen Hong Sohn

Stephen Hong Sohn, assistant professor of English, who earned his Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara. A for- mer University of California President’s Postdoctoral fellow (2006-2007), his first book, “Racial Asymmetries” (New York University Press, 2014), focuses on contemporary Asian American fictional production, social con- text methodology, and aesthetic practices.

Emma Stapely

Emma Stapely

Emma Stapely

Emma Stapely, acting assistant professor of English, who expects to complete her Ph.D. at University of Pennsylvania this year. She specializes in American literatures before 1900 and the 18th century Anglophone Atlantic. Her book project, “Insurgent Remains: Afterlives of the American Revolution, 1770-1820,” examines literary accounts of the American Revolution that reflect on the war in its official aftermath not as the triumphant beginning of U.S. national history but rather as an ongoing, irremediable scene of loss.

Allison Benis White

Allison Benis White

Allison Benis White

Allison Benis White, assistant professor of creative writing, who earned her M.F.A. in poetry at UC Irvine. She is the author of “Small Porcelain Head,” selected for the Levis Prize in Poetry and named a Library Journal Best Book of 2013, and “Self-Portrait with Crayon,” winner of the 2008 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. She is interested in the relationship between hybrid forms, the lyric, and the epistle, and brings to the classroom expertise in the book-length series and the prose poem.

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