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Global Urban Studies | Faculty

Core Faculty

Zahra Ali

Assistant Professor

Biography: Zahra Ali is a sociologist. Her research explores dynamics of women and gender, social and political movements in relation to Islam(s), the Middle East and contexts of war and conflict with a focus on contemporary Iraq. She is interested in capitalism, (post)coloniality, decolonial feminisms and epistemologies. Zahra Ali is the author of Women and Gender in Iraq, published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. She has conducted in depth ethnographic research among women, civil society and youth organizations in Iraq. She is also interested in Islam(s) in diasporic contexts and its transnational dynamics and has conducted ethnographic fieldwork among diasporic Muslim communities in France and in the UK.

Department Affiliations: Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Graduate Program in Peace & Conflict Studies, Women's & Gender Studies Program


Nermin Allam

Assistant Professor

Biography: Nermin Allam is Assistant Professor of Politics at Rutgers University-Newark. Prior to joining Rutgers, she was a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellow and visiting scholar at Princeton University. Her research interests include: Social movements theories; gender politics; Middle Eastern and North African studies; and political Islam. In addition to numerous chapters and entries, Allam’s work appeared in Social Research: An International Quarterly journal, Middle East Law and Governance, and Sociology of Islam journal.  Her current book, “Women and the Egyptian Revolution: Engagement and Activism during the 2011 Arab Uprisings,” published by Cambridge University Press, offers an oral history of women’s engagement in Egypt’s modern contentious politics. 

Department Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Women's & Gender Studies Program



Jason Barr

Professor of Economics

Biography: Dr. Barr is a Professor at Rutgers University, Newark in the Department of Economics, and an affiliated faculty member with the  Global Urban Systems Ph.D. program. His research interests include urban economics, and agent-based computational economics. Dr. Barr serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, the Eastern Economic Journal and the Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination. He is the author of Building the Skyline: The Birth and Growth of Manhattan’s Skyscrapers (Oxford U. Press, 2016). He writes the Skynomics Blog, a blog about skyscrapers, cities, and economics.

Department Affiliations: Department of Economics



Ira Cohen

Associate Professor of Sociology

Biography: Professor Cohen  has authored two books and numerous articles. He has lectured on a variety of topics in social theory  at both European and American universities. His research interests include theories of modernity, the analysis of everyday life, the history of social thought and the sociology of American Society. Professor Cohen recurrently has taught a course in the foundations of social theory for the Global Urban Studies Program.

Department Affiliations: Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Graduate Program in Peace & Conflict Studies, New Brunswick Graduate Program in Anthropology





Steven J. Diner

University Professor

Biography: Steven J. Diner is University Professor of History and Public Policy at Rutgers University-Newark. He received a PhD in History from the University of Chicago in 1972. He served as Dean of Arts and Sciences from 1998 to 2002 and Chancellor from 2002 to 2011. He taught previously at the University of the District of Columbia and George Mason University. His scholarship is focused on urban history and the history of higher education in America.

Department Affiliations:  Federated Department of History





Janice Gallagher

Assistant Professor

Biography: I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University-Newark. In my book manuscript, "Bootstrap Justice: The Search for Mexico's Disappeared" I argue that the sustained mobilization of the families of the disappeared have been the key catalysts for legislative and judicial advances, and under certain political configurations have  poked holes in the near blanket impunity for serious crimes in Mexico. I center the roles and voices of the people affected by human rights violations, and seek to understand how, why and to what effect they mobilize. Prior to joining Rutgers, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Cornell University in 2015, and earned an MA in Teaching from Brown University, and a BA in Political Science and Economics from Swarthmore College. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in Mexico and Colombia, and previously worked as a human rights accompanier in Colombia. My research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Inter-American Foundation, the Fulbright Garcia-Robles program, and the Social Science Research Council. 

Department Affiliations: Department of Political Science





Eva Giloi

Associate Professor

Biography: Eva Giloi is an historian of modern German history and European cultural history. She has worked on topics ranging from material culture, visual culture, and museums; fame, celebrity, and charisma; socialization and childhood; the history of emotions; copyright and photographs. More recently, she has been applying concepts in urban geography to early twentieth century Europe and post-war Newark. In this ‘spatial turn,’ her work examines the concept of place-making, access and affect in city spaces, and the phenomenology of place, among other topics. Her publications on the topics of space and place include: “The Beauty of Blight: Creating Insiders and Outsiders through Aesthetic Invectives in 1960s Newark;” “How Public Figures Became Glamorous Accessories: Affect Worlds, Consumer Culture, and Visual Technologies in Nineteenth-Century Europe;” and “Socialization and the City: Parental Authority and Teenage Rebellion in Wilhelmine Germany.” She is the director of the Urban Humanities track in Global Urban Studies and has taught graduate seminars on “Urban Environment: Producing Place: Theories and Concepts in Urban Geography,” as well as on “The History of Emotions;” “Art and Politics;” and “History from Below.” She is the Lead Director of Newark Rhythms an arts-oriented research and public history project about urban renewal in Newark in the 1960s. By combining archival research, exhibitions, sonic-spatial and visual arts performances, and community outreach, Newark Rhythms aims to recover, document, and make present the history of the modernist architectural design of the Rutgers University-Newark’s campus as part of urban renewal in 1960s Newark, and how these developments related to social issues and artistic movements. In its current phase, the project is focusing on the concepts of “urban thresholds” and “embodied mapping,” oriented to different phenomenological and affective experiences of the urban space.

Department Affiliations: Federated Department of History





Peter Hepburn

Assistant Professor

Biography: I am a Sociologist and Demographer. My research examines how changes to three core social institutions—work, criminal justice, and housing—serve to produce and perpetuate inequality. I use a variety of quantitative methods and data sources to demonstrate and analyze disparities in exposure to precarious work, the criminal justice system, and housing instability. Throughout my research, I develop measures and models that allow for new insight into the variability of lived experience for disadvantaged populations and the transmission of inequality across generations.

Department Affiliations: Department of Sociology & Anthropology





Kimberly DaCosta Holton

Biography: Kimberly DaCosta Holton researches expressive culture in the Portuguese-speaking world, focusing particularly on the intersections between politics, performance and migration.  Holton is the author of Performing Folklore: Ranchos Folclóricos from Lisbon to Newark (Indiana 2005) and co-editor with Andrea Klimt of Community, Culture and the Makings of Identity: Portuguese-Americans Along the Eastern Seaboard (University of Massachuestts Press 2009).  She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Institute for Research on Women.  Her scholarly articles and translations have appeared in numerous academic journals and edited volumes.  Holton is the founder and director of the Ironbound Oral History Project and is currently at work on a book about fado performance in the US.

Department Affiliations: Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Graduate Program in American Studies, Women's & Gender Studies Program





Alison Howell

Associate Professor

Biography: Alison Howell is Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark, where she is also affiliated member of Women's and Gender Studies, the Division of Global Affairs, and Global Urban Studies. She previously held research fellowships at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) and in Politics, both at the University of Manchester, as well as a Fulbright at SUNY and Brown University. She is on the editorial boards of International Political Sociology, Security Dialogue, Critical Military Studies, Critical Studies on Security, and the Review of International Studies. Her research focuses on topics relating to the international relations of medicine, technoscience, security and warfare in order to advance feminist, critical race, and disability studies approaches to global politics.

Department Affiliations: Department of Political Science





Jyl Josephson


Biography: Jyl J. Josephson is Professor of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Most of her scholarship is related to gender, sexuality, and politics. She is the author of Rethinking Sexual Citizenship (SUNY 2016). Her work has also been published in journals such as the Journal of Political Science Education, Feminist Formations, New Political Science, Trans Studies Quarterly, European Journal of Women’s Studies, Journal of Poverty, and Perspectives on Politics. In addition to a project on higher education and democracy, she is also conducting research on broad based community organizing, and along with Icelandic colleagues, on feminist, queer, and trans movements in Iceland.

Department Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Women's & Gender Studies Program.





Jamie Lew

Associate Professor of Sociology

Biography: My research interests lie broadly within the fields of sociology of education, immigration and international migration, race and ethnicity. My work explores intersections of immigration and race, particularly as it relates to education for migrant youths in urban space. I am interested in understanding how geographical and metaphorical color line, in given space and time, changes and shifts in urban schools and contemporary cities. By paying particular attention to these changing race relations at the ground level, I examine the ways in which various migrant and racialized groups create spaces for articulating new politics of change.

My current research project explores how urban refugee families and children negotiate their sense of belonging and placemaking in cities in the U.S. and abroad. In this study of urban refugees, I explore how urban spaces and its institutions of schooling, housing, and work are changing and being changed by contemporary migration. I explore how refugees with their own legal and political status, in relation to other migrants and native-born populations in cities, for instance, build relationships and produce political spaces with other spaces of urban marginality that have been historically disenfranchised. In exploring some of these questions, I use a wide range of social science methodologies, including visual images and approaches. My hope is that in doing so, I can cross boundaries of disciplines, theories, and methods to engage and understand a complex and changing social phenomenon of migration that is rapidly transforming our cities and society at large.

Professor Mara Sidney and I co-direct Global Urban Studies (GUS). I teach “Globalization, International Migration and Contemporary Cities” and “Urban Education and Policy” for the GUS program. Other graduate and undergraduate courses that I teach include “Urban Sociology”, “Sociology of Education”, “Asian American Studies”, “Immigration, Race, Education”.

Department Affiliations: Department of Sociology and Anthropology; Graduate Program in Peace and Conflict Studies.





Sean T. Mitchell

Associate Professor of Anthropology; Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Biography: Sean T. Mitchell is a sociocultural anthropologist. His ethnographically-based work focuses on the politics of inequality, particularly in Brazil. He has written about space travel, the formation of political consciousness, comparative class and race politics, US empire, war and violence, the politics of anti-corruption, utopia, cities, and other related (and seemingly unrelated) topics. The thread that runs through all of his work is the attempt to understand how and why people conceptualize and act upon inequality in ways that change historically. Sean T. Mitchell is currently the director of the Graduate Program in Peace and Conflict Studies, and has previously served as interim co-director of Global Urban Studies. He also organizes with his union, Rutgers AAUP-AFT.

Department Affiliations: Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Graduate Program in Peace & Conflict Studies, Department of African American & African Studies 





Rachel Mundy

Associate Professor of Music

Biography: My work is concerned with the way music has defined modern notions of life, worth, and rights in a post-climate change world. My research sits at the intersection of sound studies, animal studies, the history of science, postcolonial history, and environmental history. Because music-making has been heard in the West as evidence of an inner “soul” since the 19th century, it has a foundational place in modern claims about personhood and human identity. I explore these claims through cases that connect human rights to animal voices. 

My first book, Animal Musicalites: Birds, Beasts, and Evolutionary Listening has been credited with initiating an “animal turn” in music studies. I am currently working on a second book, Hearing Beyond Humanism, which shows how zoologists in the United States and Europe used musical listening skills to promote animal rights in the urban contexts of the 1960s and ‘70s. More broadly, I am interested in thinking about how “the humanities” can be reimagined for the post-climate change present. 

Department Affiliations: Department of Arts, Culture, and Media





Arthur B. Powell

Biography: Arthur B. Powell is Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Urban Education at the Newark campus of Rutgers University, New Jersey, and Faculty Research Scientist and Co-Director of the Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning of the Graduate School of Education in New Brunswick. He received his B.A. in mathematics and statistics from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA; M.A. in mathematics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; and Ph.D. in mathematics education from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick. Dr. Powell’s research interests focus in the following areas where he has published extensively: writing and mathematics learning; ethnomathematics; development of mathematical ideas, reasoning, and heuristics; teacher professional development in the mathematics for teaching; collaborative problem solving in mathematics with technology; and rational number cognition. At present, he directs the Research Group on Communication, Technology, and Mathematics Learning that is engaged in an investigative and instructional project, called Mathematical Thinkers Like Me. To fund his collaborative research, Dr. Powell has garnered funding from local, national, and international agencies.

Department Affiliations: Department of African American & African Studies, Department of Urban Education, Associate Director of the Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning in the Graduate School of Education





Tim Raphael

Director of The Center for Migration and the Global City; Professor in Department of Arts, Culture and Media

Biography: Tim Raphael is Professor of Arts Culture and Media and Director of the Center for Migration and the Global City and Newest Americans. He has devised, directed and produced over fifty theatrical productions at venues that include The Kennedy Center, The Public Theater, Theater For A New Audience and New York Theater Workshop. He has also written extensively about the intersection of politics, popular culture and performance for a  variety of journal, and in the book The President Electric: Ronald Reagan and the Politics of Performance. He holds a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University and has taught Theater, Performance Studies, and American Studies at Ursinus College, Dartmouth College, Wesleyan University, Georgetown University, and the Universidade Aberta in Lisbon, Portugal. He has won awards for his teaching including the Rutgers Presidential Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. 

Department Affiliations: Department of Arts, Culture and Media; Graduate Program in American Studies; Center for Migration & the Global City 





Isaias Rojas-Perez

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Biography: Isaias Rojas-Perez is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University-Newark. His research interests include a variety of topics in social and cultural theory, focusing on sovereignty, governmentality, violence, rights, time and memory, the materiality of politics and the politics of materiality, the ritualization of death in Andean Peru, and ethnographic research and writing. These research interests draw from his previous long-term experience as a professional human rights activist in Peru, during the worst moments of the armed conflict between two guerrilla groups and the Peruvian security forces (1980-2000). Professor Rojas-Perez has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork among Quechua survivors of state terror and relatives of the “disappeared” in Andean Peru’s former worn-torn areas. In 2018, his book Mourning Remains: State Atrocity, Exhumations, and Governing the Disappeared in Peru’s Postwar Andes (Stanford University Press, 2017) won two awards: The Association for Legal and Political Anthropology Book Prize and the LASA-Peru Flora Tristan Book Prize. Rojas-Perez has also authored several articles and book-chapters on transitional justice in post-conflict Peru. Building on this ethnographic research, Rojas-Perez is currently developing two book projects. One offers an ethnography of how a Peruvian Andean Quechua-speaking village inscribes the memory of mass death in the landscape and how, in turn, the state writes a memory of mass death for the village through its legal and forensic practices. The second, tentatively entitled “(Hand)Writing the Aftermath. Fieldnotes for an Anthropology of the Disappeared in Peru’s Postwar Andes,” reflects on what it takes to write on violence and state atrocity in a distinctively ethnographic mode.

Department Affiliations: Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Graduate Program in Peace & Conflict Studies, Division of Global Affairs.





Mara Sidney

Professor, Political Science, and Co-Director, Global Urban Studies

Biography: My research and teaching areas include urban politics, race/ethnicity and politics, immigration, and public policy. Professor Jamie Lew and I co-direct and co-founded GUS. I teach one of the core GUS courses, “Urban Governance in Global Perspective.”

Current research examines urban policy analysis, urban neighborhoods at the nexus of gentrification and COVID-19, and urban refugees and immigrants. My most recent work, with David Kaufmann, Ph.D., ETH-Zurich, focuses on building a ground-up interdisciplinary framework for urban policy analysis. Our edited volume, Global Urban Policy: A Framework for Analysis, is forthcoming from University of Michigan Press. Another current project “The Everyday City: How People and Policies Create Neighborhoods Day-to-Day” joins residents’ oral histories with policy analysis of neighborhood public and private spaces to capture how individual lives intersect with policies to produce neighborhoods.

One thread connecting my research and teaching is an interest in advocacy organizations and NGOs, their roles in urban governance, and their relationship to public policy. I have studied how NGOs help make a place for immigrants in civic life, and how national and local immigration and social welfare policies shape what NGOs do and how they do it. Housing is another area of expertise. I have researched policies designed to combat racial discrimination, including Fair Housing laws and Community Reinvestment laws, along with other affordable housing strategies. Theoretically, I engage social construction, institutionalist, multi-level governance, and critical urban theory approaches, using them to examine inequality – its persistence, transformations, and the possibilities for breaking it down.

Departmental Affiliations: Department of Political Science





John Kuo Wei Tchen

Director, Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; Professor, Federated Department of History Rutgers-Newark and NJIT

Biography: Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen is a historian, curator, writer, and dumpster diver devoted to anti-racist, anti-colonialist democratic participatory storytelling, scholarship, and opening up archives, museums, organizations, and classroom spaces to the stories and realities of those excluded and deemed “unfit” in master narratives. Professor Tchen is the Inaugural Clement A. Price Professor of Public History & Humanities and Director of the Clement A. Price Institute. Most recently, he is engaged with global warming crisis, eco justice, and the deep history of the region, founding New York Newark Public History Project. And he has been appointed onto the New York City Panel on Climate Change dealing with the 31-county regional estuarial impacts we are all facing. He has been supporting three Munsee Lunaape communities with their Homeland efforts reconstructing their language, maps, place names, and stories. The PHP is reframing the history of the estuarial region starting with the triple foundational histories of dispossession, extractivism, and enslavement. His ongoing series of work on eugenics in the New York City region surfaces how patrician elites fashioned a tested, measured, sorted tiered hierarchic system of “fit” European-descended “Nordics” on top, and the rankings of the great majority of “unfit” below--resulting in the Immigration Act of 1924 and practices of sterilization and incarceration all still impacting US political culture to this day. His book - Yellow Peril: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear (2014) is a critical archival study of images, excerpts and essays on the history and contemporary impact of paranoia and xenophobia. In 1996, he founded the A/P/A (Asian/Pacific /American) Studies Program and Institute, and research collections, New York University, NYU. In 1980, he co-founded the Museum of Chinese in America.

Department Affiliations: Federated Department of History, Director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture & the Modern Experience





Melissa M. Valle, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Biography: Dr. Melissa M. Valle is an assistant professor, jointly appointed in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. She is also a core faculty member of the Global Urban Studies/Urban Systems Ph.D. program. Dr. Valle is cultivating a body of research that unpacks the notion of “racial worth” by elucidating how symbolic meanings become embedded within distributive frameworks and subsequently contribute to inequality in the Americas. Dr. Valle’s current book project, Battling for Worth: Race, Recognition, and Urban Change on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast is under contract with Oxford University Press and will be included in its Global and Comparative Ethnography Series. The book explores the criteria people use to determine what and who has worth, at different spatial scales, in the context of urban spatial and economic change in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. Dr. Valle is a council member of the American Sociological Association’s Community and Urban Sociology Section, an editorial board member (2022-2025) of the ASA urban journal, City & Community, and an executive board member of the afrolatin@ forum. She is a recipient of a Fulbright student award to Colombia and has dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and Afro-American Studies from Howard University, a Master of Public Administration in public and nonprofit management and policy from New York University, a Master of Science for Teachers in childhood education from Pace University, and a Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy, and Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University.

Department Affiliation: Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Department of African American & African Studies 





Diane Wong

Assistant Professor

Biography: Diane Wong is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University, Newark. Previously, she was Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in American Politics and M.A. in Comparative Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration from the Department of Government at Cornell University. Her interests include American politics, Asian American politics, gender and sexuality, urban governance, comparative immigration, race and ethnicity, cultural and media studies, and community rooted research. As a first-generation Chinese American born and raised in Flushing, Queens in New York City, her research is intimately tied to the Asian diaspora and urban immigrant experience. Her current book project, You Can’t Evict A Movement, focuses on intergenerational resistance to gentrification in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Her work draws from a combination of methods including ethnography, participatory mapping, archival research, augmented reality, and oral history interviews. Her research has received the Byran Jackson Research on Minority Politics Award, Susan Clarke Young Scholars’ Award, and the Don T. Nakanishi Award for Distinguished Scholarship and Service in Asian Pacific American Politics. Her research has been funded by grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities New York, and Cornell University’s American Studies Program. Her work has appeared in Urban Affairs ReviewWomen's Studies Quarterly, Amerasia JournalAsian American Policy Review, and a variety of edited book volumes, journals, anthologies, podcasts, and exhibitions.

Department Affiliation: Department of Political Science





Affiliate Faculty

Jennifer Austin

Biography: Jennifer Austin is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Rutgers University, Newark. She received her Ph.D in Linguistics from Cornell University with a minor in Cognitive Science. Her research interests include first and second language acquisition, language contact, and the effects of bilingualism on language and cognition. She co-authored the book Bilingualism in Spanish-Speaking World: Linguistic and Cognitive Perspectives, and has written articles on syntactic and morphological development in children learning Basque, Spanish, and English. She is a member of the graduate faculty in Global Urban Studies and in Psychology at Rutgers-Newark and in Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Austin is also a co-founder of HoLa, a dual-language charter school in Hoboken, NJ, and is a co-founder and the faculty advisor of the Lives in Translation program at Rutgers-Newark.

Department Affiliations: Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies (RU-Newark),  Department of Psychology  (RU-Newark), Department of Spanish and Portuguese (RU-New Brunswick)





Christopher Duncan

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Biography: I am an anthropologist whose research explores a variety of topics in the anthropology of religion, the anthropology of violence, and issues of indigenous rights. My work is based primarily Indonesia. A major focus of my research in recent years has been on the role of religion in communal violence and post-conflict dynamics in eastern Indonesia. I also explore how religious interpretations of the violence have influenced the post-conflict situation through an examination of peace and reconciliation initiatives, local efforts at memorial building, and the re-integration of forced migrants. Building on this work, I am currently developing a new research project that looks at religious pluralism amongst religious minorities in various parts of Indonesia, including several large cities with non-Muslim majority populations. I am also the Co-Director of the Rutgers International Institute for Peace. 

Department Affiliation: Department of Sociology & Anthropology





R. Brian Ferguson

Professor of Anthropology

Biography: R. Brian Ferguson is a Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers University-Newark.  His fieldwork and Columbia University PhD dissertation was on social change, the sugar industry, and colonialism in Puerto Rico.  For four decades,  he has studied the factors and forces that lead to war.  A generalist, he develops ideas which are applicable across widely varying situations.  From the first, his work centered on investigation of historical interaction of expanding states and indigenous peoples in war and peace; and theoretical syntheses of causes, conditions, and consequences of war.  In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he developed three new research areas: global archaeological evidence on the origins of war; challenging neo-Darwinist claims that humans have inborn human propensities to violence; and combining anthropological and international relations theory for a holistic approach to so-called “ethnic war” and large-scale political violence.  All along, he published on issues of broad relevance, such as how anthropologists can promote peace, or an anthropological approach to the war in Iraq, or controversies about anthropological engagement with U.S. security agencies.  His recently completed book Chimpanzees, “War,” and History: Are Men Born to Kill? develops a new approach to human nature, war, and peace through examination of wild chimpanzee and bonobo behavior, and will be published by Oxford University Press in 2022.  The book after that will be about politics and the genesis of gangsters in early 20th century New York City.  Ferguson has won two awards for teaching at Rutgers-Newark, and from 2002 to 2011 served as a Governor of the New York Academy of Sciences. 

Department Affiliations: Graduate Program in Peace & Conflict Studies, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Division of Global Affairs, Department of African & African American Studies, New Brunswick Graduate Program in Anthropology





Lynnette Mawhinney

Professor of Urban Education, Chair

Biography: I am a trained cultural anthropologist whose research spans the fields of urban education, teacher education, Black studies, and visual studies/visual ethnography. My research focuses on the professional lives of urban teachers of Color, the schooling experiences of urban youth, urban teacher education and teacher development, biracial identity development, and autoethnographic approaches in educational settings. My teaching and volunteer experiences have extended to three continents and share my worldview on research approaches through the lens of race, class, gender, and religion.

My current Spencer Foundation funded research focuses on using visual research with urban teachers of Color. Specifically, the study seeks to better understand how educators of Color from across the professional lifespan view the teaching profession. In particular, this project intends to understand the storied experiences of teachers of Color through photovoice, a process that empowers participants to visually document their experiences as teachers.

Department Affiliations: Department of Urban Education; Department of Africana Studies





Kusum Mundra

Associate Professor of Economics

Biography: Kusum Mundra is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Rutgers University Newark.  She received her Ph.D in Economics from the University of California, Riverside and an M.A. from Delhi School of Economics.  Her research interests are Applied Econometrics, Immigration and International Migration, Social Networks, Gender and Minority Population, Nonparametric and Semiparametric Panel Data Models.

She has worked on issues ranging from the effect of immigrant networks and immigrant diasporas on trade, role of social networks on immigrant earnings, immigrant and minority homeownership, access to healthcare for immigrant women, empirical investigation of suicide bombing events and semiparametric panel data estimation.  Her research has been published in various economic journals including the International Migration ReviewDemographyAmerican Economic Review- Papers and ProceedingsReview of International EconomicsJournal of International Trade and Economic DevelopmentInternational Trade JournalTerrorism and Political Violence,  the Handbook of Applied Econometrics and Statistical Inferences, and the Frontiers of Economics and Globalization – Migration and Culture.

Department Affiliations: Department of Economics, Women's & Gender Studies Program, Division of Global Affairs, Center for Migration & the Global City





Mary Rizzo

Associate Professor

Biography: Mary Rizzo is an Associate Professor of History who specializes in modern U.S. cultural history, urban studies, public humanities, and digital humanities. She is particularly interested in food studies, representations of cities, and inclusive public history. After earning her PhD in American Studies from the University Minnesota, she built a successful career in public history, experience she brings to Rutgers University-Newark where she created the public humanities MA track in the Graduate Program in American Studies to prepare students to be leaders in public history and humanities organizations. An active scholar of American cultural and urban history, Rizzo published Come and Be Shocked: Baltimore Beyond John Waters and The Wire (Johns Hopkins University Press) in 2020. This book examines representations of Baltimore from the 1950s to the early 21st century to see how urban leaders have used art to shape how the city is seen and how artists have fought back through their own representations. She brings together her urban, public, and digital history work in the Chicory Revitalization Project, which uses the African American community poetry magazine, Chicory, which was published in Baltimore from 1966-1983, as the basis of civic conversations around poetry and social justice today. In 2015, she published Class Acts: Young Men and the Rise of Lifestyle. She has also published articles in American Quarterly, Museums & Social Issues, Exhibition, The Public Historian, and International Journal of Heritage Studies. In 2017, Rizzo won the Teaching Award for excellence in teaching NJ history for the travelling and digital Rebellion to Review Board exhibits from the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance. She is also on the advisory committee for the award-winning Queer Newark Oral History Project.

Department Affiliations: Department of African & African-American Studies, Graduate Program in American Studies, Federated Department of History





Lee Slater

Henry Rutgers Professor of Geophysics

Biography: Dr. Lee Slater is the Henry Rutgers Professor of Geophysics and a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University-Newark. Dr. Slater pursues research on the use of geophysical technologies (a group of non-imaging methods analogous to medical imaging) for improving understanding of subsurface environmental processes. Dr. Slater has published over one hundred and fifty journal articles, ten book chapters, two edited books and one textbook. In 2018 he was elected as a fellow of the American Geophysical Union with the citation: "for visionary experimentation in near surface geophysics that has advanced understanding of subsurface hydrogeological and biogeochemical processes". Dr. Slater received a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental sciences from University of East Anglia (UK), a Master of Science degree in marine geosciences from University of North Wales (UK) and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Lancaster University (UK).

Department Affiliations: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences





Genese Sodikoff

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Biography: I am a cultural anthropologist interested in the political economy of biodiversity loss, conservation, and restoration and in zoonosis (animal-to-human disease). I have been conducting ethnographic and historical research on Madagascar since 1994, exploring themes such as the role of low-wage labor in biodiversity conservation efforts, the interdependence of biotic and cultural extinction events, human-animal relations, and the problem of zoonotic diseases.  My books include the monograph, Forest and Labor in Madagascar: From Colonial Concession to Global Biosphere (Indiana University Press, 2012), and the volume, The Anthropology of Extinction: Essays on Culture and Species Death (Indiana University Press 2012).  

My current project is a multispecies ethnography of bubonic plague in the central highlands. It focusses on the ways state mortuary policies for plague victims have impacted rural people’s relationship to their land and deceased ancestors, as well as on the social repercussions of a pathogen that has become endemic to Madagascar’s landscapes. The courses I've taught include: Medical Anthropology, Our Planet Crisis: Climate Change & Global Health; Humans, Animals & Society; Peoples and Cultures of Africa; Posthumanist Anthropology; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Environmental Anthropology; and Environmental Conflict (graduate course).  

Department Affiliations:  Department of Sociology & Anthropology (RU-Newark); Division of Global Affairs (RU-Newark); Department of Anthropology (RU-New Brunswick); Department of Geography (RU-New Brunswick)





Whitney Strub

Associate Professor and Acting History Graduate Director

Biography: Whitney Strub received his doctorate in U.S. history from UCLA, and taught at the University of Miami, California State University-Fullerton, UCLA, and Temple University before joining the Federated Department at Rutgers, where he is associate professor. His first book, Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right, was published in 2011 by Columbia University Press. It charts the use of antipornography campaigns as organizing devices in the mobilization of the modern conservative movement and its “family values” agenda, and also shows the failure of modern liberalism to adequately respond to reactionary sexual politics. His second book, Obscenity Rules: Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression (University Press of Kansas, 2013) charts the history of obscenity doctrine in patrolling the boundaries of sexual citizenship from the colonial era through the twenty-first century, but especially through the still-binding 1957 Supreme Court case Roth v. U.S., which established that obscene materials are not protected by the First Amendment. Most recently, he co-edited Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representation in the 1970s (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016), with Carolyn Bronstein. He also co-directs the Queer Newark Oral History Project.

Department Affiliations: Federated Department of History, Women's & Gender Studies Program, Graduate Program in American Studies





David Troutt

Professor of Law and Justice John J. Francis Scholar

Biography: David Dante Troutt is Distinguished Professor of Law and Justice John J. Francis Scholar at Rutgers Law School-Newark where he also directs the Center on Law, Inequality and Metropolitan Equity (CLiME).  He emphasizes using law and interdisciplinary study to understand structural inequality and to formulate legal and policy reform strategies.  Troutt teaches tort law, intellectual property and a multidisciplinary approach to racial and economic inequality called metropolitan equity (land use, civil rights, state and local government, housing and poverty law).  His most recent book, The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America (NYU Press), examines six cultural assumptions that have informed legal rules and public policy across American communities to reveal how they contribute to structural inequality at a time of immense demographic change.  Troutt is the author and editor of three other books, The Monkey Suit: Short Fiction on African Americans and Justice (The New Press), After the Fall: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina (The New Press), and a novel, The Importance of Being Dangerous (Amistad/HarperCollins).  In addition to many scholarly articles, he writes frequently on issues of law, race and inequality for a variety of national publications.  A Harlemite relocated to New Jersey, Troutt is the proud father of two tremendous daughters.

Department Affiliations: Rutgers Law School-Newark





Rose Cuison Villazor

Professor of Law and Chancellor's Social Justice Scholar

Biography: Rose Cuison-Villazor is Interim Dean, Professor of Law and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar at Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. Dean Cuison-Villazor teaches and writes in the areas of immigration and citizenship law, property law, critical race theory, Asian Americans and the law, and equal protection law.  Her scholarship has appeared in top law journals in the country, including California Law ReviewColumbia Law ReviewFordham Law ReviewHarvard Law Review ForumMinnesota Law ReviewNew York University Law ReviewNorth Carolina Law ReviewSouthern California Law ReviewWashington University Law Review, and University of California Davis Law Review.    

Department Affiliations: Rutgers Law School-Newark