Faculty & Staff
Assistant Professor Hanada Al-Masri joined the department in 2012 and teaches Arabic. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Jordan, Jordan and her Ph.D. degree from Purdue University, Indiana.
As a member of the English faculty and Director of the Writing Center, Brenda Boyle is interested in American literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a special focus on issues of rhetoric, race, gender, sexuality, and disability. Her research and publications extend from the study of American masculinity's formations in war, especially the Vietnam War, to representations of gender and sexuality through disability, to gender in The Gilmore Girls. She teaches classes in composition and rhetoric, British and American modernism, the contemporary novel, fiction and non-fiction war narratives, and academic writing.
John E. Cort has degrees in South Asian Studies from the University of Wisconsin (B.A., 1974; M.A., 1982), and in the Study of Religion from Harvard University (A.M., 1984; Ph.D., 1989). He teaches our courses on religions of Asia, as well as comparative courses on issues such as environmentalism, art, human rights and nonviolence. He is also on the East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies and International Studies program committees, and regularly teaches courses that cross-list in these programs.
John is a scholar of India, where he has lived for seven years over the past four decades. Before entering graduate school, he worked as a community organizer on issues of disarmament and social justice in Washington, D.C. He also enjoys translating poetry from several Indian languages into American English.
John’s research focuses on the Jain traditions of South Asia, and religion, society, culture and history more broadly in western India, in particular Gujarat and Rajasthan. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in India. He is currently working on two book on Jain devotional texts and practices, with working titles of Naked Devotion and Devotion to the Dispassionate Lord. His research has been supported by grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the American Philosophical Society, the Asian Cultural Council, Denison University, the Freeman Foundation, Fulbright-Hays, the Getty Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
He is very active in service to the profession. He is an elected member of the American Society for the Study of Religion. He has served as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Indian Studies since 1998, and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Council on Southern Asian Art twice, in 2000 to 2003, and 2010 to 2014. He served as co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Religion in South Asia Section of the American Academy of Religion in 2008-11, and has served as co-chair of the Jain Studies Group of AAR since 2011.
He has written, edited and translated the following books and special journal issues:
- (Co-editor, with Andrea Luithle-Hardenberg and Leslie C. Orr), Cooperation and Competition, Conflict and Contribution: The Jaina Community, British Expansion and Scholarship during the 19th and Early 20th Century. Berlin: EB-Verlag, forthcoming.
- Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
- (With Lawrence A. Babb and Michael W. Meister), Desert Temples: Sacred Centers of Rajasthan in Historical, Art-Historical and Social Contexts. Jaipur: Rawat, 2008.
- (Translator), Jagannātha Panditaraja, The Saving Waves of the Milk-White Ganga. Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 2007.
- (Guest Editor), American Studies of the Jains. Jinamañjari 34:2 (October 2006).
- Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India. New York and Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001. Paperback edition 2011.
- (Editor) Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998. Reprint Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications, 1999.
- (Editor) Kendall W. Folkert. Scripture and Community: Collected Essays on the Jains. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993.
- (Translator) Bhartrhari, An Old Tree Living by the River. Calcutta: Writers Workshop, 1983.
Recent and forthcoming articles include the following:
- “Defending Jainism against Christianity and Colonialism: Jains and Presbyterian Missionaries in Colonial Gujarat.” Cooperation and Competition, Conflict and Contribution.
- “God's Eyes: The Manufacture, Installation and Experience of External Eyes on Jain Icons.” Corinne Dempsey and Tracy Pintchman (eds.), Sacred Matters: Material Religion in South Asian Traditions. Albany: SUNY Press, forthcoming.
- “In Search of 'Hindu Fiction': The First 'American School' of Jain Studies.” Cooperation and Competition, Conflict and Contribution.
- “Jain Identity and the Public Sphere in Nineteenth-Century India.” Vasudha Dalmia and Martin Fuchs (eds.), Multiplicity and Monoliths: Religious Interactions in India, 18th-20th Centuries. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- “Making it Vernacular in Agra: The Practice of Translation by Seventeenth-century Digambar Jains.” Francesca Orsini (ed.), Tellings Not Texts: Singing, Story-telling and Performance in North India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- “’This is How We Play Holi’: Allegory in North Indian Digambar Jain Holī Songs.” John Stratton Hawley, Anshu Malhotra and Tyler Williams (eds.), Texts and Traditions in Early Modern North India: Selected Essays from the Eleventh International Conference on Early Modern Literatures in North India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
- “When Will I Meet Such a Guru? Images of the Yogi in Digambar Hymns.” Christopher Key Chapple and Olle Qvarnstöm (eds.), Jaina Yoga. London: Routledge, forthcoming.
- “Daulatram Plays Holi: Digambar Bhakti Songs of Springtime.” Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 8 (2013), 33-35.
- “A Digambar Icon of the Goddess Jvalamalini.” Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 8 (2013), 42-43.
- “God Outside and God Inside: North Indian Digambar Jain Performance of Bhakti.” Imre Bangha (ed.), Bhakti Beyond the Forest: Current Research on Early Modern Literatures in North India, 2003-2009, 255-86. New Delhi: Manohar, 2013.
- “’Today I Play Holi in My City’: Digambar Jain Holi Songs from Jaipur.” International Journal of Jaina Studies (online), 9:7 (2013), 1-50.
- “Situating Darsan: Seeing the Digambar Jina Icon in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century North India.” International Journal of Hindu Studies 16 (2012), 1-56.
- “A Digambar Icon of Twenty-Four Jinas in the Ackland Museum, University of North Carolina.” Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 7 (2012), 30-33.
- “Four Japanese Derivations: Haibun.” Abraxas 48 (2012), 82-88.
- “History and Indology as Authoritative Knowledge: Debates about Jain Icons in Colonial India.” Brian Hatcher and Michael Dodson (eds.), Trans-Colonial Modernities in South Asia, 137-61. London: Routledge, 2012.
- “The Goddesses of Sravana Belgola.” Nalini Balbir (ed.), Svasti: Essays in Honour of Prof. Hampa Nagarajaiah for his 75th Birthday, 346-53. Krishnapuradoddi: K. S. Muddappa Smaraka Trust, 2010.
- “In Defense of Icons in Three Languages: The Iconophilic Writings of Yasovijaya.” International Journal of Jaina Studies (Online) 6:2 (2010), 1-45.
- (With Lawrence A. Babb and Michael W. Meister), “Desert Temples: Archaeology in Present Time.” Pierfrancesco Callieri and Luca Colliva (eds.), South Asian Archaeology 2007: Proceedings of the 19th Meeting of the European Association of South Asian Archaeology in Ravenna, July 2007. Volume II: Historic Periods, 19-26. Oxford: Archaeopress, 2010.
- “World Renouncing Monks and World Celebrating Temples and Icons: The Ritual Culture of Temples and Icons in Jainism.” Himanshu Prabha Ray (ed.), Archaeology and Text: The Temple in South Asia, 268-95. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2010.
- “Budhjan's Petition: Digambar Bhakti in Nineteenth-Century Jaipur.” Jaina Studies: Newsletter of the Centre of Jaina Studies 4 (2009), 39-42.
- “Jains and Jainism in Patan.” Manibhai K. Prajapati (ed.), The Glorious History and Culture of Anhilwad Patan (Gujarat) (Prof. Mukundbhai P. Brahmakshatriya Felicitation Volume), 540-88. Patan: Prof. Mukundbhai P. Brahmakshatriya Sanman Samiti, 2009.
- “Contemporary Jain Mandala Rituals.” Phyllis Granoff (ed.), Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection, 140-57. New York: Rubin Museum of Art; and Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing, 2009.
- “The Cosmic Man and the Human Condition.” Phyllis Granoff (ed.), Victorious Ones: Jain Images of Perfection, 34-47. New York: Rubin Museum of Art; and Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing, 2009.
- “An Epitome of Medieval Svetambara Jain Literary Culture: A Review and Study of Jinaratnasuri's Lilavatisara.” International Journal of Jaina Studies (online) 5 (2009), 1-33.
- “Green Pratikraman: A Friendly Proposal for Global Jains.” Ecology—the Jain Way (15th Biennial JAINA Convention 2009 Souvenir), 122-23.
- “Helen M. Johnson: The First American Woman Scholar of Sanskrit.” Journal of the Johnson Library and Museum 3 (2009), 31-47.
I joined the faculty at Denison in 2007 holding a doctorate in political science from Loyola University Chicago. My current research interests focus on post-conflict peacebuilding and statebuilding, transitional justice, international organizations, human rights, and German foreign and security policy. I serve as the faculty advisor to several student organizations, including the Denison Democrats, Denison’s Model United Nations Club and Denison University’s UNICEF Chapter.
Every other fall I supervise the preparation of students to participate in the American Model United Nations (AMUN) simulation. Attendance at this simulation is part of my course, POSC 344, the United Nations and World Problems. The simulation gives students the opportunity to apply what they learn in the course over several days. Over the past few years Denison students have represented Lithuania, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Spain, Tunisia, and Colombia. Students have won numerous awards at the conference recognizing their excellence in representing these various countries. Over 1500 university students from the U.S and abroad attended the AMUN conference, representing approximately 100 UN Member States.
I have also supervised several senior and summer research projects, including: "The Czech Presidency of the European Union and the Lisbon Treaty: Critical Junctures and the Challenge of Leadership," Michelle Tverdosi ’10; "Recognition as Intervention in Civil Conflict: The Case Studies of Kosovo and East Timor," Leslie Marshall ’10; “The Responsibility to Protect and US Foreign Policy Decision-Making,” Evan Johnson ’11; “The Role of Artists in Political Change in Northern Ireland During the Troubles,” Erin Saul ’11; “Processes of Democratization, Peacebuilding, and Transitional Justice in Guatemala,” Sydni Franks ’13 [in collaboration with Dr. Gladys Mitchell-Walthour], “Breaking Borders: Computer Mediated Communication and Transnational Activism” Brenda Falkenstein ‘14.
- Comparing Democratic States and Societies (POSC 120)
- Introduction to International Politics (POSC 122)
- Selected Topics in International Politics (POSC 141)
- Transitions to Democracy (POSC 330)
- The United Nations and World Problems (POSC 344)
- Human Rights in Global Perspective (POSC 345)
- European Union (POSC 346)
- Foreign and Security Policy in Western Europe (POSC 348)
- The Iraq War (POSC 402)
Assistant Professor John Davis joined the faculty at Denison in the fall of 2011. Prof. Davis is a socio-cultural anthropologist whose work explores the "social life" of rights by critically analyzing the processes by which transnational discourses and practices of human rights intersect with specific national and cultural contexts to shape everyday life. Prof. Davis's dissertation used ethnographic modes of inquiry to illuminate the cultural politics of human rights in Japan through an exploration of how the burakumin minority operationalized the idea of human rights within their movement for social change.
Prof. Davis is currently completing a book manuscript titled "Animating Rights in Japan: The Politics of Buraku Liberation". Prof. Davis has two new research projects underway. The first utilizes the case of burakumin as an opportunity to reconsider theories of race and minority subjectivity. It is at once an attempt to account for the wide-ranging and often conflicting narratives he encountered in Japan about what it meant to be "burakumin" and how his own positionality as an African American in Japan shaped his perspective on the topic. More often than not Prof. Davis became part of the focus of conversations with people as they invoked his status as a kokujin ("Black person") to illustrate points of difference or similarity "the nature of the comparison varied with the speaker" between racial minorities and burakumin. Prof. Davis's second line of research compares how concepts of race and ethnicity factor into genetics research in Japan and the United States respectively.
"My areas of specialization in anthropology include classical and contemporary theory, art and society, gender, political economy and Sub-Saharan Africa. My doctoral dissertation was an historical examination of gender among the Kedjom of the Republic of Cameroon, between female economic contributions and cultural ideologies which demeaned them. More recently, I have done research on the history of European alcohol in West Africa and the impact of transnational brewing corporations on the national and local economies of Cameroon. I am particularly interested in the relationship between rural communities and the African State. Presently, I am exploring indigenous knowledge around agricultural production and the religious significance of twinship in Sub-Saharan Africa."
Courses normally taught: Introduction to & Intermediate Macroeconomics, Introductory Microeconomics, Economic Development, Economic Growth & Environmental Sustainability
Visual Life in African Cities (ARTH 334), Arts of Post-Colonial Africa (ARTH 225), African Art and Visual Culture (ARTH 121), Representing Africa on Film (ARTH 222), Arts of Oceania (ARTH 223), Art History Senior Seminar (ARTH 408)
Research and Teaching
My scholarship and teaching focus on artistic propositions and visual culture in relation to urban life, especially in Senegal and Congo, where I have conducted research on individual artists, art institutions, and expressive production. My methodological orientation combines sustained ethnography, visual/textual analysis, and theorization to engage specificity of place as a modality through which to read the production and interpretation of creative projects. I have contributed to several edited collections and academic journals including African Arts, Art Journal, Fashion Theory, Nka, Présence Francophone, Social Dynamics, andAfrica Today. I was guest editor for a special issue of Africa Today (2007) dedicated to “Visual Experience in Urban Africa” and co-editor for African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (2013), a volume exploring the productive work of interviews in creating scholarly narratives. My most recent project is Market Imaginary (2012), a feature length documentary film dealing with the concentric embedment of Dakar’s Colobane Market in its neighborhood, in the city, and in the imagination. My current project is a book manuscript about Dakar’s art world city.
My research has been supported by the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship (2009-2010), the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (1998-1999), the Doctoral Fellowship from the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution (1999-2000), the GLCA New Directions Initiative Grant made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2011, 2012, 2013), the R. C. Good Faculty Fellowship (2006, 2013), and the Denison University Research Foundation. My article, “Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City,” Art Journal 68, 1 (Spring 2009) received the Art Journal Award from the College Art Association in 2010.
Market Imaginary (Producer/Director for 53 minute film documenting/theorizing Dakar’s Colobane Market). DVD Available from Indiana University Press. http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?cPath=1037_1144&products_id=807288
Film website http://personal.denison.edu/~grabski/Market_Imaginary/Market_Imaginary.html
African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work, edited by Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee (edited volume with twelve contributors) Indiana University Press: 2013.
Art World City: The Creative Economy of Artists and Urban Life in Dakar (book manuscript in progress).
- Dakar’s Market Imaginary: Mobility, Visuality, and the Creative Economy of Second Chances, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (CSSAAME Borderlines). March 25, 2014 http://cssaamejournal.org/borderlines/dakars-market-imaginary/
- La Mobilité, Le Pouvoir de Visualisation, et L’Imaginaire du Marché à Dakar,” in Mamadou Diouf and Rosalind Fredericks, eds. Les Arts de la Citoyenneté au Sénégal: Espaces Contestés et Civilités Urbaines (Éditions Karthala: 2013).
- Ghostly Stories: Interviews with Artists in Dakar and the Productive Space around Absence,” in Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee, eds. African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (Indiana University Press: 2013).
- The Work of Interviews,” co-authored with Carol Magee, in Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee, eds. African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work (Indiana University Press: 2013).
- Interview with Cheikh Ndiaye,” Pulsations: The Journal of New African Writing 2 (2013): 35-57.
- The École des Arts and Exhibitionary Platforms in Post Independence Senegal,” in Monica Blackmun Visonà and Gitti Salami, A Companion to Modern African Art (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2013).
- Introductory Essay on Historicity and Urban Memory,” IN/FLUX, volume II, Mediatrips from the African World. Produced by SPARCK and Lowave (Paris), 2012.
- Market Logics: How Locality and Mobility Make Artistic Livelihoods in Dakar,” Social Dynamics 37, 3 (2011): 321-331. Republished in Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities, edited by E. Pieterse and A. Simone (Jacana Media and African Centre for Cities, 2013).
- Urban Claims and Visual Sources in the Making of Dakar’s Art World City,” Art Journal 68, 1 (Spring 2009): 6-23. (Art Journal Award, College Art Association, 2010)
- Pap Ba’s Haute-Couture Fashion Photography,” Critical Interventions 6 (Spring 2010): 77-90.
- The Visual City: Tailors, Creativity, and Urban Life in Dakar, Senegal,” in Suzanne Gott and Krystine Loughran, eds. Contemporary African Fashion (Indiana University Press, 2010).
- Traces and Echoes: Mixed Media Paintings of Kalidou Sy,” NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art, number 24 (Spring 2009): 82-91.
- Making Fashion in the City: A Case Study of Tailors and Designers in Dakar, Senegal,” Fashion Theory: Special Issue on African Fashion, edited by Victoria Rovine,13, 2 (Spring 2009): 215-242.
- The Dak’Art Biennale: Exhibiting Contemporary Art and Geopolitics in Africa,” NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art/Special Issue on the 21st Century and The Mega Shows, volume 22/23(Spring/Summer 2008): 104-113.
- Projects of Collecting and Exhibition in Dakar: On Being a Mécéne d’art,” Présence Francophone, Special Issue on Art in Dakar, edited by Helene Tissieres, (Spring 2008): 93-111.
- Guest Editor and Introduction,” Africa Today: Special Issue on Visual Experience in Urban Africa, 54, 2 (Winter 2007): vi-xii.
- Painting Fictions/Painting History: Modernist Pioneers at Senegal’s Ecole des Arts,” African Arts: Special Issue on Art Historical Perspectives on African Modernists, edited by Chika Okeke, 39, 1 (2006): 38-49, 93.
- Visual Experience and Fashion in Dakar: The City as Information Environment and Artistic Resource for Tailors,” in Mode in Afrika (Museum für Völkerkunde, Hamburg, Germany, 2005): 52-60.
- Dakar’s Urban Landscapes: Locating Modern Art and Artists in the City,” African Arts 36, 4 (2003): 28-39, 93.
- Pierre Lods and the Poto-Poto School,” in N’Goné Fall and Jean-Loup Pivin, eds. Anthologie de l’art africain du xx siècle. Paris: Éditions Revue Noire, 2001: 179-181.
Curatorial Projects/Exhibition Essays
Author of Exhibition Essay
Writing, Artistic Traditions and the Economies of Cultural Heritage: Recent Works by Abdoulaye Ndoye
Musée Boribana, Dak’Art Biennale Off 2014 Dakar, Senegal
Author of Exhibition Essay
Les Lettres de Verre de El Hadji Sy in
Exhibition Catalogue, Les Lettres de Verre,
Galerie BooKoo, Dakar, Senegal, June 2013
Exhibition Curator and Author of Exhibition Essay
Guissou Ma La Mbao: An Exhibition of Poesie Graphique by Abdoulaye Ndoye
Musee Boribana, Dak’Art Biennale Off 2010, Dakar, Senegal
Author of Exhibition Essay
Taking Off/L’Envol: A Mixed Media Installation by Ndary Lo
Eiffage, Dak’Art Biennale Off 2010, Dakar, Senegal
Author of Exhibition Essay, “The Harmonies of Becoming an Artist: Remembering the Artistic Practice of Seydou Barry,” in Catalogue of Seydou Barry’s Retrospective Exhibition at Dak’Art Off (Dakar: Impression Midi-Occident, 2008).
Author of Selected Essays, Trajectoires: Art Contemporain du Senegal; Collection Bassam Chaitou, Exposition Musee de l’Ifan de Dakar, (Dakar: Editions Kaani, 2007): 18-24, 74-75, 186-187.
Exhibition Co-Curator and Author of Exhibition Essay
Traces and Echoes: Mixed Media Paintings by Kalidou Sy
Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, IN, 2007
Exhibition Curator and Author of Exhibition Essay
La Peinture sans peinture: une selection d’oeuvres recentes de Abdoulaye Ndoye
West African Research Center, Dakar, Senegal, 1999
L’Oeil vif: une exposition individuelle de Cherif Thiam
West African Research Center, Dakar, Senegal, 1999
Alina Haliliuc earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching are in the areas of public persuasion, rhetorical criticism, and mass mediated representations of gender, class, and ethnicity. She has worked on projects examining the role of television, film, music, and museums in negotiating social norms both in the U.S. and Romania. Her work may be found in such venues as Communication, Culture & Critique (forthcoming 2015), The Journal of Popular Culture (forthcoming 2015), Aspasia. The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History (2013), Text and Performance Quarterly (2011).
At Denison, Dr. Halilliuc has taught courses that mirror and expand her interest in public discourse: Rhetoric, Rhetorics of Hope, Rhetoric & Performance, Public Address, Exploring Masculinity, and Discourses of Authentic Experience. Her service to our community ranges from serving on the International Studies Committee, co-leading the Denison Experience in Urban Culture and Expression pre-orientation trip to Philadelphia, and teaching yoga at The Open House.
- Econ 101 - Intro Macroeconomics
- Econ 301 - Intermediate Macroeconomics
- Econ 411 - Monetary Theory
- Econ 440 - The Political Economy of Globalization
- Econ 441 - The Political Economy of the Middle East
Sangeet Kumar earned his PhD from the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa where his dissertation studied the construction of postcolonial identities through the consumption and production of western popular culture in India. His current research interests are focused on two distinct but connected dimensions of the globalization of media and culture. The first interrogates power and resistance within global digital media networks from the perspective of postcoloniality, critical theories of technology and parody/satire. The second uses theories of human desire to reimagine power and identity within global popular cultural texts and practices. In addition to the Communication Department, he also serves on the International Studies committee at Denison. He has a background as a newspaper journalist with a daily in New Delhi prior to his academic career.
His research has appeared in journals including Popular Communication, Journal of Communication Inquiry, Global Media and Communication and Journal of South Asian History and Culture among others as well as in anthologies such as News Parody and Political Satire Across the Globe and Television at Large in South Asia among others.
At Denison his courses explore media, technology and popular culture from critical, theoretical and global perspectives. The courses he teaches are:
- Media and Modernity
- Global Digital Networks
- Cultural Globalization and Identity
- Democracy, Liberalism and the Mass Media
- Critical Cultural Approaches to Advertising
- The Politics of Popular Culture
I am a broadly-trained cultural anthropologist with primary research interests in semiotic anthropology, material culture and archeology, racial, ethnic, and linguistic identity. I have secondary interests in kinship, demography, anthropology and philosophy, and the history of anthropology. Most of my fieldwork has been conducted in Ireland, in Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) communities. My recently completed projects include an analysis and critique of the logic of racial profiling, using C.S. Peirce's arguments about the various forms of logical inference including retroduction/abduction, and his theories about iconicity. My current research can be described broadly as the semiotics of material culture. I am engaged in an ongoing project investigating the phenomenological, temporal, and semiotic manifestations of material objects from the past in the present, focusing specifically on archaeological artefacts. Related to this I have recently begun a new project on the semiotic aspects of ‘vintage fashion’. I teach courses on semiotic anthropology, social theory (classical and contemporary), race and ethnicity, as well as courses in International Studies. I also teach our introductory course as well as our senior seminar.
- November 2014, Book review of Olaf Zenker’s Irish/ness Is All around Us: Language Revivalism and the Culture of Ethnic Identity in Northern Ireland. American Ethnologist, v. 41, issue 4
- Summer 2014, “Response to Sluis and Edwards, ‘Rethinking Combined Departments’” in Learning and Teaching: The International Journal of Higher Education in the Social Sciences (LATISS) v.7, n.2
- 2012, “Semiotic Ideologies of Race: Racial Profiling and Retroduction” in Recherches sémiotiques/ Semiotic Inquiry (RS/SI) v. 32
- 2010, “Lessons in Racial Identity and Kinship” Anthropology News May 2010 See full article
- 2009, ” 'It's not really a nickname, it's a method': Local Names, State Intimates, and Kinship Register in the Irish Gaeltacht”. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology v. 19:1 See full article
- 2008, “Demographic Modernity” in Ireland: a cultural analysis of citizenship, migration, and fertility”. Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe (JSAE). v.8:1 See full article
- 2007, “Reading Dialogic Correspondence: Synge's The Aran Islands”. New Hibernia Review. Geimhreadh/Winter 11:4 See full article
- 2006, “Material Habits, Identity, Semeiotic”. Journal of Social Archaeology. 6:1 See full article
- 2005, Book Review of S. Muthu's “Enlightenment Against Empire”. American Anthropologist. v.107:2
Jeehyun Lim received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania (2010). Her areas of research include U.S. ethnic literature, comparative race/ethnicity studies, and theories of race and ethnicity. She is currently working on a book manuscript which examines post-WW II changes to U.S. race relations and literary productions through Asian American and Latino writers' engagements with bilingualism. Her scholarly work has appeared in Biography, Women's Studies Quarterly, and MELUS.
Diana Adesola Mafe teaches postcolonial literatures with an emphasis on contemporary Anglophone African literatures. She also teaches African American literatures and courses in Women’s Studies. Her work tracks the literary and cinematic roles of and for women of color in African and American discourses. She has published articles in Research in African Literatures, American Drama, English Academy Review, Frontiers, Safundi, Camera Obscura, and African Women Writing Resistance. Her book, Mixed Race Stereotypes in South African and American Literature: Coloring Outside the (Black and White) Lines (Palgrave Macmillan 2013), examines the literary stereotype of the “tragic mulatto” from a transnational perspective.
Isis Nusair, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and International Studies at Denison University. She has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Tel-Aviv University, a Master’s degree in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a doctorate in Women’s and Gender Studies from Clark University. She teaches courses on transnational feminism; gendered migration, feminism in the Middle East and North Africa; and gender, war and conflict.
Isis previously served as a researcher on women’s human rights in the Middle East and North Africa at Human Rights Watch and at the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. She is currently working on two book projects. The first focuses on the impact of war and displacement on Iraqi women refugees in Jordan and the USA, and the other on gendering the narratives of four generations of Palestinian women in Israel from 1948 until the present. She is the co-editor with Rhoda Kanaaneh of Displaced at Home: Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel. She is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. She serves on the editorial committee of the Middle East Report and is a member of Jadaliyya’s DARS team.
Talking to the Media about Veiling in the Middle East
By: Isis Nusair, Associate Professor of International Studies & Women’s Studies, Denison University
At a time when Arabs and Muslims are becoming the ultimate “enemy others,” how are we to talk about Islam and particularly Muslim women to the media? What happens if our quotes are misrepresented or taken out of context, and what if they are used to reinforce the same biases we aim to counter? How are we to deal with online media when racist websites can, with a click of a mouse, draw on our “quotes” to reinforce their own hateful agendas? It is part of our role as academics and educators to engage in public discourse. Yet, is talking to the media becoming too risky?
I have had unfortunate reason to consider these questions. I was contacted early in the fall semester of 2009 by Theodore May, an American journalist who writes for the Global Post, about veiling in Egypt. In the past, I have usually avoided talking about these issues to the media because of its historic sensationalist representations of Arab and Muslim women. However, May asked intelligent questions and seemed serious about studying the subject from all its angles. I suggested the names of people he could contact and naively expected him to share the final draft of his article with me. I emphasized during our phone conversation that writing about the veil is very complex and laden with colonial, Orientalist, and stereotypical representations of both Islam and Arabs. I also said that Muslim women veil for a variety of reasons. These could be religious as well as economic or to protect themselves from sexual harassment in the public sphere. When talking about economic reasons, I emphasized the issue of class and how some young women cannot afford designer clothes when attending college. Therefore, wearing the veil could also be about income levels in addition to a variety of other factors.
The resultant story had little to do with the words I provided to the writer. The only quote attributed to me in May's article, published online in the Global Post on September 14, 2009, (“Some Women Find Egypt a Colder Place”) was: ” 'Some women can’t afford 2 million dresses,' said Isis Nusair, a professor of women’s studies at Denison University in Ohio, 'and wearing the hijab is cheap.'
“ Not only is May’s quote sensationalist, selective, and misrepresentative of what I said and the nuances in which I presented my argument, it also is now featured on the Islamophobic website “Bare Naked Islam - It isn’t Islamophobia when they really are trying to kill you.
“ In my attempt to contact the Post and complain about the quote attributed to me, I received the following response from the editor, Barbara Martinez: “What Theo did was not cherry-picking, but choosing the most interesting and lively quote for an 800-word overview of the topic, the only thing Dr. Nusair said that he hadn't heard from other sources. Had she not said anything original, he would not have quoted her at all. The story itself puts the quote into context and presents the veil issue as complex.” The editor's implication was that I should feel grateful to have been quoted. “Grateful” hardly describes my reaction.
I am hesitant to conclude that the right solution is to avoid talking to the media. There is abundant misinformation in my field of study, concerning women in the Middle East and North Africa, and I'm sure the same is true for those who concentrate on areas all across the academic curriculum. I'd like to think that if we, as academics, spoke out more frequently in public arenas on issues of importance, then perhaps the charade of misinformation could be lifted. But how are we to feel comfortable speaking out when digital proliferation practically guarantees that an irresponsible use of our words will live forever online and might even be used to bolster ignorance? Is there a tyranny of silence brought about by the threat of misrepresented ideas? How many dedicated scholars refuse to share their expertise in the public media because it's just not worth it? These are the questions that I’ll be thinking about next time the phone rings and it's a reporter calling.
- “Negotiating Identity, Space and Place among Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan.” Doing Research in Conflict Zones: Experiences from the Field. Eds. Dyan Mazurana, Karen Jacobsen, and Lacey A. Gale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013: 56-77.
- “The Cultural Costs of the 2003 US-led Invasion of Iraq: A Conversation with Art Historian Nada Shabout.” Feminist Studies, 39 (1), 2013: 119-148. full text
- “Permanent Transients: Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan.” Middle East Report 266, 2013: 20-25. full text
- “Gendering the Narratives of Three Generations of Palestinian Women in Israel.” Displaced at Home: Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel. Eds. Rhoda Kanaaneh and Isis Nusair. New York: SUNY Press, 2010. 75-92. full text [pdf]
- “Introduction” (with Rhoda Kanaaneh) Displaced at Home: Ethnicity and Gender among Palestinians in Israel. Eds. Rhoda Kanaaneh and Isis Nusair. New York: SUNY Press, 2010. 1-18. full text [pdf]
- “Gender Mainstreaming and Feminist Organizing in the Middle East and North Africa.” Women and war in the Middle East. Eds. Nadje Al-Ali and Nicola Pratt. London: Zed Books, 2009. 131-157. full text [pdf]
- “Gendered, Racialized and Sexualized Torture at Abu-Ghraib.” Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism. Eds. Robin Riley, Chandra Mohanty, Minnie Bruce Pratt. London: Zed Books, 2008. 179-193. full text [pdf]
- “The Integration of the Human Rights of Women from the Middle East and North Africa in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership” (with Rabea Naciri). Denmark: Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, 2003.
- “Gendered Politics of Location: Generational Intersections.” Women and the Politics of Military Confrontation: Palestinian and Israeli Gendered Narratives of Dislocation. Eds. Nahla Abdo and Ronit Lentin. London: Berghahn Books, 2002. 89-99. full text [pdf]
- “Women and Militarization in Israel: Forgotten Letters in the Midst of Conflict.” Frontline Feminisms: Women, War, and Resistance. Eds. Marguerite Waller and Jennifer Rycenga. London: Routledge, 2001. 113-128. full text [pdf]
Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology K. Russell Shekha joined the faculty in 2012. He received his B.A. in Anthropology with magna cum laude honors from Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Shekha earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the Florida State University. His advanced training and specializations include the Sociology of Human Rights, the Welfare State, Collective Behavior and Social Movements, Political Sociology and Public Policy, Latin America, and Quantitative, Qualitative and Comparative-Historical Methodologies.
"At Denison University I focus specifically on providing engaged and active learning experiences to our students in the use of survey research methods to analyze social patterns and problems, the impacts of universal human rights and global/transnational social movements on society and culture, and the development of socio-political forces in Latin American societies. I work to generate excitement and understanding of American and global society and culture more broadly in our introductory course.
I extend teaching beyond the classroom to mentor our students throughout their academic careers. For example, I offer office hours on a regular basis, advise students on academic course and discipline selections, and provide tools and resources to balance academic, extracurricular, and social life. Just as importantly, I mentor seniors and summer scholars students as they develop their own independent interests culminating in top quality research projects that help prepare them for the variety of work that our majors do after they leave Denison.
My research interests are fueled by a desire to understand how universal human rights, global/transnational social movements, democratization, and globalization impact poverty/inequality, access to quality public health and educations, improvements in social welfare systems, and social equality for groups such as migrant workers, children, women, and racial/ethnic minorities. I also do research on public attitudes towards the welfare state and human rights which complement my larger interests above. I do all of this primarily using quantitative, sociological methods and blend and integrate sociological, anthropological, political economy, and international theoretical perspectives. My geographic interests are primarily in Latin America and other democratizing and developing regions, but also in the United States and Western Europe."
Professor Suzuki is an Assistant Professor in International Studies. He earned a B.A. in International Stuides from Meiji Gakuin University in Yokohama, Japan, and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. He has conducted field research in the Okinawan immigrant communities in eastern Bolivia and Okinawan-Bolivian immigrant communities in eastern Japan, and is currently interested in a transnational Okinawan peace and environmental activism. He teaches courses in introductory International Studies, globalization and diversification of Japanese society, trans-Pacific Asian communities and identities, race and class formations in a global perspective, and comparative Asian immigrant experiences in the Americas.
Jo Tague is a historian of Sub-Saharan Africa with particular interests in refugee settlement, international humanitarianism, rural development, and African independence movements. She teaches survey courses on Pre-Colonial Africa and Africa After 1800, as well as upper-level courses on Gender and Africa, Comparative African Liberation Movements, Southern Africa, and 19th and 20th Century Eastern and Central Africa.
Dr. Tague’s research explores the relationship between refugee settlement and rural development in decolonizing Africa. She is currently revising her dissertation, titled “A War to Build the Nation: Mozambican Refugees, Rural Development, and State Sovereignty in Tanzania, 1964-1975,” for publication.
Dr. Tague received her B.A. from George Washington University (1998), her M.A. from Ohio University (2003), and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis (2012). Prior to joining the faculty at Denison in the fall of 2012, she taught courses at California State University, Sacramento, as well as at California State University, Chico.
Ping Yang joined the Communication Department Fall 2009. Her teaching and scholarship focus on the intersection of culture, communication, and technology. She is currently working on projects that examine ethnic minority identity, heritage language education, and identities construction in intercultural online communication. Ping will be teaching COMM 244: Theories of Intercultural Communication and COMM 215: Communication and Technology in the fall semester. Ping has great interest in learning new cultures, languages, and people. She also enjoys reading, travelling, watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.