Thanks to generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Queens College has undertaken an exciting three-year initiative to enhance the diversity of its faculty. The college will pursue this goal through research and program support of junior faculty on the tenure track as well as through the creation of an academic setting to support the identification, development, and recruitment of persons who will add diversity to its faculty.  Project activities include the following:

  • Faculty Research Fellowships
  • Forums, exhibits, and conferences on diversity
  • Networking events
  • Mentoring of undergraduates and graduate students
  • Partnerships across CUNY
Model Minority Theory And Higher Education

QC President, Frank Wu, speaks on diversity issues in higher education


The QC Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) and Department of Political Science Speaker Series Present:

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2021 ∙ 12:15 – 1:30 PM EST (FREE HOUR)

Chile Rewrites Its Constitution: A Turning Point for Democracy?

by Dr. Jennifer Pribble, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Richmond

Dr. Jennifer Pribble, University of Richmond, will discuss the wave of violent public protests which occurred in Chile over the past few years, and resulted in a new Constituent Assembly. This is unprecedented for the South American country, as one of the wealthiest in Latin America and one which had not dealt with many of the institutional legacies of the authoritarian regime of Pinochet.
Prof. Jorge Alves, Political Science and LALS Advisory Board, will be the moderator.
This event is free and open to the general public. Please register using the link above to receive details via email for how to join the virtual discussion. 
This event will be recorded and a link to the recording will be sent out afterward to all who register.
You can submit questions to the speaker in advance during the registration process. A live Q&A will also be available during the event with an option to submit questions in real-time.

Mar 1 (Wednesday), 12:15-1:30 pm

Women Movements and Reproductive Rights Reforms in Argentina


Natalie Alcoba, Journalist, Buenos Aires (formerly Vice Canada) (Website) (Twitter)

Dr. Cora Fernández Anderson, Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics, Mount Holyoke College (Google Scholar)


 This panel focuses on the recent legal abortion reforms which make Argentina one of the few countries in Latin America in which women may now legally choose to interrupt a pregnancy without specific justifications. Our panelists will provide both an account of the passage of the law and its immediate antecedents and a broader perspective on the mobilizational strategies of women movements in Argentina as well as the contextual factors which made this possible. The panelists will also consider the aftermath of the reforms in Argentina and the implications for the rest of Latin America.

Cora Fernandez Anderson is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics at Mount Holyoke College. Her research explores social mobilization as a possible path towards social change. She is the author of the book Fighting for Abortion Rights in Latin America. Social Movements, State Allies and Institutions. 

Natalie Alcoba is an Argentinian-Canadian journalist whose work stretches across form and geography. She launched VICE News Canada in 2015 and served as its Managing Editor for four years, shepherding coverage on national issues such as the crisis of unsafe drinking water in Indigenous communities, the opioid epidemic and the legalization of weed. In 2019, Natalie returned to reporting and her roots. She is currently based in Buenos Aires. She has written powerful pieces covering the women’s movement in Argentina for Vice, The Daily Telegraph, The Globe and Mail, Al Jazeera, and WNYC’s The Takeaway.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 • 3:10–4:15 pm

Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy and Premature Birth

by Dána-Ain Davis

(Urban Studies, Queens College)

Professor Dana-Ain Davis was born in New York. After college she worked at the Village Voice and then went into the nonprofit world, working at the YWCA of the City of New York, WNYC-TV, The Village Centers for Care, and Bronx AIDS Services. Davis received her
PhD in anthropology and is currently associate chair of the graduate program in urban affairs at Queens College and is on the faculty of the PhD Program in anthropology at the Graduate Center.
She has served as an active member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), president of the Association of Black Anthropologists, co-editor of Transforming Anthropology with Aimee Cox, and was the program chair with Alaka Wali for the AAA’s 112th annual meeting in Chicago. She is the author of Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth (2019) and Feminist Ethnography: Thinking Through Methodologies, Challenges, and Possibilities (2016).
Click here to register.

March 8 (Monday), 12:15-1:30 pm

What’s Behind Bolivia’s Pandemic Woes?

 Dr. Jorge Derpic, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Georgia

Dr. Calla Hummel Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Miami (Google Scholar)


This panel will provide a nuanced account of the social, economic and political factors behind Bolivia’s struggles with COVID-19 pandemic, which generated unprecedented economic strain on the most vulnerable populations and on a poorly prepared health system. Dr. Hummel will share results of recent research examining how low government legitimacy is linked to variation in subnational government policy responses to the pandemic and citizen compliance. Dr. Derpic will link current struggles to the broader social and political crises which have been exacerbated since the contested election that led to the ouster of Evo Morales and the reopening of longstanding ethnic wounds in response to the interim Jeanine Añez government. What prospects does the recent electoral victory of the MAS bring for social healing, economic recovery and justice?

Jorge C. Derpic is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Georgia. His work deals with collective violence responses to crime in urban and rural Bolivia.

Calla Hummel is an assistant professor in the University of Miami’s Department of Political Science. She studies when and why informal workers organize and the impacts that the world’s two billion informal workers have on local and national politics. She is also tracking COVID-19 policy responses as the Bolivia team leader with the University of Miami’s Observatory for the Containment of COVID-19 in the Americas. Dr. Hummel uses statistical, ethnographic, survey, computational, and formal methods. She conducts research with street vendor unions in La Paz, Bolivia and São Paulo, Brazil. Brazil. Her research has been published in Lancet Global Health, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Latin American Politics and Society, and Latin American Research Review, among others, and supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Washington, and the University of Miami. She received her PhD from the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thursday, March 18, 2021 • 3:10–4:15 pm

Redefining Allyship: Racial and Gender Equity in Academia

by Tsedale M. Melaku

This moment, compounded by a global pandemic and racial upheaval, bears deeply upon how we in academia perpetuate racial and gender inequality. As we navigate the terrain of political, social, and economic realities, we must begin to center how these systems impact our experiences in academia. One of the ways we can make racial and gender equity intrinsic to organizations is by centering the work each of us do to address inequities. Allyship is integral to this process, holding stakeholders accountable and focusing on doing the work.

Tsedale M. Melaku is a sociologist, postdoctoral research fellow at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and author of You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer: Black Women and Systemic Gendered Racism, which reflects the emphasis of her scholarly interests in
race, gender, class, workplace inequality, diversity, and occupations.
You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer focuses on how race and gender play a crucial role in the experiences of Black, Indigenous, and women of color in traditionally white institutional spaces. Melaku’s work has been featured in the Harvard
Business Review, New York Times, Bloomberg Law, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, NBC Left Field, the TODAY Show, Fortune, Fair Observer, and other outlets. Her interdisciplinary research on women in the workplace unites three strands of significant sociological inquiry: diversity in the workplace, women in positions of leadership, and the impact of intersectional identities on advancement opportunity.
Melaku is currently working on her second book, The Handbook on Workplace
Diversity and Stratification. She received her PhD and MPhil in sociology from
The Graduate Center, CUNY, and her BA in sociology and Africana studies from New York University. Learn more about her research and interests at and on Twitter: @TsedaleMelaku.

Click here to register.

March 22 (Monday), 12:15-1:30 pm

Caribbean Women and Anti-Imperialist Organizing: Scenes from the 1800s to the Present.

Prof. Sandy Plácido, Assistant Professor of History, Queens College and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow


Sandy Plácido is an assistant professor in the History Department at Queens College, and a researcher at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. She received her Ph.D. from the American Studies Program at Harvard University. Her research and teaching examine social movements in the Americas, with a special focus on the contributions of women and people of African and Caribbean descent. Her book manuscript, A Global Vision: Dr. Ana Livia Cordero and the Puerto Rican Liberation Struggle, emphasizes the influential role of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans in Cold War-era freedom struggles by centering the life of Ana Livia Cordero, a physician who forged connections between anti-imperialist movements across the Third World. Placido worked to preserve Cordero’s archival collection at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, and she has received support for her research from the Ford and Mellon Foundations.

Thursday, March 25, 2021 • 3:10–4:15 pm

Exploring Black New York History and Archives: Solomon Riley, Real Estate Entrepreneur, and the
Jim Crow East Bronx of the 1920s

by Kara Schlichting (History, Queens College)

Solomon Riley was an influential black Harlem real estate entrepreneur in the 1920s. In this decade of rapid Black population growth, Riley announced he would meet Harlemites’ growing demand for recreation by first opening an amusement park and then a beach club in the East Bronx. But white New Yorkers systematically fought Riley’s efforts to secure a place for Black excursionists in the city’s coastal leisure economy.

The history of Riley’s career as an ambitious and determined developer is a window into 1920s Harlem and how racial segregation shaped greater New York. The work of finding his story in the city’s records is an example of the ways in which archives and news media (in the past and present) have the power to constrain or facilitate histories of Black New York.

Click here to register.

April 26 (Monday), 12:15-1:30 pm

Who are the Republican Puerto Ricans (in FL)?

Prof. Vanessa Perez, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Queens College, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow


Vanessa M. Perez is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Queens College. She specializes in American politics, with a focus on electoral institutions, campaigns, race and ethnicity, political behavior, health care policy, and research methods. Dr. Perez also previously worked in the nonprofit sector in Washington, D.C. She is currently working on two projects, one on the impact of strict voting laws on turnout through a historical perspective and another analyzing the voting behavior of recent Puerto Rican arrivals to Florida in the 2018 midterm elections. Dr. Perez holds a PhD, MPhil, and BA in Political Science from Columbia University.

May 10 (Monday), 12:15-1:30 pm

Language, Diaspora and Online Affective Stance in the Venezuelan Diaspora

Prof. Juan Luis Rodríguez Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Queens College, and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow


This talk will explore affective stancetaking in online performances of Venezuelan Identity in the US and Chile. It will show how a Venezuelan diasporic identity is being formed by the mobilization of linguistic forms in different linguistic contexts across the continent.

Juan Luis Rodríguez is Assistant Professor of anthropology at Queens College, CUNY. His  expertise is on semiotic and linguistic ideologies, specifically how these are mobilized to produce public political life in the process of state formation and the formation of diasporic identities. He is interested in how material circumstances affect the way in which politicians, and the voters who support them, conceive of the linguistic practices and performances that sustain their relationship. His work relies on a discourse-centered approach to language and culture taking instances of language use, and performative practices in context, as the starting point of his ethnographic research.

Recent Events:

December 3rd, 2020: Queens College Student-lead Panel Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion in QC Curriculum with Stephen R. Jackson, Ashley P. Fils-Aime, Tamara Rice, Christina Rivera, Brandon Tatis, and Sujen Wu Wu, moderated by Karl A. Mitchell.

November 17, 2020: Discussion with Professor Doug MacKay on The Ethics of the COVID-19 vaccine

November 10, 2020: Queens College panel discussion with Drs. Dr. Fiona Vernal and Karren Dunkley on “Bringing Fresh Perspectives to Diversity And Inclusion in Education.” 

Monday Nov 23rd 12:15-1:15 pm: Latin American and Latino Studies Program Lecture and Discussion, Prof. Carla Santamaria, Brooklyn College, “The New Keys of History: Reggaeton as a Mirror of the Puerto Rican Socio-Political Context in the 21 Century.”​

Meet Deidre B. Flowers, Acting Director of Africana Studies:

Professor Deirdre Flowers received her Ph. D. from Columbia University in 2017. She  is a Historian whose research interests include African American History, African American Women in Education, Women’s Education,
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Student Protest and Activism, and Higher Education
Leadership.  She has recently published an article: “A School for Modern Times: Mildred Louise Johnson and the Founding of The Modern School of
Harlem,” in The Journal of African American History

This year Professor Deidre Flowers selection for the eight cohort of A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholars program. During this time she will be conducting oral histories from students, faculty/staff, and parents associated with The Modern School its founder Mildred Louise Johnson.

Meet Mellon Faculty Fellows:

Anna Bounds (Assistant Professor, Sociology) received Mellon support for her project “Reexamining Gender Roles and Race in the American Prepper  Movement: Rejecting the Lone Wolf Stereotype and Recognizing the Power of the Lioness.”

Anna Maria Bounds holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Public Policy from The New School for Public Engagement. Her areas of interest include Urban Tourism, Urban Subcultures, and Public Space. Her current research project is an ethnography that focuses on the rise of Doomsday Preppers, the urban survivalist subculture. Two recent projects include a case study about the cancellation of the 2013 New York City Marathon in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (an analysis of local resistance to tourism) and a case study that examines plans for the development Governors Island as a tourist destination. She also earned an M.A. in Writing from Old Dominion University. She is finishing her first work of fiction, an epistolary novel called Reading Between the Lines.

Her new book, “Bracing for the Apocalypse” has been published by Routledge Press this fall.

Charlez Gomez (Assistant Professor, Sociology) has been awarded Mellon support for his research on the global flows of knowledge, as well as the social and political ramifications of the globalization of science and higher education.

Professor Gomez is a sociologist who is broadly interested in the social and political factors that shape the global flows of knowledge, as well as the social and political ramifications of the globalization of science and higher education. He specializes in three areas of sociology: (1) the sociology of knowledge and science; (2) global and transnational political sociology; and (3) organizational sociology.

Namhee Han

Assistant Professor, Classical, Middle Eastern, and Asian Languages and Cultures.

Research Project: Cold War Transnationalism and Widescreen Culture in South Korea and Japan, 1950s to 1970s. 

Professor Han’s teaching and research interests include the cultural history of modern Korea, the theories and histories of Korean and East Asian cinemas, technology and modernity, censorship in cultural industries, the Vietnam War and Cold War Korean popular media, and postcolonial visual archives. Her works appear in Acta Koreana, Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, Voyage to Discovery, and “Postwar” Japanese Cinema.

She is currently working on two research projects. First, she is completing her book manuscript, Between Screens: Cold War Transnationalism and Widescreen Culture in South Korea and Japan, 1950s to 1970s. She argues that South Korean and Japanese widescreen works fall under both aesthetic and political realms, where ruptures and discontinuities from colonialism to the global Cold War were articulated in the transnational and intermedial screen practices between cinema and television and across wartime and postwar representational modes. Second, she is developing the second book project tentatively entitled, Networked Mourning: Visual Colonial Korea in Digital East Asia. Investigating the interregional and cross-media presence of digitally-mediated visual works of and about colonial Korea in history museums and at historic sites in East Asia, she explores how digitally restored and displayed colonial documents offer affectively networked, but politically contentious, viewing experiences.

Professor Han’s works comprise interdisciplinary, transnational, and cross-media approaches to the intersection of technology, moving image works, and the public—the location where modern Korean aesthetic, social, and political practices interconnect. Actively integrating the academic into the public realm, she is also committed to serving the community by organizing film screening events and being involved in international cultural organizations.


Shareah Taleghani

Assistant Professor, Classical, Middle Eastern, and Asian Languages and Cultures

Research Project: prison literature in Syria and its relationship to political dissent, human rights, and Arabic literary experimentalism.

Professor Taleghani’s research focuses on modern Arabic literature and Middle Eastern cultural studies.  Her research interests include the relationships between cultural production, aesthetics and political resistance, narrative theory and human rights discourse, and translation studies.   She is currently working on a book manuscript about contemporary prison literature and human rights in Syria.


Prof. Taleghani teaches modern Arabic literature in translation, images of the Middle East (with a focus on The 1001 Nights), advanced Arabic reading, Islamic  civilization and literature, and a new literature and film class on dissidence and revolution in the Middle East.

Selected Publications

“‘Axising Iran’:  The Politics of Domestication and Cultural Translation” in Between the Middle East and the Americas:  The Cultural Politics of Diaspora in the Americas, University of Michigan, 2013.

“The Cocoons of Language:  Torture, Voice, Event” in Human Rights, Suffering, and Aesthetics in Political Prison Literature, Lexington, 2012.​​

Brais Outes-Leon

Assistant Professor, Hispanic Languages and Literature.

Research Project: Modernismo and the historical avant-gardes in Latin America Latin America from 1870 to 1935.

Sandy Placido

Assistant Professor, History Department  and CUNY Dominican Studies Institute

Research Project: “The Ana Livia Cordero and Proyecto Piloto Documentary.” This project explores the life of Ana Livia Cordero, a Puerto Rican physician who forged connections between anti-imperialist movements across the Third World. Dr. Plácido worked to preserve Ana Livia Cordero’s archival collection at The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, located at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Dr. Sandy Plácido is the inaugural CUNY DSI/Queens College Dominican Studies Scholar at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute, and an assistant professor in the History Department at Queens College, City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. from the American Studies Program at Harvard University. Dr. Plácido is a historian whose work focuses on women, the Hispanophone Caribbean, the United States, and anti-imperialism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

Dr. Plácido is working on two books: a co-authored volume with Drs. Ramona Hernández and Diógenes Céspedes that focuses on women who fundamentally shaped Dominican society from the early 1800s to the present; and a sole-authored manuscript that centers the life of Ana Livia Cordero, a Puerto Rican physician who forged connections between anti-imperialist movements across the Third World. Dr. Plácido worked to preserve Ana Livia Cordero’s archival collection at The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, located at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Juan Rodriguez Aponte

Assistant Professor, Anthropology

Mellon support is provided for his ethnographic and sociocultural research on Venezuelan diaspora in Chile.

Professor Rodriguez Aponte studies how material circumstances affect the way in which politicians, and the voters who support them, conceive of the linguistic practices and performances that sustain their relationship. His work relies on a discourse-centered approach to language and culture taking instances of language use, and performative practices in context, as the starting point of his ethnographic research. He combines this approach with an interest in practices of translation and semiotic transduction to understand how indigenous languages in Venezuela are translated into Spanish and how Spanish have been translated into Warao, an indigenous language of the Orinoco Delta in eastern Venezuela. He takes these translation practices as part of a more general process of transduction of political speech into political influence through the distribution of state resources.

His recent book, Language and Revolutionary Magic in the Orinoco Delta (Bloomsbury Academic Press), explores the role of translation in the process of transforming oil revenue into political influence arguing that these are interconnected processes that help us understand the place of Warao speakers in the context of the Venezuelan public political sphere.

Fidel Tavarez
(Assistant Professor, History)
Mellon research fellowship  has been offered  to support his research on history of early modern Spanish Atlantic. Professor Tavarez is a historian of the early modern Spanish Atlantic with a particular focus on issues of political economy, political culture, and imperial governance. Broadly speaking, his research explores how the Hispanic world—including Spain and Latin America—governed, harnessed, and adapted to the effects of early modern globalization and capitalism. Additionally, his research and teaching interests include the Age of Revolutions, slavery and the Atlantic world, and the history of knowledge.  

Megan Victor (Assistant Professor, Anthropology)

Mellon funding supports her research on historic archaeology of Chinese Labor Quarters in the early  United States.

Professor Victor is an anthropological archaeologist with a focus on historical archaeology, encompassing sites from between roughly 1500 and 1900 AD. Specifically, she examines three main topics: 1.) commensality, which is the way that people interact through food and drink and all of the negotiations and nostalgia that comes with those interactions; 2.) the archaeology of alcohol within drinking spaces, such as taverns, saloons, and coffeehouses; and 3.) the archaeology of frontier spaces.

Professor Victor received her Ph.D. in 2018, both from the William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  Most recently, she was a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Archaeology Center at Stanford University in northern California, where she directed the archaeological excavations of the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters (ACLQ) Project, which examined the daily lives of the Chinese workers who lived at the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters (1880s to 1925) and were employed at Leland Stanford’s Palo Alto Stock Farm and, later, at Stanford University during its early years. The ACLQ Project focused on these workers’ quotidian activities, with the specific aim of understanding what these individuals were doing when they were not laboring, including commensal politics and leisure. This research also focused on understanding the workers’ living conditions, what they ate and drank, and whether there were any women or children present at the Labor Quarters.

Hongwei Xu

Associate Professor, Sociology 

Research Project: Income Segregation in American Metropolitan Neighborhoods:  1980-2016.

Professor Xu is a sociologist and demographer by training. My research interests include: (1) social and environmental determinants of population health and aging; (2) aging population; and (3) child development.