Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Director


Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies at the Graduate Center. She has many honors and awards, and has delivered invited lectures at universities and cultural institutions around the world. Among many publications, her prize-winning book is Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (2007). Current projects include a second edition of Golden Gulag, as well as several other book projects: Fatal Couplings: Essays on Motion, Racial Capitalism, and the Black Radical Tradition; and Big Things: Reconfigured Landscapes and the Infrastructure of Feeling. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and The Caribbean (IRADAC), and serves on the boards of many social justice, cultural, and scholarly formations in the US, Europe, and West Asia. She was a founding member of Critical Resistance, California Prison Moratorium Project, and other grassroots organizations.

Peter Hitchcock, Associate DirectorPeter Hitchcock


Peter Hitchcock is Professor of English, Women’s Studies, and Film Studies at the City University of New York, Graduate School and University Center, and at Baruch College, CUNY. He has also been a Visiting Professor at Shanghai University. His most recent publications are The Long Space: Transnationalism and Postcolonial Form (Stanford University Press, 2010) and Imaginary States: Studies in Cultural Transnationalism (University of Illinois Press, 2003). He has been the Associate Director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics since 2008.

Mary Taylor, Assistant DirectorMary


Mary N. Taylor is Assistant Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  Her research focuses on sites, techniques and politics of civic cultivation, social movement, and cultural management; the relationship of ethics and aesthetics to nationalism and cultural differentiation, and people’s movements in interwar, socialist and post-socialist East-Central Europe and the Balkans. She specializes in studying, theorizing, and organizing radical and alternative pedagogical activities under different conditions of urbanization.  Cofounder of the Open University, Brooklyn, and of Brooklyn Laundry Social Club, she is on the editorial collective of LeftEast, and an organizer of an annual autonomous summer school that takes place in different locations in ‘postsocialist Eastern Europe’.  Currently, she is working on her book The Aesthetic Nation; Folk Dance, Populism and the Ethical Politics of Citizenship in Hungary. She has taught anthropology at Hunter College, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, and urban methods and theory in the Design and Urban Ecologies program at Parsons School of Design.

David Harvey, Director of Research


dharveysunDavid Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York (CUNY) and author of various books, articles, and lectures. He is the author of Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism(Profile Books, 2014), one of The Guardian’s(“) Best Books of 2011, The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism (Oxford University Press, 2010). Other books include A Companion to Marx’s Capital, Limits to Capital, and Social Justice and the City. Professor Harvey has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital for nearly 40 years. His lectures on Marx’s Volumes I and II are available for download (free) on his website.  He was director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics from 2008-2014.




Advisory Board

Faculty Fellows

Amy Chazkel
Amy Chazkel is Associate Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center.  A specialist in modern Brazil, she teaches courses in various fields that include Latin American history, urban history, law and society in Latin America, historical methodology, and comparative slavery.  Her book, Laws of Chance: Brazil’s Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Modern Public Life in Brazil (Duke University Press, 2011), was co-winner of the J. Willard Hurst Prize for Best Book in Sociological History, winner of New England Council of Latin American Studies Best Book Prize, and received Honorable Mention for Latin American Studies Association/ Brazil Section Best Book Prize.  A Portuguese translation of Laws of Chance is forthcoming in 2014 with Editora da Encamp. She has published articles on the history of penal institutions, illicit gambling, urban crime and society in modern Brazil, a collection of essays on police museums in Latin America, and co-edited issues of the Radical History Review that explore the privatization of common property in global perspective, Haitian history in global perspective, and the history of sport. She has held postdoctoral and faculty fellowships and visiting scholar positions at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard, the Institute for Latin American Studies/ Center for Brazilian Studies at Columbia, and the Center for the Humanities and the Center for Place, Culture and Politics and the Committee on Globalization and Social Change at CUNY. She served as Visiting Professor of History at the Universidade Federal de Santa Caterina in 2013. She is a member of the Radical History Review Editorial Collective and is currently serving as Co-Chair of the Collective. She is at work on two books: a study of the social, legal, and labor history of the nighttime in the nineteenth-century Brazilian city, and a co-edited anthology of primary sources from Rio’s origins to the present day (forthcoming in 2015).

Helen Kapstein

 HelenHelen Kapstein is a tenured postcolonial scholar in the English Department at John Jay College, CUNY. She earned her PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Her areas of interest include South African literature and culture, cultural and media studies, and tourism and museum studies. Her current projects include A New Kind of Safari, on islands, tourism, and nation-building, a series of articles on hysteria as a mode of transitional resistance, and a project on Nigerian short stories as saboteurs of the petroleum industry’s agenda. Her work has appeared in English Studies in Canada, Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies, and Studies in the Humanities, among other venues.

Jane Pollard

PollardJane Pollard is Professor of Economic Geography in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University, UK. She has degrees in Geography (BA, Sheffield University UK, MA McMaster University, Canada) and Urban Planning (UCLA, USA). Her recent research interests span postcolonial political economy, financializing capitalism and the economic, political and social constitution of financial networks. While in the USA, she will be researching sub-prime debt markets and questions around institutional diversity and credit provision for low income groups.

Ariana Martinez


Ariana Martinez is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at LaGuardia Community College. She received her PhD from Rutgers University in urban planning and geography. She has analyzed the criminalization of Latino immigrant communities in municipalities where both space and citizenship are hotly contested. Martinez’s current scholarship focuses on national immigration policy, the urban transformation and empowerment of Latino communities, and LGBTQ immigrant enclaves. She is happy to call Queens
her home.

Christopher Schmidt

christopherChristopher Schmidt is an Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. He is the author of a critical study, The Poetics of Waste: Queer Excess in Stein, Ashbery, Schuyler, and Goldsmith, and a book of poems, The Next in Line. For the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, he is researching the relationship between economic waste and liberal sympathy in Lucy Walker’s documentary Waste Land and in contemporary poetries.

Lucia Trimbur
Lucia Trimbur is an Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College, the City University of New York (CUNY) and Doctoral Faculty at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Her research and teaching interests include race and racisms, gender, and class stratification; the sociology of crime and punishment; sport studies; mining and occupational disease in South Africa; and ethnographic field methods

 Susanna Schaller

schaller-2-pictureSusanna Schaller’s work examines the construction of ideologies of place. Her work historically situates the use of business improvement districts as governance strategies to revitalize neighborhoods within the policies and planning discourses implicated in producing segregated urban spaces in US cities. In New York, she served as Senior Planner to the Municipal Art Society and worked extensively with a community development credit union in Upper Manhattan. With the support of the Colin Powell School at City College, Susanna introduced community-based research into her courses and hopes to further integrate practice, research and student- learning.

Education                                                                                                                                       Ph.D., City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY                                                    M.A. and M.C.R.P., Latin American Studies and Community and Regional Planning, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM                                                                                                    B.A., English Literature, Barnard College, New York, NY

Postdoctoral Fellow

David Stein 

David Stein_academic photo-3David Stein received his PhD from University of Southern California’s Department of American Studies and Ethnicity in 2014. Trained in interdisciplinary methods, he is a historian whose work focuses on the interconnection between social movements and political economic relations in post-1865 U.S. history. His fields of interest include African American Studies, history of capitalism, working-class and labor history, policing and imprisonment, Urban Studies, and feminist and heterodox economics. He is currently working on his book manuscript, Fearing Inflation, Inflating Fears: The End of Full Employment and the Rise of the Carceral State, which focuses on the politics and economics of unemployment from 1929-1979. The project details the efforts of Black freedom movement organizers to create governmental guarantees to a job or income, and how such efforts were stifled. He co-edited Abolition Now!: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex (2008), and his scholarship has appeared in Working U.S.A.: The Journal of Labor and SocietySocial Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict and World Order; and Lateral.. He co-hosts and produces Who Makes Cents?: A History of Capitalism Podcast with Betsy Beasley.

Dissertation Writing Fellows

Briana Brickley

BrianaBriana is a doctoral candidate in the English program at the CUNY Graduate Center, and a graduate teaching/writing fellow at Hunter College, where she has taught courses on twentieth century multi-ethnic American literature, minority discourse, critical theory, and postcolonial literature. She received a master’s degree in literature from New York University, and a bachelor of arts in English and Black Studies from UC Santa Barbara. Her current research focuses on various forms of inequality that get exaggerated under global capitalism—from the economic, to the corporeal, to the disciplinary—and employs the body as a critical analytic with which to read a contemporary, transnational literary archive. Drawing from theories of affect and embodiment, queer of color critique, feminist theory, aesthetic philosophy, and postcolonial theory, her teaching and scholarship address how the dematerializing trends of neoliberal multiculturalism manifest in institutional bodies, bodies of literature, and the literal bodies of contemporary subjects living under increasingly limited conditions of possibility and existence.

José A. Laguarta Ramirez                                                                                    SONY DSC

José A. Laguarta Ramírez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He obtained his B.A. in Anthropology from Columbia University, his J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico, and his M.Phil. from The Graduate Center. He has taught at Lehman College, the University of Puerto Rico Secondary School, and Pace University, and worked as a researcher in diverse academic and professional settings. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at The Graduate Center. His main areas of interest are social movements and Latin America.

Laurel Mei Turbin


Laurel Mei Turbin is a doctoral candidate in Geography earning a certificate in American Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center.  For her dissertation research, she is gathering community narratives of militarization in Wai’anae, a rural and heavily militarized area of Hawai’i.  Her work examines the intersections of state-sanctioned racial violence, settler colonialism, and environmental racism through developing an ethnography of Indigenous cosmologies and other placemaking discourses and practices.  Prior to her studies at the Graduate Center, she earned her Masters in Public Health at Columbia University, and has worked with New York City community organizations including CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities and WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

Priya Chandrasekaran

Priya Chandrasekaran joined the Program in Anthropology after a decade as an outdoor educator and leader of service learning programs throughout the Global South. Her research focuses on women farmers and rainfed grains in the Himalayan foothills and explores how debt, obligation, risk, and dependence factor into the political, economic, and ecological imaginaries and anxieties of projects for “food security,” “food sovereignty,” and “biodiversity.” She has taught Humanities and Anthropology at Pratt Institute and Hunter College, and has integrated technology into environmental science courses at Baruch College.


Visiting Scholars

Melanie E. L. Bush

Melanie bushMelanie E. L. Bush, (Anthropology, 2002) is the author of Everyday Forms of Whiteness: Understanding Race in a “Post-Racial” World, 2011 Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (second edition), and a variety of other publications. She is co-author with Roderick D. Bush of Tensions in the American Dream: Rhetoric, Reverie or Reality? (forthcoming 2014 / Temple University Press). She is an Associate Professor in Anthropology/Sociology at Adelphi University; and has been active for many years in the struggle for justice and social change.

Sarah Keenan


Sarah Keenan is lecturer in Law at SOAS, University of London.  She teaches Property, Feminist Legal Theory and Indigenous Land Rights and is also engaged in community-based struggles around each of these issues.  Her research draws on legal geography, feminist and critical race theory to think through the relationship between law, space and belonging (this is explored in her book ‘Subversive Property: Law and the Production of Spaces of Belonging’. In particular, Sarah has written on the role of long term leases of Aboriginal land in Australia’s Northern Territory Intervention, of the impact of identity testing in sexuality-based asylum claims, and of the conceptual and political links between property and governance, and between ownership and membership.

Sandra GuinandSandra_G

Sandra Guinand is an urban geographer and research associate at Eirest-Irest, Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and Ouvdd, Université de Lausanne. She holds her PHD from the Géosciences de l’environnement Faculty, Université de Lausanne and Université de Paris I. Her dissertation delt with urban regeneration projects and their ability to integrate memory, the meanings of  territories and people’s experience in a context of globalization, tourist flows and metropolisation. She recently co-edited a book “qualité urbaine, justice spatiale et projet” (PPUR editor). At CUNY she will work as a Swiss National Fund fellow on the material and immaterial dimensions constitutive of the memory/(ies) of festival market places as a mean to shed light on the socio-cultural and economic trajectories of these type of public-private partnership projects and the way they shape public space and the urban landscape.

Marina Sitrin
Marina received her PhD in Global Sociology from Stony Brook University and her JD in International  Women’s Human Rights from CUNY Law School. She is a movement participant, scholar and writer.

Marina is the author of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, Horizontalism is an oral history of the autonomous and affective based movements that emerged in Argentina in the wake of the 2001 economic collapse. In 2012 Marina published Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism & Autonomy in Argentina , which explores in depth the challenges the movements in Argentina have faced in the creation of autonomy and self-organization.  Also in 2012 she co-authored, with Dario Azzellini, Occupying Language: The Secret Rendezvous with History and the Present. Occupying Language describes some of the main areas around which the current movements organize and grounds these experiences from movements in the Americas from which we draw upon in our current movements, from assembly formations to the importance of territory and love. Marina and Dario have co-written and edited, They Can’t Represent US! Reinventing Democracy From Greece to Occupy  to be released in June 2013 with Verso Press. This book is based in the voices of movement participants from Occupy, Greece, Spain, Argentina and Venezuela. It approaches democracy as a question – seeing the movements as rejecting the representational form and creating something else.

Marina’s work focuses on social movements and justice, specifically looking at new forms of social organization, such as autogestión, horizontalidad, prefigurative politics and new affective social relationships. While much of her most recent published work has been on the contemporary social movements in Argentina, she has worked throughout the Americas, Caribbean and Japan. Her current research includes the global mass assembly movements for ‘real democracy’ (from Greece, Spain and the US to Portugal, Brazil and Turkey).

Past Fellows