2019-2020 Fellows

Seminar Theme: Mobilizations and Migrations

Faculty Fellows

Nerve V. Macaspac

College of Staten Island, CUNY
Email: nerve.macaspac@csi.cuny.edu
“Mobility, Mobilization, and Peace”

Bio: Nerve V. Macaspac is a political geographer with a regional focus in Southeast Asia. He teaches Urban Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at CUNY College of Staten Island (CSI) where he is an Asst. Professor of Geography. His book, tentatively titled Insurgent Peace: Spatialities of Peace at a Time of War, examines the geographies of peace and peacebuilding through the phenomenon of community-led demilitarized geographic areas popularly known as peace zones within an active armed conflict. Based on five years of research and supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), International Peace Research Association (IPRA), and the American Association of Geographers (AAG), his book examines the the kinds of work required from civilians in maintaining the peace zone and protecting their own lives during war, particularly when state and non-state armed actors fail to do so. His research is situated within the local and spatial turn in peacebuilding and the emergent field of peace geographies. More broadly, his research contributes to knowledge of the concept and practices of peace beyond the dominant definition of the absence of violence, as well as peacebuilding as a state-centric project of conflict resolution. He uses the term “insurgent peace” to refer to peace as community-led processes of refusal of the spatial logics of insurgency and counter-insurgency and the quotidian work of civilian communities in carving alternative political spaces and futures during war. With the increasing number of civilians fleeing from wars and violence in many parts of the world, Nerve explores mobility as simultaneous processes of civilian protection during war and as processes that challenge state-centric peace, order and security. As people move and become internally displaced peoples, asylum seekers or refugees, many remain confronted by violence and exclusion as they cross borders, revealing how a state of exception surpasses a state of war as a source of precarity and civilian deaths. At stake in this inquiry is an understanding of mobility as a site to study peace and how mobilities can structure visions, practices and spaces of peace and peaceful futures amid the geographies of war and violence.

Shirley P. Leyro
Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
Email: sleyro@bmcc.cuny.edu

Bio: Born in the Bronx, Shirley Leyro was raised in the Castle Hill Projects. She earned her PhD and is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Borough of Manhattan Community College – CUNY. A critical criminologist, Dr. Leyro’s research focuses on deportation effects – including the impact of fear resulting from the vulnerability to deportation. Her research interests include immigration, deportation, social disorganization, and the impact of all the above on mental health. Professor Leyro is currently working on a research project exploring the impact of deportability on belonging and membership of CUNY noncitizen students. She has a blog: The Académica: A Blog About This Latinx’s Struggles as I Navigate the Halls of the Ivory Tower, and is also a member of the Leadership Team for the Latina Researchers Network. Dr. Leyro is a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, and is also part of the social media campaign: #thisiswhataprofessorlookslike. She is co-editor of “Outside Justice: Immigration and the Criminalizing Impact of Changing Policy and Practice.”

Shawna M. Brandle

Kingsborough Community College
Bio: is an Associate Professor at Kingsborough Community College.  She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  Her research areas include human rights, media coverage of human rights and refugee issues, and Open Educational Resources in higher education. She is the author of Television News and Human Rights in the US & UK: The Violations Will Not Be Televised (Routledge 2015) and the Faculty Leader for OERs at Kingsborough.  She spends her spare time making art with her family. She can be found far too frequently at @ProfBrandle on Twitter.


Red Washburn
Email: Red.Washburn@kbcc.cuny.edu

Bio: Red Washburn, PhD, is Associate Professor of English and Director of Women’s and
Gender Studies at Kingsborough Community College. They also are Adjunct Associate
Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center.
Red’s articles appear in Journal for the Study of Radicalism, Women’s Studies: An
Interdisciplinary Journal, Journal of Lesbian Studies, Theory and Praxis: Women’s and
Gender Studies at Community Colleges, and Introduction to Women’s, Gender, and
Sexuality Studies: Interdisciplinary and Intersectional Approaches. Their poetry
collection Crestview Tree Woman was published by Finishing Line Press. They are the
co-editor of Sinister Wisdom’s Celebrating the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival,
Dump Trump: Legacies of Resistance, and 45 Years: A Tribute to Lesbian Herstory
Archives. Red is a coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives and of the Rainbow
Book Fair, on the board of directors of Sinister Wisdom and the Center for LGBTQ
Studies (CLAGS), and a review chair for the National Women’s Studies Association

George Fragopoulos
Graduate Center CUNY
Email: gfragopoulos@gc.cuny.edu

Sherry Millner
Email: sherry.millner@csi.cuny.edu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Mythri Prasad-Aleyamma
Email: mprasad1@gc.cuny.edu
“Migration and Production of Space: Labour, Capital and the State in Kerala, India”

Bio: Mythri is a critical geographer whose research interests primarily revolve  around migration and urban transformation in contemporary India. She received her PhD from the Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Building on political economy, radical geography and ethnographic methods, her doctoral research traces the different types of recruitment of migrants and local Malayali workers that reflect political contests and settlements between trade unions, corporate construction companies and recruitment agencies.  She is currently working on her book manuscript based on her dissertation. Among her recent publications are two articles: “Cards and Carriers: Politics of identification in Kerala, South India” in Contemporary South Asia and “The Cultural Politics of Wages: Ethnography of construction work in Kochi, India” in Contributions to Indian Sociology.

Dissertation Writing Fellows

Sarah Molinari
Email: smolinari@gradcenter.cuny.edu
The Politics of Debt and Disaster in Puerto Rico: Contesting Debt and Rebuilding Community After Hurricane Maria

Bio: Sarah Molinari is a doctoral candidate in Cultural Anthropology at the Graduate Center. Her work addresses post-hurricane recovery justice in Puerto Rico and how grassroots efforts attempt to reconfigure what debt and disaster recovery mean and for whom. Funded by the National Science Foundation, her ethnographic dissertation project examined the movement for a citizen debt audit and post-Maria politics of mutual support organizing. Sarah’s most recent publication, “Authenticating Loss and Contesting Recovery” appears in the edited volume Aftershocks of Disaster (Haymarket Books, 2019). She is also interested in engaged digital/public humanities work and is the co-founder of the Puerto Rico Syllabus (#PRSyllabus).

Michael Rumore
Email: mrumore@gradcenter.cuny.edu

Bio: Micheal Rumore is a doctoral candidate in English at the Graduate Center, CUNY. His dissertation, titled “Black Water: Race and the Human Project in the Indian Ocean Imagination,” approaches the Indian Ocean as an African diasporic site. In large part, the project interrogates why dominant notions of oceanic “cosmopolitanism” appearing frequently in the field of Indian Ocean studies tend to exclude Blackness and Africanness. Ultimately, his research engages contemporary questions of “cosmopolitical” solidarity and diasporic subjectivity in resistance to globalized processes of dispossession and proliferating ethno-nationalisms. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as the edited collection Oil Fictions: World Literature and our Contemporary PetrosphereSocial Text Online and Studies in the Fantastic. In addition, he has taught literature and writing courses at Lehman College, LaGuardia Community College, and Queens College, CUNY. 

Douaa Sheet

CUNY Graduate Center
Email: dsheet@gradcenter.cuny.edu
The Influence of Differential Conceptions of Dignity on Transitional Justice Efforts in Post-Uprising Tunisia

Bio: Douaa Sheet is a doctoral candidate in Anthropology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her work examines the role of moral values in mobilizing social movements. Funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the National Science Foundation, her dissertation fieldwork traced the role of dignity in mobilizing the 2011 Tunisian uprising, the transitional justice efforts to address the former regime’s human rights violations, and the different redress efforts in the transition to democracy. This research project addresses her broader interests in the morality of political action, human rights frameworks of reparation, and alternative utopias of egalitarian societies in the Middle East and North Africa. She has taught at Baruch and Hunter College, CUNY.

Lou Cornum

Mert Peksen
Email: mpeksen@gradcenter.cuny.edu
Displacing the border: Refugees, law, and geography in Turkey

Bio: Mert Peksen is a doctoral candidate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is interested in political and legal geography of asylum and bordering, in particular, how states alter the relationship between geography and law in order to govern and restrict refugee mobilities. His dissertation project focuses on how the Turkish state creates various border spaces at and across various geographic scales. His research suggests that the border in the Turkish case can no longer be understood as a line that contains the national territory, rather, it is a highly mobile regime that moves to internal places such as highways or bus stations, and it incorporates ordinary citizens to enforce mobility control.

Denisse Andrade

Visiting Scholars

Jordan T. Camp
CUNY Graduate Center
Email: jcamp@gc.cuny.edu
The Long Vendetta: Counterinsurgency and the Survival of Capitalism

Bio: Jordan T. Camp is Co-Director of the Racial Capitalism Working Group, Center for the Study of Social Difference, Columbia University. He is the author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016); co-editor (with Christina Heatherton) of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (Verso, 2016); co-editor (with Laura Pulido) of the late Clyde Woods’ book, Development Drowned and Reborn: The Blues and Bourbon Restorations in Post-Katrina New Orleans (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2017); and co-editor (with Christina Heatherton) of Freedom Now! Struggles for the Human Right to Housing in LA and Beyond (Freedom Now Books, 2012). His work appears in venues such as American Quarterly; Antipode, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Eurozine; Kalfou; Race & Class; Social Justice; In the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, ed. Clyde Woods (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2010); Race, Empire, and the Crisis of the Subprime, eds. Paula Chakravartty and Denise da Silva (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2013); and Futures of Black Radicalism, edited by Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso, in 2017). He is currently co-editing David Harvey’s, The Anti-Capitalist Chronicles (with Chris Caruso)completing the monograph, The Long Vendetta: Counterinsurgency and the Survival of Capitalism, among other new projects.

Maria Luisa Mendonca
Email: marialuisam222@gmail.com
The role of international financial capital in the Brazilian land market

Bio: Maria Luisa Mendonça holds a PhD in Human Geography from the Department of Philosophy, Literature and Social Sciences at University of São Paulo/Brazil (USP), and is currently a research scholar at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). Her research includes history and political economy of agriculture, food, land and water systems, and geopolitical processes of resistance by rural social movements in Brazil and internationally. Her recent book, Political Economy of Agribusiness (Annablume, Sāo Paulo, 2018) demonstrates the central role of the food system in international relations as a result of a dialectical movement of economic crisis and expansion in connection with critical areas such as trade agreements, financial markets, environmental justice, and transnational activism. Her current research project anticipated a trend in financial capital to “migrate” to farmland markets in the Global South, especially after the subprime crisis in the United States’ real estate market in 2008. This research on financial markets and land speculation includes building an international network of scholars and social movements throughout Latin America, North America and Europe. She has published her work in refereed journal articles, in public educational reports and in journalistic outlets. Her experience includes documentary filmmaking, investigative journalism, and community based research. She has taught international political economy at University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) and at the center for advanced research Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). Mendonça was one of the founders of the World Social Forum and has served in expert meetings on the Right to Food for UN-Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She is the founder of Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Network for Social Justice and Human Rights – www.social.org.br) in Brazil and the editor of the book “Human Rights in Brazil,” which has been published annually since 2000.

Mamyrah Prosper
IRIDAC, Graduate Center, CUNY
Email: mamyrahp@gmail.com

Bio: Mamyrah Prosper is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Institute of Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and The Caribbean (IRADAC) at The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). She received her Ph.D. in Global & Sociocultural Studies with a concentration in Cultural Anthropology as well as graduate certificates in African & African Diaspora Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies from Florida International University in Miami in 2015. She also holds an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University in Fort-Lauderdale as well as a B.A. in Political Science and Africana Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York. Prosper’s doctoral work centered on a coalition of social movement organizations calling for an end to the ongoing “non-governmental” occupation of Haiti. She is interested in the construction of neocolonial nationalist ideologies and collective identities in relation to race and class, gender and sexuality, education and language, and religion. Prosper has served as an organizer with land and housing rights organizations Take Back the Land-Miami in the U.S. 

Tom Angotti
Urban Policy and Planning Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
Email: tangotti@hunter.cuny.edu

SLOWDOWN OR QUICK FIX? Climate Justice, Capitalism, People and Cities and a memoir.

Bio: Tom Angotti is Professor Emeritus of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He was the founder and director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development. His recent books include Zoned Out! Race, Displacement and City Planning in New York City, Urban Latin America: Inequalities and Neoliberal Reforms, The New Century of the MetropolisNew York For Sale: Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate, which won the Davidoff Book Award, and Accidental Warriors and Battlefield Myths. He is an editor of progressivecity.net and Participating Editor for Latin American Perspectives and Local Environment. In 2019, he published Transformative Planning: Radical Alternatives to Neoliberal Urbanism. He is active in community and environmental issues in New York City.

Zifeng Liu
Cornell University
Email: zl564@cornell.edu

Bio: Zifeng Liu is a doctoral candidate in Africana Studies at Cornell University. A Sage Fellow, he studies Black transnationalism/internationalism, the African diaspora, Black radicalism, Black feminism, and anticolonial thought. His dissertation, entitled “Redrawing the Balance of Power: Black Radical Women, Mao’s China, and the Making of a Political Imaginary,”uncovers the manifold gendered modes of conscious interconnection between the African American freedom struggle and the Chinese socialist construction of modernity from 1949 through 1978.His essays and reviews in English and Chinese on African American literature, politics, and history have been published and forthcoming in the Journal of Beihang UniversityJournal of African American HistoryJournal of IntersectionalityInitium Media, and SINA News. Currently, he is a visiting scholar in the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Sílvia das Fadas
Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, PhD-in-Practice
Email: amorarondeninguemmora@gmail.com
The Dispossessed Inventing Themselves in the Everyday Struggle for the Fulgor

Bio: Sílvia das Fadas (born as Sílvia Salgueiro) is a filmmaker, a researcher, a teacher, a wanderer. She studied cinema and aesthetics, committing herself to the material learning of film at The Portuguese Moving Image Archive and the Portuguese Cinematheque in Lisbon. Driven by a militant nostalgia, she moved to Los Angeles where she continued to craft her personal films in 16mm, at the California Institute of the Arts. She worked as a visual history researcher for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and collaborated with Los Angeles Filmforum until her visa expired and she moved to Vienna in search of a lively film culture. There she worked as a film projectionist for the Austrian Film Museum, while teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts, where she is currently a participant in the PhD in Practice program. She is the recipient of a Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian/ FLAD Scholarship, a CalArts School of Film/Video Scholarship, an Akademie Schloss Solitude Cooperation Fellowship with Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart, and a FCT Doctoral Fellowship. Her films have been shown at numerous festivals, cinematheques and minor cinemas. She is interested in the politics intrinsic to cinematic practices and in cinema as a way of being together in restlessness and brokenness.

Leanne Tory-Murphy

Emergent Solidarities: A Case Study of the Sportello Sans Papiers and the Affect of Migrant Resistance in Sicily
Bio: Leanne Tory-Murphy is a writer, communications strategist for social movements, and legal support worker based in NYC. She conducted independent research in Palermo, Sicily from 2016-2018 on the asylum system, organized crime, and other migration-related themes, while working as a core member of the Sportello Sans Papiers, a migrant drop-in center and legal clinic.
She is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York at Hunter College, and of the Global Journalism Fellowship at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Her work has been published in Jacobin, Refugees Deeply, Open Canada and VICE among other outlets.