Issue 13.2 | Spring 2016 / Guest edited by Soniya Munshi and Craig Willse

About the Contributors

Ujju Aggarwal is a Spencer Foundation/National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow and a Visiting Research Scholar at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics (CUNY Graduate Center). Her research grows out of her longtime work as a community organizer and educator, and engages U.S. education policy in relation to race, class, gender, and urban space. Her manuscript in progress, Tracking Choice: Freedom, Rights, and the Structure of Citizenship Post-Brown is a historically informed ethnography that provides a critical genealogy of “choice”—as a key principle of reform and management in public education—to trace how neoliberal restructuring in the United States emerged in tandem with the winning of Civil Rights.

Gabriel Arkles is an activist, author, lawyer, and teacher. His scholarship draws on theories and practices of critical race feminism, trans politics, disability justice, and prison abolition to explore state regulation of social hierarchy and violence. His recent work analyzes shortfalls and unintended consequences of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Currently, he is an Associate Teaching Professor at Northeastern University School of Law, a volunteer with Black and Pink, and a core collective member of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP). Previously he worked as a staff attorney and the Director of Prisoner Justice Initiatives at SRLP, where he provided free legal services to transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex people in the areas of prisoner rights, public benefits, immigration, and discrimination for six years.

Maile Arvin (Native Hawaiian) is an assistant professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her research interests include Native feminist theories, settler colonialism, decolonization, and race, gender and science in Hawaiʻi and the broader Pacific. She is currently at work on a manuscript about the legacies of the social scientific construction of the Polynesian race as almost white. Her work has also been published in the journals American Quarterly, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and Feminist Formations. She serves on the Critical Ethnic Studies Association’s working group and is a founding member of Hinemoana of Turtle Island, a Pacific Islander feminist group of activists, poets, and scholars who write the muliwai blog (

Myrl Beam is an Assistant Professor in the department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. His work focuses on neoliberalism, social movements, queer theory, and race. Prior to his position at VCU he was a Faculty Fellow in American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Colby College. He completed his PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2014, and is currently working on a book manuscript entitled Activism, Incorporated: Neoliberalism and the Non-Profitization of Queer Social Movements. Myrl’s activist work centers on prison abolition, homelessness, and supporting the leadership of trans youth in movements for justice.

Alisa Bierria is the Associate Director of the Center for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley and a PhD candidate in the Department of Philosophy at Stanford University. Her dissertation explores the role of social and political recognition in human agency. She is the recipient of the Diane J. Middlebrook Prize for Graduate Teaching and has years of experience writing, teaching, and organizing on issues of violence and redress. She is a member of INCITE!, Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, and a co-editor of Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence, a special issue of Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Conflict, and World Order. Her writing can also be found in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy; Journal of Popular Music Studies; Left Turn Magazine; Shout Out: Women of Color Respond To Violence; What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race, and the State of the Nation; The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond The Non-Profit Industrial Complex; Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology; Real Change Newspaper; The Feminist Wire; and University of Minnesota: Assembling the Pieces.

Avi Cummingsis the Program and Media Manager at the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Previously he worked as the Director of Grassroots Fundraising and Communications at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. He is also a co-coordinator of the Miss Major-Jay Toole Building for Social Justice Giving Circle.

Hope Dector is the Creative Director at the Barnard Center for Research on Women.

Treva Ellison is a Lecturer in Geography and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Dartmouth College. Treva’s research and teaching is concerned with the dynamic interplay between social and spatial differentiation, with a specific attention to criminalization, social movements, and urban history.

Pooja Gehi has worked for immigrant and racial justice, trans and queer liberation, transformative justice, youth leadership, and cross-movement coalition building throughout her life. Currently, she serves as the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild. For over eight years, she worked as a Staff Attorney and Director of Immigrant Justice at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP). There she provided direct legal services to hundreds of low-income transgender and gender nonconforming clients, and achieved major victories like access to transition-related healthcare for New York State Medicaid recipients through litigation and coalition work. Pooja’s scholarly work focuses on social movements, the devolution of criminal and immigration systems, and the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nationality. Her recent work has appeared in the Berkeley Asian American Law Journal and Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is professor of Geography in the Earth and Environmental Sciences program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she also serves as the Associate Director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics. Her research and interests are about but not limited to the African Diaspora, The Movement of Capital and Labor, Structural Adjustment and New Alignments, Revolution and Reform, Race, Space and Place. Prior to the Graduate Center, Gilmore was at the University of Southern California. Gilmore’s work includes Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (2007), which was recognized with the Lora Romero First Book Award by the American Studies Association. Gilmore is also the cofounder of Critical Resistance, California Prison Moratorium, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network. In addition to these accomplishments Gilmore has received the Angela Davis Award for Public Scholarship.

Lani Hanna has an M.A in Humanities and Social Thought from New York University. She is pursuing further graduate study and splits her time between the Union Square Farmers Market and Interference Archive where she has been volunteering since 2014.

Gillian Harkins is Associate Professor of English and Adjunct Associate Professor of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is the author of Everybody’s Family Romance: Reading Incest in Neoliberal America (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and co-editor with Kate Drabinski of “Teaching Inside Carceral Institutions,” a Special Issue of Radical Teacher 95 (Winter 2012) and with Jane Elliott of “Genres of Neoliberalism,” a Special Issue of Social Text 31.2 115 (Summer 2013). She works with three higher education in prison programs in the Puget Sound Area: the University Beyond Bars; the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound; and the Black Prisoners Caucus T.E.A.C.H. program.

Priya Kandaswamy is associate professor and chair of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her research focuses on the role constructions of family play in grounding forms of state power that simultaneously produce and regulate race, gender, sexuality, and class. Her work has appeared in journals such as Sexualities, American Quarterly, and Radical Teacher as well as numerous edited anthologies. Her current project develops a comparative analysis of marriage promotion and forced labor programs targeting women of color in the Reconstruction era and the late twentieth century.

Paul Kivel identifies as an educator, an activist, and a writer. Kivel has authored Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice (New Society Publishers, 2002), Men’s Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives Apart (Hazelden Publishing, 2010), and You Call this a Democracy?: Who Benefits, who Pays and who Really Decides? (Apex Press, 2004). He has co-founded the Oakland Men’s Project, which focuses on the prevention of male violence. Kivel is also the founder of Challenging Christian Hegemony Project.

Soo Ah Kwon is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies and Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her doctorate at the University of California Berkeley and was a postdoctoral fellow at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the author of Uncivil Youth: Race, Activism, and Affirmative Governmentality (Duke University Press, 2013) and co-editor of South Korea’s Educational Exodus: The Life and Times of “Early Study Abroad” (University of Washington Press, 2015). Her publications appear in the Journal of Asian American Studies, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and positions. She is currently working a book project titled Youth Participation and Global Governance.

Colby Lenz is a community organizer and a graduate student in American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Colby’s experience includes anti-eviction organizing in New York and anti-poverty organizing with queer and transgender youth deprived of housing in San Francisco. Colby currently organizes for prison abolition, prisoner survival and trans/gender liberation with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. To do this work, Colby has been visiting with people in California’s women’s prisons for the past 13 years. This organizing involves survival support work, building leadership power with people in prison and formerly imprisoned people, and working to develop and demand community-based responses to violence that do not rely on or reinforce the prison industrial complex. Colby is committed to collaborative scholarship focused on refining and strengthening social movement strategy to end policing and prisons.

Edwin Mayorga is an Assistant Professor of Educational Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies at Swarthmore College (PA). He directs both the Education in our Barrios project (#BarrioEdProj), a youth participatory action research project that examines educational policy and community development in Latino core communities in Philadelphia and New York City, and Critical Education Policy Studies (#CritEdPol) a student-centered website and online journal. He is co-editor of What’s Race Got to Do with It? How Current School Reform Maintains Racial and Economic Inequality (co-edited with B. Picower; Peter Lang, 2015).

Soniya Munshi is assistant professor of Sociology at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. She is a member of the National Collective of INCITE! Women, Gender Non-Conforming, and Trans People of Color against Violence and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association Working Group.

Mimi Thi Nguyen is Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first book is The Gift of Freedom: War, Debt, and Other Refugee Passages (Duke University Press, 2012; Outstanding Book Award in Cultural Studies from the Association of Asian American Studies, 2014). Her following project is called The Promise of Beauty. She has also published in Signs, Camera Obscura, Women & Performance, positions, and Radical History Review. Nguyen was recently named a Conrad Humanities Scholar for 2013-2018, a designation supporting the work of outstanding associate professor.

Vero Ordaz arrived at Interference Archive through her interest in broadening access to the arts and humanities, with an emphasis on socially engaged work. She coordinates the public programming at the Murphy Institute, CUNY School for Professional Studies. After helping to develop and expand the outreach work of StoryCorps, she completed her BA at Brooklyn College.

Dylan Rodríguez is a professor and the chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside. Rodríguez’s scholarship focuses on the ways in which state violence, cultural production, institutionalized knowledge, social identity and liberal struggle affects racial genocide. He is the author of Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime (University of Minnesota Press, 2006). In 2006, Rodríguez was recognized by Diverse as an Emerging Scholar, and he has been a Ford Foundation Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Fellow.

Rori Rohlfs is a scientist educator exploring topics like how gene expression contributes to adaptation and adaptability, the statistical accuracy and social implications of forensic genetic identification, and relationships between statistical technologies and dynamics of power and control. She is currently an assistant professor at San Francisco State University in the Department of Biology.

Paula X. Rojas has 23 years of experience working in community organizing. Born in Chile, then passing through Houston, TX, she spent over a decade working as an organizer in Brooklyn, NY. Following in the footsteps of her family members in Chile, Paula has worked on grassroots social justice issues affecting her own local community since she was a teen. In New York she co-founded various community non-profit organizations focused on issues affecting young and adult Black and Latina women including Sista II Sista, Pachamama, and Community Birthing Project. Since moving to Austin in 2008, Paula co-founded Mamas of Color Rising and worked to launch Refugio (Center for Community Organizing) while working as a childbirth educator in a community clinic. Her organizing work and life experience have led her to work at the intersections of healthcare access, midwifery and community organizing.

Dean Spade is an associate professor at the Seattle University School of Law. In 2002 he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit collective that provides free legal help to low-income people and people of color who are trans, intersex and/or gender non-conforming and works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice. He is the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (Duke University Press, 2015).

Lee Ann S. Wang is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan’s Program in American Culture and Asian Pacific Islander American Studies and her B.A. from Scripps College. Her writings examine the making of legal personhood at the intersections of immigration law, criminal enforcement, and a critical reading of the humanitarian rescue of the feminine through an ethnographic engagement of anti-violence and immigrant rights strategies. Lee Ann is the past co-coordinator of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association and previously worked as a community organizer, youth mentor, campaign organizer, and legislative advocate with organizations and non-profits across the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Detroit.

Craig Willse is assistant professor of Cultural Studies at George Mason University, where he is also faculty adviser for Students Against Israeli Apartheid. He is the author of The Value of Homelessness: Managing Surplus Life in the United States (University of Minnesota Press, 2015) and co-editor of Beyond Biopolitcs: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death (Duke University Press, 2011). He is a member of the organiazing collective of USACBI, the US Campagaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Nicci Yin is a visual artist and designer-in-training. She currently studies in the Media Design Practices MFA program at ArtCenter College of Design in California. Before this, she received her BA in Art History/Visual Arts and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, followed by a position as Post Baccalaureate Fellow at BCRW. At BCRW, Nicci worked on various projects including media and design production, social media and events, and had the opportunity to present at The Scholar & Feminist XL: Action on Education with Natalia Cecire and Miriam Neptune, as well as at Why Sex? Why Gender? in May 2015.