The 2015-'17 Cohort:

About the Cohort


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Maria Abascal

I'm an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. I recently completed a postdoc in the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University. I received my PhD in Sociology and Social Policy from Princeton University.


Broadly, I am interested in intergroup relations and boundary processes, especially as they pertain to race, ethnicity and nationalism. My dissertation explores the impact of Hispanic population growth––real and perceived––on relations between Blacks and Whites in the United States. My research draws on a range of quantitative methods and data sources, including original lab, survey, and field experiments.


Other research projects deal with the consequences of diversity, the determinants of skin color perception, the sources of the criminal immigrant stereotype, the predictors of immigrant naturalization, and the geographic distribution of patriotic behaviors.


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Stefano Bloch

Stefano Bloch was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and Urban Studies from 2013-2015 and a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban Studies until 2017.


He is a trained urbanist and cultural geographer specializing in socio-spatial theory, crime, subcultures, race, and identity. His research focuses on gang injunctions and enhancement legislation, graffiti, and ethnographic research methods. He is currently completing a book for the University of Chicago Press on subcultural identity and urbanism.


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Nicole Burrowes

Nicole Burrowes’s research examines a series of labor rebellions that took place in 1930s British Guiana. She is writing a relational history of Africans and Indians—through the lens of solidarity—that does not ignore, erase, or diminish ethnic identification. Using her research as a window, Nicole will explore the possibilities, power, limitations—and impossibilities (as some might argue)—of the politics of solidarity. This research also raises larger questions about racial formation, colonialism, racial hierarchies, conflict narratives and the challenge of history.


More info, click here.


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Colleen Kim Daniher

Colleen Kim Daniher is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Her book manuscript, tentatively titled Racial Volume: Surface, Objection, and the Racial Ambiguity Act, develops a history and theory of spectacular acts of racial ambiguity in 20th-century visual art and performance. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the American Society for Theatre Research and the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, and her writing has appeared in e-misférica and Theatre Journal. She is a member-at-large for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and has performed on and around a variety of stages as an actor, vocalist, and dramaturge.


More info, click here.


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Kevin A. Escudero

Kevin Escudero (PhD, UC Berkeley; MSL, Yale Law School) is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies and affiliated faculty in the Department of Sociology and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University. Professor Escudero's research and teaching interests include immigration and refugee studies; comparative racial and ethnic studies; social movements; law and society; and critical human geography. His current book manuscript, Organizing While Undocumented (under contract with NYU Press) examines undocumented Asian, Latinx, queer and formerly undocumented activists' strategic use of an intersectional movement identity. This book draws on more than five years of ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews conducted with immigrant rights activists in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.


Professor Escudero's second book project considers the role of geography and space on undocumented immigrant and refugee community collaborative organizing. To do so, he situates this activism within the United States' legacy as a settler colonial state. He is also interested in solidarity efforts between indigenous communities and migrant activists in the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borderlands.


As a Public Voices Fellow at the OpEd Project Professor Escudero has published pieces in Latino USA, The Hechinger Report and Truthout applying his academic research to pressing issues facing immigrant community members today. From 2016-2017, he served as Special Advisor to the Provost for Undocumented and DACA Students offering campus-wide workshops and trainings regarding approaches to supporting undocumented students. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, UC-MEXUS Institute and the American Sociological Association.


More info, click here.


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Adrienne Keene

Adrienne Keene is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Culture, Communities, and Education. Her research focuses on Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian) students navigating the college application and transition processes, as well as the role of pre-college access programs in student success. Through her blog Native Appropriations, she also is deeply interested in representations of Native peoples in the media and pop culture, including issues of cultural appropriation, and how Indigenous peoples use social media for activism and speaking out against misrepresentation.  


More info, click here.


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Yalidy M. Matos

My scholarly work examines the intersections between race, ethnicity, and (im)migration. By drawing on theoretical frameworks from political science, sociology, political psychology, and history, I use a mixed methods approach to understand the racialized nature of the geography of immigration policies and contemporary restrictive immigration policy attitudes in the United States. I have developed a historically-based theoretical framework that stresses the continued significance of race and racial projects in policies and discourse around immigration. Discourse, policies, and preferences about immigration are salient topics in American politics today. Thus, any exploration of public opinion about immigration policy requires knowledge of the deeply-rooted history of racial and ethnic groups (and the policies that have and continue to govern their lives) in the United States. I am especially interested in analyzing the ways in which racial and ethnic groups use policy to either maintain or change the status quo.


I graduated from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH with a PhD in Political Science, and Connecticut College in New London, CT with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Gender and Women’s Studies, and a minor in English.


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Sara Matthiesen

My book project Reconceived: Women’s Reproduction after Roe v. Wade documents the persistent force of structural inequality in American life through the lens of reproductive politics. Based in archival, interview, and digital cartography methods, my project uncovers previously overlooked grassroots advocacy concerned with HIV/AIDS, women prisoners’ parental rights, infant mortality, and pro-life service provision. Reconceived shows how reproduction—particularly childbirth and reproductive labor—was a major site affected by shifts in political governance that decreased the state’s role in mitigating economic, racial, and gendered inequalities during the final decades of the twentieth century.


More info, click here.