Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Photo of May Baker

    Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (Political Science)

    Mary Baker is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at Brown University, where she teaches courses in Indigenous and Environmental Theory. A Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) scholar, she earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with specializations in Indigenous Politics and Futures Studies. Her work examines the relationship between Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) values and practice and the politics of decolonization.  She is currently working on a book project based on her dissertation in which she argues that through resurgent practices Indigenous peoples develop Indigenous ideologies that provide the springboard for enacting Indigenous futurities. Indigenous ideologies emerge out of discursive and material practices that are anchored in place and worldviews that honor the kinship relationship between humans and ʻāina (that which feeds). Her most recent publication is a chapter in The Routledge Handbook on Postcolonial Politics entitled “Waiwai (Abundance) and Indigenous Futures” in which she tells the story of two communities in Hawai’i whose resurgent practices coalesce around the organizing principles of anarcha-indigenism, a world-view grounded in indigenous land-based practice and knowledge systems that articulate with anarchist principles of fluid leadership and horizontal power structures.

  • Aviva Cormier


    Aviva Cormier is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities with the Department of Anthropology, where she teaches courses in Social Bioarchaeology and Biological Anthropology. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Archaeology from Boston University. Her work explores the intricate process of interpreting impairment, disability, and identity from bioarchaeological remains and archaeological contexts. Her current research illuminates the life course experiences of those affected by Rare Disease in the past and the community that supported them. This work contemplates how the bioarchaeological study of ancient Rare Diseases may usefully advance contemporary perspectives on impairment and disability while exploring the complex social and medical experiences of individuals from historical and archaeological contexts. Her recent publications include a chapter in Bioarchaeology of Impairment and Disability: Theoretical, Ethnohistorical, and Methodological Perspectives (Springer, 2017) entitled “Impairment, Disability, and Identity in the Middle Woodland Period: Life at the Juncture of Achondroplasia, Pregnancy, and Infection” in which she presents the possible life experiences, social identities, and community relationships of a pregnant individual from 200CE Illinois who lived into her 30s with a complex skeletal dysplasia and extreme bone infection. Cormier’s work emphasizes the complex challenge for bioarchaeologists to infer the social implications of disability or impairment from archaeological and osteological remains lacking in detailed contextual information.

  • Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo


    Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities with the Department of Music, where she teaches courses in African Diasporic Music. She earned her Ph.D. in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University. Her academic work explores the politics of community-studios, a term she has developed for fixed and mobile recording studios that prioritize working with artists from “underserved” communities as well as women and non-binary artists with the goal of providing these groups with free and low-cost recording services and education. She is currently working on an article about different forms of "boundary work" performed by sound engineers who work in community-studio based on her dissertation, a multi-sited ethnography of two community-studio sites entitled, "On the Boundaries of Multivalent Musicking: A Study on the Politics of Community-Studios." Her creative work as an Afrofuturist rapper and producer under the moniker Sammus focuses primarily on black feminist politics and Afrodiasporic identities as they are negotiated from behind and in front of the screens that govern modern life. She is currently working on her seventh studio album.

  • Cindy Nguyen


    Cindy Nguyen is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities with the Department of History. She earned her Ph.D. in History at University of California, Berkeley (2019). She specializes in the history of Vietnam, Southeast Asia print culture, and libraries. Her book manuscript, "Reading and Misreading: The Social Life of Libraries and Colonial Control in Vietnam, 1865-1958" examines the cultural and political history of libraries in Hanoi and Saigon from the French colonial period through to the decolonization of libraries. She examines the institution of the libraries through the lens of cultural imperialism, national legitimacy, and social practices of public reading. She reveals how the library reading room became a space of urban sociability, literary cosmopolitanism, and self-directed education. She approaches history through a critical lens of ‘builders and users’ to understand the multifaceted roles of library actors (librarians, readers, technicians, administrators) to shape meanings of libraries, the public, and literacy in 20th-century Vietnam. Her research topic and theoretical approach draw from an interdisciplinary training and work experience—as an area studies specialist, multilingual scholar, and digital humanist (information science, libraries, and archives work experience). Her other interests include memory and translation, arts activism, information literacy, and digital humanities.

  • Gustavo Quintero Lozano


    Gustavo Quintero Lozano is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities with the Department of Hispanic Studies and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He teaches courses in Mexican literature and theory, with a focus on border issues. He received his Ph.D. in Romance Studies from Cornell University. His research examines the cultural legacies of revolutionary processes in the Caribbean, Colombia, and Mexico, including its two borders. In his first monograph, he studies how literature and visual culture in Latin America have been a critical tool for insurrectionary movements to delineate possible futures of transnational solidarity and collective action. He argues that the formation of a collective subject depends on the shared perspective of radical futures that profoundly modify the existing tensions of migration and settlement in Latin America.

  • Jessica Stair


    Jessica Stair is a Mellon Postdoctoral Research Associate affiliated with the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World, where she teaches courses on the visual culture of colonial Latin America. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on indigenous artistic and scribal practices of colonial Mexico. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, “Indigenous Literacies in the Techialoyan Manuscripts of New Spain,” which considers how indigenous artists and scribes invented new iconographies and modes of reading and writing during the late-colonial period. At a time when alphabetic script had become a dominant mode of conveying information, indigenous communities marshalled pictures in an effort to secure the legitimacy of their communities in the face of restrictive viceregal policies. She argues that the artists of the Techialoyans drew upon 16th-century indigenous scribal practices, artistic traditions from Europe, and the contemporary pictorial climate to invent new communicative forms that relied not only on pictures and alphabetic script, but on the invocation of oral discourses and performative practices. Her other research projects center on the transformation of pictorial forms across genre and media; the authority of images within juridical settings; and the expurgation of images in the early modern Spanish-American World.

  • Photo of Lauren Yapp

    Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities (Archeology and the Ancient World and Haffenreffer Museum)

    Lauren Yapp is a Postdoctoral Fellow in International Humanities with the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. She earned her PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University, where she was also affiliated with the Stanford Archaeology Center. Her work explores cultural heritage, memory politics, and postcolonial urbanism in the Global South. She is presently completing a book manuscript based on her doctoral dissertation, "Colonial Pasts, Future Cities: Urban Heritage Advocacy in Post-Authoritarian Indonesia." Drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork in several of the country’s major cities, this research examines how a growing number of initiatives aimed at preserving “urban heritage” are not only shaping the material fabric of those neighborhoods now designated as historic districts, but also producing new forms of citizenship and governance, re-negotiating the relationship between civil society and state authority, and profoundly impacting the lives of the urban underclasses. In addition to this most recent project, Yapp has conducted research in Southeast Asia and Europe on such wide-ranging topics as cultural diplomacy, colonial and postcolonial architecture, urban water management, museum politics, and expertise.