Symposium Organizers

teresa002Teresa Mangum is a professor in the departments of Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies and English and director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Iowa. Her research interests include best practices in publicly engaged scholarship and collaboration, 19th-century British literature, and the power of art and literature to negotiate social conflict and change, in particular regarding our experiences of aging and of human and animal relationships. For the last four years, she has co-directed a Mellon grant that experimented with forms of collaboration in the digital humanities, and she is now directing the University of Iowa’s four-year Mellon grant to develop a unique cross-disciplinary, applied humanities PhD program, “Humanities for the Public Good.” She co-founded the Obermann Graduate Institute on Engagement and the Academy, co-edit a book series “Humanities and Public Life” for the University of Iowa Press, and is vice president of the Board of Directors the National Humanities Alliance, and serves on the advisory board of the Mellon-funded 15-university consortium, Humanities Without Walls. For publications and other information, see https://obermann.uiowa.edu/people/teresa-mangum.

McNeilAshley Cheyemi McNeil earned her bi-national PhD in English from Georgia State University and in American Studies from the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany. As a manager for the Student Innovation Fellowship at Georgia State, she worked with cross-disciplinary teams of students, faculty, and community partners to imagine and implement public-facing projects that leveraged digital tools to display and disseminate stories and research. She focused her efforts on engaging the rich knowledge networks outside of academia, frequently partnering with minority groups in the Atlanta area. McNeil’s scholarly work is grounded in narrative expressions of empathetic humanisms, while her research agenda focuses on practice-based and community-engaged graduate training.

color headshot of Torie BurnsVictoria Burns is a PhD candidate in the department of English at the University of Iowa and the Humanities for the Public Good Graduate Research Assistant. Her research interests include memoirs, food studies, and embodiment in contemporary American literature. While at Iowa, she has completed the CIRTL Teaching-as-Research summer fellowship, investigating active learning classroom techniques, and the graduate certificate in Public Digital Humanities. Additionally, in July 2019, she ran an Iowa Youth Writing Project summer camp, inviting participants to discuss embodiment and identity, and culminating in the creation of disembodied self-portraits displayed in a month-long gallery at FilmScene (a local nonprofit cinema).


Krebs_headshot_officialPaula M. Krebs is Executive Director of the Modern Language Association, the professional home for 24,000 language, literature, writing, and cultural studies scholars and faculty members. The MLA’s Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Humanities represents the interests of the thousands of graduate students in the MLA, and the Executive Council has recently assembled a Task Force on Graduate Education. The association has long been in the forefront of advocacy for the value of humanities PhDs for a range of professional careers, through its Connected Academics program. Read her thought piece here.


Jim Grossman is Executive Director of the American Historical Association.  He was previously Vice President for Research and Education at the Newberry Library, while also teaching graduate courses at the University of Chicago (including nineteen dissertation committees). The author of Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration (1989) and A Chance to Make Good: African-Americans, 1900-1929 (1997), Grossman was project director and coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2005; online, 2006) and coeditor of the series “Historical Studies of Urban America” (50 vols, 1992-2015 ). His articles and short essays have focused on American urban history, African American history, ethnicity, higher education, and the place of history in public culture.  Recent opinion pieces have appeared in the New York TimesLos Angeles Times, and Chronicle of Higher Education. He has reviewed books for the Chicago Tribune and New York Newsday in addition to various academic journals.

During his tenure at the Newberry, Grossman led a fellowships program that required him to read thousands of applications from graduate students and recent PhD’s, and provided the opportunity to become familiar with the work of hundreds of awardees.  At the AHA he has spearheaded initiatives to restructure and refine the history major (“Tuning”) and reconsider the purposes and culture of graduate education (“AHA Career Diversity”). He is the co-author, with Anthony Grafton, of the widely cited essays “No More Plan B: A Very Modest Proposal for Graduate Programs in History” and “Plan C” (2011).

Grossman’s consulting experience includes history-related projects generated by BBC, Smithsonian, and various theater companies, film makers, museums, and libraries. He Currently President of the National Humanities Alliance, he has also served on the governing boards of the American Council of Learned Societies, Association of American Colleges and Universities, and Center for Research Libraries. Read his thought piece here.

Brennan_-1Brennan Collins is the Associate Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Georgia State University for Digital Pedagogy and Atlanta Studies. The interdisciplinary nature and technology focus of these programs allows him to work with a diverse faculty in exploring inventive pedagogies. He is particularly interested in creating transdisciplinary and interinstitutional projects and platforms that explore the urban landscape of Atlanta to develop student critical thinking and create opportunities for community engagement.  His work explores the intersection of the Humanities with the emerging fields of mapping, digital heritage, data visualization and curation, and immersive learning. He teaches courses in Multiethnic U.S. Literature and comics. Read his thought piece here.

ST Christian Ruvalcaba (1).jpgChristian Ruvalcaba is a Research Coordinator at the University of Arizona’s (UA) Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry. He has a PhD in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching. He received a BA in Linguistics and an MA from the English Applied Linguistics (formerly known as English Language/Linguistics) program at the UA. He has taught writing/composition, English linguistics, and Spanish for Heritage learners at the UA and at Pima Community College. He grew up in Cananea, Sonora, and Sierra Vista, Arizona. His research focuses on both formal and applied linguistics. On the formal side, he investigates the morphosyntax and semantics of constructions in English and Spanish that express spatial, possessive, or experiencer relations. He has done psycholinguistic and syntactic research on the interlanguage of multilinguals on both sides of the border. On the more applied side, he has carried out participatory sociolinguistic research alongside students with close ties to minority language communities. This collaborative effort has led to the creation of multiple projects and online archives such as the Language Capital Project, an interactive map of formal or informal resource centers and meeting spaces for speakers of minority languages in Tucson. He is currently co-leading a Rapid Qualitative Inquiry study as the first exploratory step toward a broader binational, long-distance, community-led revitalization effort of the Ópatan languages (Tegüima, Eudeve, and Jova).

ST Javier Duran_0.jpgJavier Duran is professor of Latin-American and Border Studies at the Center for Latin-American Studies and director of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry at the University of Arizona. He is a native of the Arizona-Sonora desert region. Beyond U.S.-Mexico border studies, Latin American Cultural Studies, Dr. Duran’s areas of teaching and research also include Mexican women’s literature and culture, Chicana/Chicano-Latina/Latino narrative, and Cultural Place-Making. He is the author of the book José Revueltas. Una poética de la disidencia, published by the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, five co-edited books on Cultural Studies, and numerous articles on literary and cultural themes. He was one of the founding members of the MLA Discussion Group on Mexican Cultural and Literary Studies, and he is past President of the Association for Borderland Studies. Dr. Duran is currently working on projects dealing with border culture, human security, bio-politics, migrancy, and checkpoints. He is the leading investigator of the project Fronteridades: Nurturing Collaborative Intersections in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-convener of the University of Arizona Border Lab initiative. He also serves on the International Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI). Read his thought piece here.

joe-cialdella.jpgJoseph Cialdella is Manager of Graduate Student Programs in Public Scholarship at the University of Michigan. Prior to this role, he worked as the program officer of the Michigan Humanities Council, where the work he led received the Schwartz Prize for Outstanding Public Humanities project. In partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Michigan Humanities Council’s Heritage Grants Program, Joe helped to collect and organize oral histories, art, and other cultural artifacts that, “explore local histories of race, ethnicity, and cultural identity in Michigan.” Read his thought piece here.

image.1565224479350.jpgMatthew Countryman is an associate professor in the departments of History and American Culture, and faculty associate, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. From 2007 until 2016, he worked as faculty director of the Arts of Citizenship Program. His research interests include race, postwar liberalism, the American Left, and African American politics in the post-civil-rights era. His secondary fields of study include public memory of the Civil Rights movement, right-wing social movements, and the social construction of race.

Rachel Arteaga_0Rachel Arteaga is the Assistant Director of the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington, where she works on the development, implementation, and assessment of academic projects. One of the Simpson Center’s current projects is Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics, a grant program devoted to the integration of public scholarship into doctoral education, which has been generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. At the center of this program is a cross-institutional partnership with community colleges in Seattle. She works closely with humanities faculty and leadership across the university and two-year college campuses to build strong mentoring networks and to design meaningful immersive professional experiences for doctoral students. In the coming years, the program will be expanded and restructured to emphasize collaborative practices in higher education. Read her thought piece here.


Raymond Haberski, Jr. is professor of History and director of American Studies at IUPUI at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. For the 2008–2009 academic year he held the Fulbright Danish Distinguished Chair in American Studies. He helped found and still helps to run the Society for U.S. Intellectual History. His research interests include U.S. Intellectual History, American Studies, American cultural history, American religious history, history of movie culture, transnational intellectual history, civil religion, American Catholic history, and just war theory. Read his thought piece here.


Sally Kitch is University and Regents’ Professor of Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University and founding director of the Institute for Humanities Research and of the Humanities Lab.  As director of the IHR (2006-2016) and as director of the Humanities Lab (2014-present), she has sought to bring faculty and student attention to the role of the humanities in addressing grand social challenges, from deeply identifying problems, to anticipating intended and unintended consequences of proposed solutions, to determining the difference between what problem solvers could do and what they should do.  She is currently working with the Dean of ASU’s Graduate College to translate these perspectives into interdisciplinary graduate programs across departmental lines.  Related publications include “How Can Humanities Interventions Promote Progress in the Sustainability Sciences?” (2017) and “Experimental Humanities and Humanities for the Environment” (2018). As a women’s studies scholar, Kitch specializes in feminist and cultural theory, feminist epistemology, gender and racial ideology, gender/feminism and utopian thought, women’s historical resistance to gender prescriptions, and theories of transdisciplinarity.  She has published six books, three of which have won national prizes.  Recent books include The Specter of Sex: Gendered Foundations of Racial Formation in the U.S. (2009) and Contested Terrain: Reflections with Afghan Women Leaders (2014). Recent articles include “Feminist Tweets to Trump: How to Find Commonality in Diversity” (2017) and “Protection and Abuse: The Conundrum of Global Gender Inequality” (2019). Read her thought piece here.

VTPhoto.pngVivian Truong is a PhD Candidate in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Visiting Scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University. Her research focuses on the intersections of Asian American studies, urban history, and women of color feminisms. Through the Rackham Program in Public Scholarship at the University of Michigan, she has been a participant in the Institute for Social Change, a fellow in the Engaged Pedagogy Institute, and a recipient of a Public Scholarship Grant. These programs have enabled her to develop a public history project, “Memory and Movement,” which documents over three decades of Asian American community organizing in New York City through archival preservation and oral histories, in partnership with the grassroots organization CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities (formerly the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence). Read her thought piece here.