Skip to main content

Faculty Fellows

We are pleased to announce our 2023-2024 cohort of CAH Faculty Fellows.


Jimia Boutouba

Jimia Boutouba (Modern Languages and Literatures) “ War, Race and Sexual Politics in French Indochina”

This two-part research project investigates French imperial history by tracing the crisscross colonial trajectories of people displaced across the French imperial map. Unsettling colonial cartography, the project attends to narratives of south-south encounters, transnational solidarities in the midst of anti-colonial wars, unexpected unions, invisibilized “métis” (mixed-raced) populations, and forced departures. The project draws on rare archival materials and testimonies from unknown and/or previously unheard minoritized perspectives: those of Black Asian children born during the war of Indochina (1946-1954), and accounts by North African sex workers who were brought to Indochina on a government-approved program of mobile prostitution to “service” combat and support soldiers overseas. In investigating these complex stories that emerge at the intersection of Asian, African, and French imperial histories, Prof. Boutouba’s project seeks to shed new light on the nexus of racial and sexual politics at the heart of French imperialism as well as center the perspectives and historical agency of minoritized trans-imperial groups whose voices and stories are seldom considered as legitimate historical records. To learn more about her work, click here


Hsin-I Cheng

Hsin-I Cheng (Communication)“ Bridging the Digital and Physical Spaces: Furthering Black and Asian Solidarity”

The Asian-Black Relationality Project stems from Prof. Cheng’s 2022 publication on the theoretical concept of relational citizenship. From 2022 to 2023, a collaboration between SCU students and former colleagues built the Asian & Black Alliances (ABA) website— a multilingual website highlighting historical and cultural interactions between these two racial groups, which also includes individual and organizational voices to illustrate how such solidarity-building is a continuous process. This project further bridges cyber (i.e., website) and physical (i.e., face-to-face interactions) spaces. Prof. Cheng will build a team of educators/collaborators to generate mini-lesson plans based on the website and host public forums to share these plans and discuss Black-Asian relationality. To learn more about her work click here



Elizabeth Drescher

Elizabeth Drescher (Religious Studies) “Seeing Spirits of Silicon Valley in Place: Mural Art as Memory, Identity, Resistance, Solidarity, and Transformation in San José, CA”

Urban corporate development projects reconfigure neighborhoods in complexly entangled cultural, economic, political, social, and, not least, aesthetic ways. One facet of this reconfiguration is marked through mural art in neighborhoods most directly impacted by urban development. Murals, described as “the people’s art” and collectively curated as “museums of the streets,” often foreground religious content as resources for resistance, solidarity, and transformation in the face of corporate- and government-sponsored remaking of neighborhoods according to a social aesthetic of generic placelessness. Prof. Drescher’s project will explore the place of mural art in San José, reading murals as artifacts of the ongoing struggle for spatial justice between local residents and small businesses grappling with gentrification and displacement and corporate developers, government leaders, city planners, and tech workers who will work and live in redeveloped San José neighborhoods. Click here to learn more about the murals that inspired the project.


Christina Zanfagna

Christina Zanfagna (Music) “Black-Italian Crossroads: Racial Tensions, Social Solidarities, and Sonic Affinities”

From the influence of North African music in Southern Italy to contemporary “hip-wop” in the U.S., Prof. Zanfanga’s project explores Black-Italian musical affinities and racial tensions. Exposing the local and transnational contact zones between Black and Italian communities, this collaborative project will interrogate their overlapping histories of migration and cultural assimilation as well as racial and ethnic exclusion. These submerged histories of interracial musical exchange reveal new understandings of how race and music intersect as they disrupt the dominant polarized optics of race in American popular music (i.e. Black/White) that are often based on notions of racial essentialism. Work during the fellowship period will focus on the Black-Italian nexus in early 20th-century New Orleans jazz and Italian American female pop stars' appropriation of Black musical and dance styles such as voguing and gangsta rap.




An exciting part of these projects is how they will engage with students, faculty, and community partners. Stay tuned for more details about these collaborations.

Past Faculty Fellows

2022-23 Faculty Fellows

Sonia Gomez, History: "A Gendered Diaspora: Intimacy and Empire in the Making of Japanese America, 1908-1952"

Tony Hazard, Ethnic Studies: "Afro-Indigeneity, Family Remembrance, and The Narragansett of Rhode Island"

Amy Lueck, English: "Indigenous Remembrance of the Winchester Mystery House"

Lee Panich, Anthropology: "Insurgent California: Native Resistance and the Collapse of the Missions"

Mukta Sharangpani, Women's and Gender Studies: "Aging Across Borders: Towards an Ethnography of Loss and Hope" 


2021-22 Faculty Fellows

Chris Bacon, Environmental Studies and Sciences: “Framing Food Justice: Diverse Perspectives towards Building Back Post-COVID Food Systems with Equity and Resilience.” 

Sonia Gomez, History: “A Gendered Diaspora: Intimacy and Empire in the Making of Japanese America, 1908-1952.”

Maggie Levantovskaya, English: “Writing Illness and Disability.” 

Juan Velasco, English: “A Film Treatment/Screenplay Based on Salaria Kea’s Biography.”


2020-21 Faculty Fellows

The Center for the Arts and Humanities announces its 2020 Faculty Fellows. This year the Center has encouraged Fellows to explore how they might collaborate on similarly themed projects. More information on those projects and how they will eventually be shared with the compus and community will be forthcoming as circumstances permit. The Fellows will also be working with Student Fellows to be named later.

Michelle Mueller, Religious Studies: Adam the Father, Eve the Mother: The Adam-God Doctrine & 'Heavenly Parents' in Mormonism

Robin Tremblay-McGaw, English (in collaboration with Megan Nicely, Performing Arts, University of San Francisco): The Art of Reflection, Resistance, and Dissensus

Ryan Carrington, Art and Art History: Contradictions-Solo Exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, 11/28/20-1/10/21

Roya Ebtehaj, Art and Art History: In-between

Allia Ida Griffin, Ethnic Studies: The Afterlife of Loss: On Writing from the Iranian Diaspora

Danielle Morgan, English: 'A Bogeyman's Family': The Black Uncanny in the 21st century

Tricia Creason-Valencia and Emily Reese, Communication: A Short Film: ¡Aguas!

2019-20 Faculty Fellows

Renee Billingslea, Art and Art History: Ten Japanese Concentration Camps. 

Katharine Heintz, Communication: Saint Clare School media project

Jackie Hendricks, English, Theresa Conefrey, English,  Maura Tarnoff, English,:  A Humanities Annotation App

Mathew Kroot: Anthropology, Treasures of the Old Quad: Tangible and intangible heritage in a Santa Clara neighborhood

Kristin Kusanovich, Theater and Dance and Child Studies: Sustainability and Environmental Justice project

Roberto Mata, Religious Studies:  Latinx Religious Art & The Degentrification of Aesthetics in San Jose

Danielle Morgan, English: Frank Sinatra Fellow

Nico Opper, Communication and Sonja Mackenzie, Public Health, Gender Justice.

David Popalisky  Theater and Dance: Water

Enrique Pulmar, Sociology

Julia A. Scott, Neuroscience: Controlling your reality: Transforming ancient meditative practices into a virtual reality experience 

2018 Frank Sinatra Faculty Fellow

Danielle Morgan, Assistant Professor of English 

Danielle Morgan specializes in African American literature in the twentieth and twenty-first century. She is particularly interested in the ways that literature, popular culture, and humor shape identity formation. Her writing has been published on Racialicious, in Post-Soul Satire: Black Identity after Civil Rights, Humanities, and is forthcoming in Afterlife in the African Diaspora and Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly. She has recently completed a manuscript entitled Just Kidding: African American Satire, Selfhood, and the 21st Century.

2018 Faculty Fellows

Renee Billingslea, Lecturer, Art and Art History Department

Project: Ten Japanese Internment Camps

This project will create a “comprehensive picture of this part of American and California history, bringing together imagery of the campsites today, historical imagery, and stories of the people who were imprisoned in each camp, demonstrating the depth and magnitude of Order 9066.

Renee Billingslea received her MFA in Photography from San Jose State University and teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at Santa Clara University. Her Nationally known installation, The Fabric of Race: Racial Violence and Lynching was recently on exhibit at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. Currently, Billingslea is creating a photographic installation, entitled Ten Internment Camps that address the unjust incarceration of Japanese Citizen living in the United States during WWII. The installation will include her imagery of each of the ten Interment Camp sites, as well as historical photographs helping to tell a complete story of this part of American history, and its impact on racism and immigration issues today. 


Blake de Maria, Harold and Edythe Toso Professor, Art and Art History Department

Project: The Built Environment: Architectural History in the Digital Age

Utilizing her training as an architectural historian, Blake de Maria plans to develop a technology-based course and digital exhibition entitled "The Built Environment: Architectural History in the Digital Age." The course will focus on the historical development of three categories of public spaces – educational, commercial, and industrial – with a specific emphasis on structures on the Santa Clara campus and in Silicon Valley. Students will create a digital exhibition showcasing architectural developments on campus as well as those built at neighboring institutions, including Apple, Google, and Adobe. The exhibition will be accompanied by a GuidiGo app that will offer additional information concerning the exhibition, as well as materials concerning spaces of architectural interest in Silicon Valley.

Dr. de Maria received her undergraduate degree from UCLA, where she specialized in Islamic Art, and then attended Princeton University where she continued her focus on the early modern Mediterranean.  Her publications include the books, Becoming Venetian: Immigrants and the Arts in Early Modern Venice (Yale 2010) and Reflections on Renaissance Venice: Essays in Honor of Patricia Fortini Brown - which was awarded the Gladys Krieble Delmas Award by the Renaissance Society of America as well as essays on The Oracles of Leo the Wise and the material culture of dining in early modern Venice.  She is currently completing the manuscript, "Facets of Splendour: Gemstones and Jewellery in the Republic of Venice." In this study, she explores the mining, trade, and use of precious stones in a variety of venues, including the Treasury of San Marco in Venice.


Angela Holzmeister, Lecturer, Classics Department

Project: Interdisciplinary Conversations on Ancient Art in the Modern World

This project involves conversations between academics and local museum curators, disseminated via podcasts. The goal is to explore “the ethics of finding and acquiring objects, the presentation of artifacts, and the history of collections, as well as issues of identity, nationalism, and repatriation”.

Angela Holzmeister is Lecturer in the Classics Department, where she teaches Ancient Greek and Latin at all levels, as well as courses on mythology, friendship, and ethics. Her research focuses on Greek Imperial literature. She is also co-organizer of the upcoming SCU event "The Ethics of Collecting Art" (May 11, 2018), which is supported through a Hackworth Grant.


2017 Faculty Fellows

  • Elizabeth Drescher, Religious Studies: Living Religions Collaborative Multimedia Website Development
  • Teresia Hinga, Religious Studies: Religion and The Arts in (global) Silicon Valley: Building Resilience and Hope Through (Sacred) Song, Dance and Story Among (The African) Diaspora(s)
  • Kristin Kusanovich, Theater and Dance:  Art and Democracy
  • Amy Lueck, English: Extending Digital Archival Research on our Campus
  • Takeshi Moro, Art and Art History: Digital Storytelling through Virtual Reality Video Art
Several of these projects will also involve faculty and staff collaborators serving as Associate Fellows as well as Student Fellows.