The College of Liberal & Creative Arts welcomed 14 tenure-track faculty members to its ranks at the beginning of the school year. These rising stars bring a wealth and breadth of expertise to share with students in subjects as diverse as the University itself. They include a Comic Con-nominated artist, the co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book, a member of the original Broadway cast of The Lion King, a scholar of Jewish food and nostalgia and an expert on elections, voting and social movements.
The new professors are among 55 tenure-track and tenured faculty joining SF State this year.
Fatima Alaoui, Communication Studies
Assistant Professor Fatima Alaoui’s research and teaching engage international and intercultural communication, critical rhetoric, media studies, political communication, gender studies and social change in a variety of contexts, including social movements, political discourse and pop culture.
More specifically, her scholarship considers how vernacular voices of resistance work to change their communities, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. The assistant professor also investigates issues of Arab and Muslim representation, performance and identity in the United States, Middle East and North Africa.
Alaoui earned her Ph.D. from University of Denver. Her dissertation explored the vernacular discourse of the Arab spring. She was most recently a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
Olivia Albiero, Italian/German
Assistant Professor Olivia Albiero recently completed her doctorate in Germanics at University of Washington. She joined the university’s Germanics department in 2009 after completing a degree in modern Euro-American languages, literatures and cultures at University of Padua (Italy) and working as a language teaching assistant for Italian in Austria.
Albiero’s academic interests include German and Austrian literature from the late 19th to the 21st century, as well as narrative theory, crime fiction and intermediality. Her dissertation, “Moments of Rupture: Plotting, Character and Narration in Contemporary German Literature,” investigates storytelling and narrative practices in works of the 2000s.
Ilana Crispi, Art
Using ceramics, fiber and traditional craft along with contemporary technologies and junk materials, Assistant Professor Ilana Crispi creates excessively crafted objects and environments. Her creations are sometimes temporary and change over time. They occupy the gallery space and extend beyond to the street and sometimes into unexpected encounters. She makes sculptures and installations of the ephemeral: shadows and footprints and the impressions of stories. Her work often focuses on ideas of perception, the ways in which we perceive our environments and the things we desire.
Crispi received an Eklind Fellowship and served as resident artist at the de Young and Legion of Honor museums in San Francisco and Rochester Folk Art Guild in New York. Her work has been shown at conventional and alternative sites including public streets in Oakland; Artists’ Television Access, Little Tree Gallery and the de Young Museum in San Francisco; Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga; Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose; and Shanghai Normal University Gallery in China. Her “Tenderloin Dirt Harvest” project was featured in The Atlantic and Juxtapoz.
Crispi received her Master of Fine Arts from Mills College.
Mark Allan Davis, Theatre and Dance
Mark Allan Davis has choreographed many original dance and theatre works and taught and performed in more than 20 countries. He was an original cast member of the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of The Lion King, where he performed on the Grammy Award-winning cast album. An active fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Davis wrote and directed several of The Lion King cast’s benefit appearances, including Broadway Celebrates the Apollo.
In 1989 Davis formed his own company, Les Danses Dønsk in Munich, Germany. He worked extensively in fashion, advertising and commercial production for companies such as BMW, Mercedes Benz, Levi Strauss, Nino Cerruti, Helsapor and Loden Frey.
Music videos that feature Davis’ choreography include Milli Vanilli’s Don’t 4-get My Number, The Real McCoy’s Come and Get Your Love and Rock Me Amadeus for the Vienna Symphony Philharmonic. Davis’ play The Last Blues of the Empress was selected by the 2013 National Black Theater Festival.
Davis, an assistant professor, earned his Master of Fine Arts in theatre from Smith College.
Kathleen DeGuzman, English Language and Literature
Kathleen DeGuzman is a scholar and teacher of Anglophone literatures and cultures. The assistant professor’s specializations include Caribbean literature, Caribbean and British cultural entanglements and anti-colonial thought.
She is completing “Small Places: Atlantic Archipelagoes and Literary Form,” a book manuscript that studies the Anglophone Caribbean and imperial Britain as archipelagoes with surprisingly similar approaches to literary form. Her work has appeared in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal and has been supported by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.
DeGuzman earned her Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University, where she won the Daniel Thomas Young Award for her teaching.
Carolina De Robertis, Creative Writing
Carolina De Robertis is the author of internationally best-selling novels that have been translated into 17 languages.
The Invisible Mountain received Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize and was a finalist for a California Book Award, an International Latino Book Award and the VCU Cabell First Novel Award. It was also named a best book of the year by Booklist, O – The Oprah Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. The Gods of Tango received a Stonewall Book Award from the American Library Association and was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Francisco Chronicle and NBC Latino.
De Robertis is the recipient of a 2012 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is also the translator of two Latin American novels, and her literary translations have appeared in Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, McSweeney’s and elsewhere.
Prior to her first book, De Robertis worked in nonprofits for 10 years, with a focus on women’s issues, violence prevention and immigrant rights. De Robertis, an assistant professor, earned her Master of Fine Arts from Mills College.
Rachel Gross, Jewish Studies
The John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies, Rachel Gross holds scholarly interests that range from Jewish food and children’s books to American Jewish experiences of genealogy, nostalgia and Jewish heritage sites.
Gross is working on a book manuscript, “Objects of Affection: The Material Religion of American Jewish Nostalgia.” She has presented papers with tasty titles such as “Draydel Salad: The Serious Business of Jewish Food and Fun in Postwar America” and “A Slippery Slope: Jews, Schmaltz and Crisco.”
Gross earned her earned Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University. She joins SF State after serving as a visiting assistant professor of Judaic studies at Virginia Tech.
The endowed John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies was established with a $1 million gift from the John & Marcia Goldman Foundation in 2013.
Ron Hayduk, Political Science
Associate Professor Ron Hayduk’s research on American politics centers on political participation, voting rights, social movements, urban politics, race and immigration. Formerly a social worker, Hayduk was the coordinator of the New York City Voter Assistance Commission and consulted to policy organizations including the NAACP, Demos and Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change.
Hayduk is co-editing a book anthology tentatively titled Immigrants in a Global City: The Case of Queens, New York. He is a co-founder of the New York Coalition to Expand Voting Rights and the Immigrant Voting Project, a member of the North American Participatory Budgeting Research Board and a board member of the journal Socialism and Democracy.
Before joining SF State, Hayduk taught political science at the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Queens College of the City University of New York. He received his Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center.
Christopher J. Koenig, Communication Studies
Assistant Professor Christopher J. Koenig is a scholar of health communication. His research aims to improve communication about health and illness through investigating language as a discursive social process. Overall, he aims to show how communication can help encourage culturally and interaction-sensitive care, facilitate interactive participation in finding and maintaining well being and foster thoughtful reflection about the roles of health and illness in contemporary society.
Koenig, formerly an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Health Policy Studies, has published in journals including Social Science and Medicine, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Health Communication and Patient Education and Counseling. He has successfully written grants funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and National Institutes of Health.
From 2007 to 2011, Koenig was a Communication Studies lecturer at SF State. He earned his Ph.D. in applied linguistics from University of California, Los Angeles.
Martha Lincoln, Anthropology
Assistant Professor Martha Lincoln is a medical anthropologist specializing in Vietnam. Her research interests include infectious disease, the public health consequences of economic change and the cultural landscape of post-socialism.
Her publications include works on cholera epidemics (Medical Anthropology Quarterly), stratification in health systems (Medicine Anthropology Theory) and biopower under socialism (forthcoming, Routledge). With interdisciplinary collaborators, Lincoln has published on topics including femicide in Guatemala, the cultural politics of anatomical exhibitions and the theoretical uses of ghost and haunting discourses (Comparative Studies in Society and History). She is completing her first book, Remember The Source: Cholera and the Politics of Health in Vietnam (University of Hawaii Press).
Lincoln earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from City University of New York.
Blanca Missé, French
Blanca Missé joins SF State’s Modern Languages and Literatures Department full time after teaching several classes last academic year as a visiting lecturer.
The assistant professor brings research interests in the Age of Enlightenment in France and Europe, French literature, materialism, utopian socialism, Marxism and postcolonial studies. She is working on a book manuscript, “Materialist Form as Critique.”
Missé has also taught at University of Buenos Aires, University of California, Berkeley, and AFEV in Paris. She earned her Ph.D. in French from UC Berkeley.
Karen Y. Morrison, History
Karen Y. Morrison (“Kym”) is a former electrical engineer and worked for several years in weapon systems design before turning to the study of history. An assistant professor, Morrison completed her doctorate in Latin American history at University of Florida, writing a dissertation titled “‘And Your Grandmother, Where is She?’ Reproducing Family, Race and Nation in Cuba.”
Morrison’s research focuses on the relationship between family formation and racial identity in 19th and 20th-century Cuba. Her book Cuba’s Racial Crucible: The Sexual Economy of Identities, 1775 – 2000, was published last year by Indiana University Press. She has published work in Cuban Studies/Estudios Cubanos, the Journal of Social History and Slavery and Abolition.
In 2015 – 16 Morrison served as a Fulbright scholar in Brazil, where she researched her forthcoming book that explores how Brazilian family structures changed in the wake of the nation’s abolition of slavery in 1888 and how those structures transformed meanings of race.
Previously, Morrison was an assistant professor of African diaspora history at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has also taught at Moravian College and Kenyon College.
Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Cinema
A filmmaker and scholar, Celine Parreñas Shimizu is an expert on the intersections of film, sexuality and race. Her books include The Feminist Porn Book and The Hypersexuality of Race, winner of the 2009 Cultural Studies Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies.
Her films include Super Flip, The Fact of Asian Women, winner of four festival awards, and Birthright: Mothering Across Difference, winner of Best Feature Documentary at the 2009 Big Mini DV Festival.
Last year Shimizu served as a visiting professor at SF State in Cinema and Sexuality Studies and distinguished scholar in feminist studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. She was a full professor of Asian American, comparative literature, feminist and film and media studies at UC Santa Barbara from 2001 to 2015. She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2001.
Nick Sousanis, Humanities and Liberal Studies
Most recently a postdoctoral fellow in comics studies at University of Calgary, Assistant Professor Nick Sousanis received his doctorate in education in 2014 from Columbia University, where he wrote and drew his dissertation entirely in comic book form. Published a year later by Harvard University Press, Unflattening argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning. The New York Times Book Review described Unflattening as “a genuine oddity, a philosophical treatise in comics form.” It was nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award at Comic Con.
Before coming to New York City, Sousanis was immersed in Detroit’s arts community, where he co-founded arts and culture site TheDetroiter.com and became the biographer of legendary Detroit artist Charles McGee.
Sousanis’ work has been featured with reviews and interviews in venues such as The Paris Review, The New York Times, PrintMag, Inside Higher Ed, Chronicle of Higher Education, Publishers Weekly, Microsoft’s Daily Edventures and Russia’s Theory and Practice.
- Olivia Albiero
- Ilana Crispi
- Mark Allan Davis
- Kathleen DeGuzman
- Carolina De Robertis
- Rachel Gross
- Ron Hayduk
- Karen Y. Morrison
- Celine Parreñas Shimizu
- Nick Sousanis
Header photo: Ilana Crispi, assistant professor of Art, discusses her Tenderloin Dirt Harvest project. Courtesy of Ilana Crispi Art/YouTube. Thumbnail photos by Hannah Anderson.