staff

Nikhil Pal Singh, Faculty Director

is a historian of the twentieth-century United States, who focuses on questions of race, political contention, and state power. He is the author of Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2004), winner of the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the Norris and Carol Hundley Prize from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. He has published extensively on topics including the history of liberalism, war, black radicalism, and US foreign policy. His edited collection of the writings of legendary civil rights activist Jack O’Dell, Climbin’ Jacob’s Ladder: The Black Freedom Movement Writing of Jack O’Dell, was published in 2010 by the University of California Press, where he also serves as an editor for the American Crossroads book series. His next book, Exceptional Empire: Race and War in US Globalism, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

Rachael Hudak, Administrative Director

Rachael Hudak is an educator, writer, and facilitator with over twelve years of experience leading creative arts workshops, seminars, and yoga classes in prisons and jails in the Midwest and in New York. Rachael has worked in collaboration with many community organizations including the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, Chicago Public Radio, the Chicago Public Library, the Goodman Theatre, Catharsis Productions, and the Prison Creative Arts Project and has worked on anti-violence and healing initiatives in Chicago. Prior to moving to New York, Rachael worked closely with Sister Helen Prejean, activist and author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, and was the National Coordinator of the Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project. Rachael is the author of teaching and discussion guides for Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond. Rachael is pursuing an Executive Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner and holds a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.

Raechel Bosch, Assistant Director

Raechel Bosch is a multimedia producer who is committed to working in education and producing community events. She previously served as the graduate programs administrator for the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis at NYU and earned her Master’s degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study where she studied the poetics and politics of documentary and everyday life. Her first documentary film, Town by the Water (2016), premiered at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. 

Vashon Cox, Office Assistant

Vashon Cox was a member of the PEP program in Wallkill Correctional Facility who is presently working as a summer intern at NYU. He is currently preparing to apply for enrollment in the spring 2018 as a Black Studies major.

Jose Díaz, Student Liaison

Jose Díaz is a Latino Studies major at NYU. As a student, he is  seeking to discover the narratives that intersect between, race, class, and gender, and how these links could provide the nexus for social parity within social movements. He is also a writer and has been working in a writing group called Lives In Transition (L.I.T) that uses the power of writing to highlight the personal struggles within our politicized world. He is also a student ambassador for NYU PEP advocating and educating on the importance of inclusivity within the narrative of prison initiative programs and education as well as pushing back against the language and ideas that perpetuates the reproduction of our negative notions of those who are formerly incarcerated and people of color.

Richa Lagu, Office Assistant

Richa Lagu is a junior in New York University’s College of Arts and Science, majoring in Metropolitan Studies within the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Richa is interested in exploring the narratives and promoting the self-expression of underrepresented populations, and has a passion for community service and creative writing. She is also pursuing minors in Spanish Language and Urban Education Studies.

Alexis Myrie, Office Assistant

Alexis Myrie is a rising senior in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. Her concentration at Gallatin, titled “The Influence of Sociality on the Health of Black Women,” focuses on understanding the social factors that influence mental, emotional and physical health disparities among black women. She is also currently pursuing a minor in Social and Cultural Analysis.

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Piper Anderson, Faculty Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Piper Anderson is a community artist, writer, educator, and healing practitioner. In 2014 she founded Create Forward, which specializes in cultivating creative strategies for social change sourced from collective radical imagination. She previously served as Blackout Arts Collective’s Lyrics on Lockdown National Tour Coordinator and directed the cultural campaign that reached more than twenty-five U.S communities creatively catalyzing a dialogue about the impact of the prison industrial complex. Lyrics on Lockdown is now a course at NYU, taught by Anderson, where the mission has become to inspire the next generation of leaders to be advocates for justice. In 2014 she co-founded, SpreadMassLOVE.com to generate critical community dialogue on love in the era of mass incarceration. Her writings have been featured in ForHarriet.com, Huffington Post and four books: How To Get Stupid White Men Out Of Office (2004), Growing Up Girl: Voices from Marginalized Spaces (2006), Conscious Women Rock the Page (2008), and Love, Race, and Liberation (2010).

Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Associate Professor, Faculty Director of the Urban Democracy Lab, Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a sociologist and ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He has written about and continues to research instances of existing civic life and participatory democracy.  While much of his research and writing has been about Brazil, his most recent co-authored book, The Civic Imagination, examines the contours and limits of the democratic conversation in the US today.  His most recent research has been about the global travel and translation of blueprints of urban participation in the current era.  An engaged scholar, Baiocchi was one of the founders of the Participatory Budgeting Project and continues to work with groups improving urban democracy.

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Dolly Chugh, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations, Stern School of Business

Dolly Chugh is an award-winning professor at the New York University Stern School of Business.  She studies unintended forms of unethical behavior and bias, known as “bounded ethicality” and teaches MBA courses in leadership, management, and negotiations. Since, 2008, Dolly has also taught for KIPP, working with regional and school leaders at various points in the leadership pipeline.  Prior to becoming an academic, Dolly worked in consulting, banking, and publishing. Dolly received a B.A. from Cornell University where she earned a double major in Psychology and Economics and served as a two-time co-captain of the Varsity Tennis Team (1990), an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School (1994), and a PhD in Organizational Behavior / Social Psychology from Harvard University (2006).  She is currently writing a book (forthcoming by HarperCollins) tentatively titled The Person You Mean to Be:  How to Overcome Unconscious Bias to Build a Better Workplace and World.

Kimberly DaCosta, Associate Dean of Students, Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Kimberly McClain DaCosta is especially interested in the contemporary production of racial boundaries. Her book, Making Multiracials: State, Family, and Market in the Redrawing of the Color Line (Stanford University Press, 2007), explores the cultural and social underpinnings of the movement to create multiracial collective identity in the United States. Before coming to NYU, Professor DaCosta taught in African American Studies and Social Studies at Harvard University. Professor DaCosta’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Advertising Educational Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She teaches courses on consumerism, race, and on families. Professor DaCosta is an Associate Faculty member in the NYU Department of Sociology.

Shabnam Javdani, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture Education and Human Development

Shabnam Javdani’s research aims to understand, prevent, and target violence and violence-related health and mental health outcomes for underserved youth and families. Javdani’s work investigates how and why violence arises by examining the influence of trauma, neighborhood and community resources, and the response of the criminal justice system (e.g., policies and practices) on outcomes for youth and adults; examines the influence of gender on individual and institutional outcomes; and centralizes the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions for young women and men involved in, or at risk for entry into, the criminal justice system.

Nikhil Singh, Associate Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis, History

Nikhil Pal Singh is a historian of the twentieth-century United States, who focuses on questions of race, political contention, and state power. He is the author of Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2004), winner of the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the Norris and Carol Hundley Prize from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. He has published extensively on topics including the history of liberalism, war, black radicalism, and US foreign policy. His edited collection of the writings of legendary civil rights activist Jack O’Dell, Climbin’ Jacob’s Ladder: The Black Freedom Movement Writing of Jack O’Dell, was published in 2010 by the University of California Press, where he also serves as an editor for the American Crossroads book series. His next book, Exceptional Empire: Race and War in US Globalism, is forthcoming from Harvard University Press.

Dina Rosenfeld, Associate Clinical Professor, Silver School of Social Work

Dr. Dina J. Rosenfeld was the director of the undergraduate social work program from 1995 to 2014, and the assistant dean of undergraduate programs from 2007 to 2014. She has helped establish the Spirituality and Social Work Post-Master’s Certificate Program. She has spearheaded initiatives creating the dual major in social work and global public health and minors in interdisciplinary poverty studies and multi-faith and spiritual leadership. For the last 26 years she has served as an adoption consultant and community educator on adoption. In addition to the above, she has run process groups for workers at Visiting Nurse Service Hospice and has worked with individuals, groups, and couples for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Dr. Rosenfeld has lectured on a variety of topics, including parenting an adopted child, multiracial families, staff and student supervision, Jewish feminism, social work and spirituality, and working with aging Holocaust survivors.

Thuy Linh Tu, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis

Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu’s research examines the relationships between culture and economy by considering how material structures, including commercial markets, state policies, and cultural geographies, shape seemingly immaterial productions, like art, fashion, and beauty. She teaches in the fields of American and Ethnic Studies, and offers courses on labor and immigration and race, health, fashion, and beauty. She is the author of The Beautiful Generation: Asian American Designers and the Cultural Economy of Fashion, and co-editor of the anthologies, Alien Encounter: Popular Culture in Asian America and Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life.

Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, Director of the American Studies Program

Andrew Ross writes on labor, the urban environment, and the organization of work. Making use of social theory as well as ethnography, his writing sharply questions the human and environmental cost of economic growth. The author or editor of more than twenty books, including Creditocracy and the Case for Debt RefusalBird On Fire: Lessons from the World’s Least Sustainable City, and Nice Work if you Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Artforum, The Nation, Newsweek and The Village Voice.

Susanne Wofford, Dean, The Gallatin School of Individualized Study

Susanne L. Wofford is a distinguished scholar of epic poetry and of Renaissance and early modern literature. Her research interests include Shakespeare, Spenser, Renaissance and classical epic, comparative European drama and narrative and literary theory. Her publications include The Choice of Achilles: The Ideology of Figure in the Epic (Stanford University Press, 1992); Epic Traditions in the Contemporary World: The Politics of Community (coeditor) (University of California Press, 1999); Shakespeare: The Late Tragedies (Prentice-Hall, 1995); and Hamlet: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism (St. Martin’s Press, 1994). Her current projects include two books on Shakespeare and transnational Renaissance drama: The Apparent Corpse: Popular and Transnational Bodies on the Shakespearean Stage and Shakespeare and the Foreign: Intercultural Literacy and Literary Diaspora in Early Modern Europe. Professor Wofford is the recipient of many prizes and honors, including the University of Wisconsin Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; the University of Wisconsin Romnes Fellowship; the Hilldale Award for Collaborative Research, UW-Madison; the Robert Frost Chair at the Bread Loaf School of English; the Isabel MacCaffrey Prize (awarded by the Spenser Society); the William Cline Devane Medal for Distinguished Teaching at Yale University; the Sarai Ribicoff Award for the Encouragement of Teaching in Yale College; and the Yale College-Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities. Currently a member of the Modern Language Association’s Executive Committee for the Division on Comparative Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Literature, she has served as the President of the Shakespeare Association of America and serves or has served on the boards of the International Spenser Society, American Comparative Literature Association and the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes. She is a cofounder and current member of the steering committee of the Theater Without Borders International Collaborative.

George Shulman, Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study

George Shulman’s interests lie in the fields of political thought and American studies. He teaches and writes on political thought in Europe and the United States, as well as on Greek and Hebrew traditions. His teaching and writing emphasize the role of narrative in culture and politics. He is the author of Radicalism and Reverence: Gerrard Winstanley and the English Revolution and American Prophecy: Race and Redemption in American Political Culture (2008). His most recent book, American Prophecy, was awarded the David Easton Prize in political theory. Focusing on the language that great American critics have used to engage the racial domination at the center of American history, American Prophecy explores the relationship of prophecy and race to American nationalism and democratic politics. Professor Shulman is a recipient of the 2003 NYU Distinguished Teaching Award.

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Gina Belafonte, Co-Director – Sanfoka.org

Native New Yorker, Gina Belafonte has spent her life in the arenas of entertainment and activism where her professional work thrives today.  As the youngest child of Julie and Harry Belafonte, whose impact in these fields is among the most influential and progressive in the world, Gina’s passions come as no surprise. Gina lives in LA and New York, working with diverse artists, activists and organizations worldwide to promote cultural and civic engagement in the 21st century. An Actress, Director and Producer, Gina is now the Co-Director of Sankofa.org, a social justice organization founded by her father, that enlists the support of today’s most celebrated artists and influential individuals in collaboration with grassroots partners to elevate the voices of the disenfranchised and promote peace, justice and equality.

Marlene Brito, NYU Administrator - Department of Social & Cultural Analysis

Marlene Brito is a visionary leader with an accomplished background in Community Engagement, Program Administration, Strategic Planning and Diversity Inclusion Strategy. Currently, Marlene serves as Administrator of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. Prior to transitioning to Higher Education, Marlene acted as the Director of Programs at National Urban Fellows, a Leadership Development organization that trains leaders of color and women to be change agents in their communities. Marlene previously served as a Community Engagement Manager at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and has held various positions in the fashion industry.

Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of Alliance of Families for Justice

Soffiyah Elijah is Executive Director of the Alliance of Families for Justice and former E.D. of the Correctional Association of New York. An accomplished advocate, attorney, scholar and educator, Ms. Elijah is the first woman and the first person of color to lead the nearly 170-year old organization in its mission to create a fairer, more effective and humane criminal justice system. Prior to joining the staff of the Correctional Association in March 2011, Ms. Elijah served as Deputy Director and a clinical instructor at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School. A native New Yorker, Ms. Elijah practiced criminal and family law in New York City for more than 20 years. Before moving to Harvard, she was a member of the faculty and Director and supervising attorney of the Defender Clinic at the City University of New York School of Law.  She was a supervising attorney at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, where she defended indigent members of the Harlem community, and has also worked as a staff attorney for the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society. She has authored several articles and publications on U.S. criminal and juvenile justice policy and prison conditions and is a frequent presenter at national and international forums.

Jason Flom, Founder/Chief Executive Officer – Lava Records

Jason Flom is the founder and CEO of Lava Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group that represents artists Lorde, Jessie J, and Black Veil Brides, among others. Mr. Flom established Lava in 1995 as a joint venture with Atlantic Records, where he began his career in the music industry in 1979. He rose through the ranks at Atlantic and was named chairman and CEO in 2003. From 2006 to 2008, he served as chairman and CEO of Virgin Records, and subsequently moved to Capitol Music Group, where he served as chairman and CEO. Mr. Flom is the son of the late Joseph Flom (1924-1987), a founding partner at global law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The elder Mr. Flom was instrumental in establishing the Skadden Fellowship Foundation at the firm, which supports law school graduates who provide legal services to the poor. He was also a philanthropist who focused his giving on higher education and social services organizations. Jason is a founding board member of the Innocence Project and serves on the boards of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, The Legal Action Center, The Drug Policy Alliance, and Vetpaw.

Ruthie Gilmore, Director – Center for Place, Culture and Politics – The Graduate Center (CUNY)

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  In her prize-winning book, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, (2007) she explained the political economy of mass incarceration in the world’s 6th largest economy. The 2012 DVD “Visions of Abolition: From Critical Resistance to a New Way of Life,” features Gilmore and other scholars who examine race, gender, sexuality, the prison system, and the purpose of the prison abolition movement. Gilmore lectures widely, works regularly with community groups, and is known for the broad accessibility of her research.  Gilmore is a co-founder of California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, Central California Environmental Justice Network, and other grassroots organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in economic geography and social theory from Rutgers University.

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Sr. Helen Prejean, Anti-Death Penalty Activist and Advocate for Justice Reform

Sister Helen Prejean began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. She is the author of Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, also a major motion picture, an opera, and a play, and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. The Roman Catholic sister has witnessed six executions in Louisiana and today educates the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. She is the spiritual advisor to two men currently on death row and she is currently working on a spiritual memoir, titled River of Fire, to be published by Random House.

Rebecca Ginsburg, Director – Education Justice Project (University of Illinois)

Rebecca Ginsburg directs the Education Justice Project, a comprehensive college-in-prison program based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. EJP provides educational programs to men incarcerated at Danville Correctional Center, produces a state reentry guide with the assistance of EJP alumni, and hosts programs to support family members of incarcerated individuals. Rebecca is trained as an architectural historian and teaches a course on the History of Prisons. Her current research interests include prison education and historical carceral landscapes. She holds a PhD in Architectural History, University of California at Berkeley, a J.D., Law, University of Michigan Law School, and a B.A., English, Loyola Marymount University.

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Anthony Thompson, Professor of Clinical Law – New York University School of Law

Anthony Thompson is a Professor of Clinical Law at New York University School of Law. He teaches courses related to criminal law and civil litigation. His scholarship focuses on race, offender reentry, criminal justice issues and leadership. Thompson designed and developed the first course in the country focusing on offender reentry, formerly known as the Offender Reentry Clinic. The clinic has been renamed the Community Reentry and Reintegration Clinic (“CRRC”) and will focus on individual client advocacy as well as policy work. He has previously taught the Prosecution Clinic, a year-long seminar that placed students in the District Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and the Bronx. Prior to his appointment to the NYU faculty, he was in private practice in Richmond, California where he handled criminal, civil, and entertainment matters. Before opening his own practice, Professor Thompson served for nine years as a Deputy Public Defender in Contra Costa County California.

Glenn Martin, Founder/President – JustLeadershipUSA

Glenn E. Martin is the Founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform. Glenn is a national leader and criminal justice reform advocate who spent six years in NYS prisons.

Prior to founding JLUSA, Glenn served for seven years as VP of Public Affairs at The Fortune Society, and six years as Co-Director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center. Glenn is Co-Founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition, a 2014 Echoing Green Fellow, a 2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow, and a member of the governing boards of the College and Community Fellowship, Million Hoodies and the California Partnership for Safe Communities. Glenn also serves on Governor Cuomo’s Reentry and Reintegration Council, the advisory board of the Vera Institute’s Public Health and Mass Incarceration Initiative, the National Network for Safe Communities, the Executive Session on Community Corrections at Harvard University, and the Global Advisory Council (GAC) of Cornerstone Capital Group. In 2014, Glenn became a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky. Glenn was named on The 2015 Root 100 list of most influential African Americans and #11 of Fast Company’s 100 Most Influential People in Business 2016 edition.

In 2015, Glenn wrote an open letter to President Obama, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, after a visit as an invited guest to the White House when he was separated from his colleagues and given a special escort due to his criminal conviction. Glenn was later invited back to speak on a panel at the White House, getting the chance to meet with President Obama at an event focused on criminal justice reform. In 2016, Glenn was appointed to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform; at the invitation of New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman to look at the possibility of closing Rikers Island. Glenn regularly contributes his expertise to national news outlets such as MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera and CSPAN.

Vivian Nixon, Co-Founder/Executive Director – College and Community Fellowship

The Reverend Vivian Nixon is Executive Director of College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and their families. As a formerly incarcerated woman and prior CCF program participant, Rev. Nixon is uniquely positioned to lead the charge to help justice-involved women and their families have a better future. While incarcerated, Rev. Nixon spent time as a peer educator for the adult basic education program at Albion State Correctional Facility in New York. Following her release, she was ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) and currently serves as an associate minister at Mt. Zion AMEC in New York City.  She is a Columbia University Community Scholar and a recipient of the John Jay Medal for Justice, the Ascend Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Soros Justice Fellowship, and the Petra Foundation Fellowship.  She is a co-founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition (EIO), a collaborative effort to increase access to higher education for justice-involved students and serves on the advisory board of JustLeadershipUSA. Rev. Nixon holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York Empire College.