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Nikhil Pal Singh, Faculty Director

Nikhil 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.


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Kim DaCosta, Associate Faculty Director

Kimberly McClain DaCosta, a sociologist, is a professor at NYU’s Gallatin School.  She 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. She is currently exploring how interracial extended kin relationships speak to questions of interracial empathy, care and assimilation. 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 race in different societies, families, and consumerism in international perspective. Professor DaCosta served as Associate Dean of Students at the Gallatin School for seven years. She is currently serving as the Associate Faculty Director of NYU’s Prison Education Program.

Professor DaCosta received her B.A. in sociology from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in sociology from Berkeley.

Kaitlin Noss, Administrative Director

Kaitlin is an educator and prison abolition activist. She is currently completing her PhD in American Studies at NYU. Her dissertation project maps the development of US agricultural imperialism during the mid-twentieth century, with a focus on race, capital, and land management between the US South and East Africa. She joins PEP after 13 years working at Prescott College, where she taught and helped to establish the Maasai Community Partnership Program for indigenous land rights and the Social Justice and Community Organizing Master’s Program. The latter trains students in critical theory and history, while coordinating their work for real-time grassroots campaigns through partnership with movement organizations in Arizona. She is excited to bring her commitment to radical pedagogy and educational justice to the team of students, staff, and faculty at PEP.


Picture of Raechel Bosch

Raechel Bosch, Associate Director, Communications

Raechel is a creative producer and community events organizer. She previously served as the graduate programs coordinator for the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis at NYU and earned her Master’s degree from the NYU 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. Raechel has years of experience developing higher education programs and has focused on solutions-based projects, multidisciplinary partnerships, and strategic communications as a way of increasing collaboration.  


Alejandra Gonzalez Ariza, Administrative Aide

Alejandra graduated from the University of Maryland, where she studied Politics and French. She has worked with at-risk youth in the DC metro area and is interested in increasing access to higher education for underserved communities.


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Jose Diaz, Student Services Coordinator

Jose Díaz is a Master’s student majoring in Social and Cultural Analysis with an emphasis on Latino Studies at NYU. As a student and advocate, he seeks to unravel colonial narratives that underlie our common notions of race, class, and gender, and how those ideas inform public space and human interaction. He is also a writer and public speaker, where he uses the power of storytelling to highlight his personal struggles with incarceration while challenging theoretical postulations about the carceral system. He advocates and educates on the importance of inclusivity within prison initiative programs and education as well as pushing back against the language, privilege, and ideas that perpetuates the reproduction of negative notions of people of color.


Picture of Zhandarka Kurti

Zhandarka Kurti, Postdoctoral Fellow

Zhandarka Kurti is a Bronx native. She studies the historical and contemporary transformations of punishment and social control. Her overall research focuses on the relationship between penal practices and institutions and wider social, economic and political changes. Zhandarka’s dissertation examined the role that lower criminal courts, probation and third party community supervision play in the criminalization of black and Latino youth in the South Bronx. Her current research projects explore the politics of criminal justice reforms and the role of parole in the lives of formerly incarcerated people and their families in New York State.