Justin Andrews grew up in New Jersey. He has taught at The Boston Conservatory and American University in Cairo and is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at Emory University; where his research involves the poetics and transmission of limit-experiences. His first book, The Concrete of Tight Places, was published by Green Lantern Press in 2010. Anarch, his second book, will be published in 2013 by Open Mouth Records.

Ira Bedzow is an ordained rabbi, a graduate student at Emory University in the GDR as well as the director of the Moral Education Action Research Project for the Tag Institute. He is the author of Halakhic Man, Authentic Jew: Modern Expressions of Orthodox Thought, and a book of poetry, entitled Things Overheard in the Synagogue.

Pat Blanchfield is a sixth-year PhD candidate and Woodruff Scholar in Comparative Literature and an Academic Graduate of the Emory Psychoanalytic Institute. He does work in critical theory and the psychology of religion.

Wencong Chen is a theater major and film minor from China who graduated from Emory in 2012. He spent two gap years backpacking in Asia and Europe and studying visual arts in Norway between junior year and senior year. He is passionate about filmmaking, theater directing/acting/playwriting, photography, TV production, drama therapy, and teaching. He aspires to become a professional theater and film director. Wencong is the founder of the Emory Chinese Theater Club and winner of the 2012 Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts.

Tressie McMillan Cottom is a PhD student in Sociology at Emory University where she broadly studies inequality, organizations, privatization and higher education. Her research examines the growth of the for-profit college sector. As a result, she necessarily engages structural change in the higher education landscape like the expansion of MOOCs, digital humanities, and private-public education vehicles. She has been featured in Inside Higher Education, Contexts Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Nation, and Huffington Post.

James Crissman is an Emory University Sophomore from Graham, North Carolina, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in documentary photography. His recent independent projects include working with The Open Door Community in Atlanta, schools in Liberia, West Africa, as well as capturing the current transitional period that has engulfed Emory’s campus.

Zachary Feldman

Jason Francisco is an acclaimed photographer, critic, and theorist of the photographic image. Nationally and internationally exhibited, he is the author of Far from Zion: Jews, Diaspora, Memory (Stanford University Press, 2006), The Steerage and Alfred Stieglitz, co-authored with Anne McCauley (University of California Press, 2012), as well as numerous essays, reviews, and artist’s books. At Emory University, Francisco is Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department, and an affiliated faculty member in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts. At Stanford University, he is a lecturer in the Department of Art and Art History (summers).

Kiarra Givhan is a student at Emory College and a participant in the Emory Dream Project, a student-initiated program that mentors low-income and first generation high school students on the college applications process.

Aubrey Graham is a 3rd year ABD Anthropology PhD Candidate at Emory with a MA in Anthropology from Emory, a MA in the Social Anthropology of Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and a BA in Anthropology and French from Colgate University. Before beginning her PhD Aubrey worked as a photojournaist for SIPA, Belga and World Picture News. She brings this experience as a photojournalist into conversation with her political anthropology research here at Emory through her dissertation project: Implicated Images: Photography, Aid and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Looking specifically at the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, her doctoral dissertation project asks: What role do humanitarian images play in the region they depict? To do so, she employ interviews, participant observation and photography to explore both local vernacular images created for the consumption of the Congolese, and humanitarian photographs, produced by international agencies for Western or agency-based consumption. By placing these images and their processes of creation and interpretation into conversation, she will show how humanitarian and local visual representations intersect the broader identity and political dynamics central to the ongoing conflict.

Kimberly Hagen, EdD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education in the Rollins School of Public Health. Her principal area of interest is HIV/AIDS, a field in which she has worked since 1985, first as a community volunteer and then, upon joining Emory in 1988, as an HIV/AIDS medical educator (SOM/FPM/SEATEC, 1988-2008) and as Assistant Director of the Center for AIDS Research at Emory (EU/CFAR, 2008-present). Dr. Hagen is currently teaching a course on AIDS as part of Emory’s first foray into “massive open online courses” (MOOCs).

Laura Hunt is a first-year student in the ILA and works full-time as the Program Coordinator for the Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures department at Emory. She earned her MA in Art History from Georgia State University and continues to study avant-garde art and theory in early 20th-century Europe and Russia. Her research is grounded in the use of art in the service of revolution, so she is happy to have contributed in some small way to this tradition via the SRC.

Mary Catherine Johnson is an organizer for the Open Door Community in Atlanta, with a dual focus on the eradication of homelessness and the prison industrial complex. She is also a leader in the movement to abolish capital punishment in Georgia, serving on the Board of Directors for Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) and coordinating a pen pal initiative for death row prisoners in Georgia.

Meredith Kooi is the editor for Radius, an experimental radio broadcast platform based in Chicago. She is currently pursuing a PhD in the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and has received her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At Emory, she is the current president of the Visual Scholarship Initiative and organizer of its salon series SENSORIUM. Her visual and performance work has been shown in galleries and medical venues both nationally and internationally including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, and the Green Lantern Gallery in Chicago. She has been published in the DVD journal ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art and Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline edited by James Elkins, Kristi McGuire, Maureen Burns, Alicia Chester, and Joel Kuennen (Routledge 2013).

E. Michelle Ledder, M.Div (T’10) is a 2nd year Ph.D student of the Graduate Division of Religion with a concentration in Homiletics (preaching). She continues to use her prior academic training in Theology and Philosophy for community building and activism, as well as church ministry and expects to receive her first ordination in the African Methodist Episcopal Church this May. Michelle has served the Emory community as Candler’s student government Treasurer (08-09) and President (09-10), the Chair of Candler’s Cultural Competency and Conflict Transformation Committee (09-10), and an Emory Transforming Community Dialogue Facilitator.

Elyse Lim is in the class of 2015 at Emory College, majoring in Biology.

David Mullins is a comparative literature major at Emory University. His research interests include sado-masochism and robots.

Amanda Rogers is a Dean’s Teaching Fellow in the Departments of Art History and Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies. She will be spending 2013-2015 as an Andrew W. Mellon in Democracy (Institute for Research in the Humanities) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The images profiled here were taken in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as part of dissertation research, funded by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, Fulbright Hays and the American Institute for Maghrib Studies. A practicing artist and photographer, she also serves as a commentator on Middle Eastern and North African politics. You can find her work at, Kifah Libya, Aslan Media and Free Arabs.

Laura Emiko Soltis is a recent PhD graduate of Emory University, where she studied at the Institute of Liberal Arts and the Institute of Human Rights. For her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Soltis conducted ethnographic research on the interracial farmworker movement led by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and examined the efficacy of the movement’s cultural resources and global advocacy strategies in maintaining solidarity among Latino, indigenous Mayan, and Haitian workers, raising farmworker wages, and combatting forced labor in Florida’s agricultural industry. During her time at Emory, she has served as a representative on the President’s Commission on Race and Ethnicity, a graduate fellow at the Center for Ethics’ Servant Leadership Program and the James Weldon Johnson Institute, president of Human Rights Action, co-founder of Students and Workers in Solidarity, and participant in the Student Re-visioning Committee. Most recently, Dr. Soltis has joined the staff of the Visual Arts Department and serves as the founding artistic director of the ensemble Freedom Now Singers.

Malli Swamy is in the class of 2015, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology.

Patricia Vela is a first year graduate student in the Division of Educational Studies. She has a Bachelors and a Masters in Applied Mathematics. She was a high school mathematics teacher in Los Angeles for eight years. Through her research experiences, she developed a desire to bring cutting edge engineering to mathematics education.
Team members: Jorge Palacio (School of Industrial Design, Georgia Institute of Technology), Patricio A. Vela (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology), Claudia Rebola (School of Industrial Design, Georgia Institute of Technology), Robert Jensen (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology).

Wei Hui (Wendy) Zhou is in Emory College’s Class of 2015, with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Global Health.


The symposium subcommittee of the SRC is Katherine Bryant, Brent Dawson, Navyug Gill, Claire Laville, Justine Liepkalns, Kwame Phillips, Mael Vizcarra and Andrew Zonderman.


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