Dr. Kamal Ali
Retired Associate Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
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Dr. Ali was hired as Westfield State University’s Director of Minority Affairs in 1981 after completing doctoral studies in the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In this capacity he served as director of the college’s Urban Education program as well as the federally funded Student Support Services program. While maintaining these responsibilities he was named Associate Dean of Multicultural Development in 1993, assuming the planning and implementing of the college’s multicultural agenda and initiating innovative programs in multicultural studies and minority leadership in business.
He has taught a series of courses in Islamic and multicultural studies at Westfield State University and local colleges, including Springfield College, American International College, and Western New England College as a faculty adjunct since 1982 before joining the college’s Department of World Languages, Multicultural, and Gender Studies in 2006 and then the Department of Ethnic and Gender studies in 2009.
He currently serves diverse college and community interests as a founder and Vice President of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts; as a Corporator at the Hartford Seminary; as Director of the Bridge Project, a tripartite agreement between the Dunbar Community Center in Springfield, the college, and MassMutual Financial Group offering WSU courses in the Mason Square neighborhood; as Imam/Chaplain for Muslim inmates at the Hampden County House of Corrections; and as Director of Research and Development of the Canadian Dawah Association.
Dr. Ali’s current research, in addition to editing and reviewing Islamic texts for various Muslim scholars in the United States and Saudi Arabia, and helping to develop the college’s student/faculty exchange program with Cape Coast University in Ghana, West Africa, is in completing work on a collection entitled “The Dar ul-Islam Movement,” an indigenous Muslim revivalist movement, for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.
Dr. Heather Z. Caldwell
Assistant Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
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Dr. C. Margot Hennessy, Chair
Associate Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
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Dr. C. Margot Hennessy became Coordinator of the Multicultural and Ethnic Studies Program at Westfield State in 2002. Before coming to Westfield she taught at Clark University in English and Women’s Studies as well as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She has led the development of Ethnic Studies and Gender studies along with many colleagues to its present exciting state as a department with a proposed major. Her research is in African American and postcolonial literature, theory, history and culture, with particular attention to the works of women of color in the U.S. and globally. She has also written and presented extensively on anti- oppressive pedagogies and the construction of whiteness. She is very interested in the current debate about interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary educational practices and is forever fascinated by the relationship between theory and practice. She has taught courses focusing on postcolonial literature and theory, whiteness studies, African American studies, Gay and Lesbian and Queer Studies and the School to Prison Pipeline.
Dr. Shoba Sharad Rajgopal
Associate Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
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Dr. Rajgopal received her Ph.D. in Media Studies from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Spring 2003. She has a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, also from CU, Boulder. She also has two Master’s degrees in English and Communication respectively, and 3 Bachelor’s degrees under her belt, and speaks 5 languages. She has taught courses on Asian American Studies and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was awarded the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, Boulder, April 2004, by the University of Colorado Student Board at the 60th Session Diversity Commission.
Prior to her arrival in the U.S., Dr. Rajgopal was an international journalist, working for Indian TV news as reporter and anchor. Dr Rajgopal traveled widely across Asia, the Middle East and Europe and reported for the Indian networks from various international locations, and has had articles published in various newspapers and magazines. She has also done reports for CNN International and PBS. Dr. Rajgopal has received commendations from the President of India, Mr. K.R Narayanan, for her work covering the Bombay Riots and Bomb blasts of 1993.
Research Areas: Media Studies, South Asian Cinema, Cultural Studies, U.S. and International Ethnic Studies, Postcolonial and Transnational Feminist Theories, Religious Fundamentalisms in the Global South.
Dr. Elizabeth Stassinos
Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
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Dr. Enrique Morales-Diaz
Professor of Spanish and Ethnic & Gender Studies
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Dr. Morales-Díaz teaches courses in Spanish (language, literatures and cultures), as well as classes such as Masculinities, Queer Literature and Theory, Hip Hop Cultures, Images of Black and Brown, and U.S. Latin@ Literatures. His research areas include Hispanic Caribbean Literatures and Cultures, US Latin@ Cultural Studies, Puerto Rican Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Queer/Gender Studies. He has published on Reinaldo Arenas, Esmeralda Santiago, and on contemporary queer Latino writers. Cambria Press published his book titled Reinaldo Arenas, Caliban, and Postcolonial Discourse in 2009. He is currently working on a manuscript on queer Latino discourses, and has two upcoming articles on coming out in academia.
Ron'na J'Q Lytle
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