IAS welcomes seven new faculty members starting in Fall 2017

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After a highly successful search process, IAS is please to welcome seven new faculty members starting this Fall quarter. Five were hired this year, and two were hired last year, but were on fellowship leave in 2016-17, so are joining us this Fall.

Short bios for each of our new colleagues appear below.


Abraham Avnisan, Artist-in-Residence.  Abraham Avnisan is an artist, technologist, and educator working at the intersection of creative coding, experimental writing, and critical theory. He creates artists’ books, mobile applications, and interactive media installations that seek to subvert dominant narratives through embodied encounters with language. Avnisan’s work has been featured in national and international exhibitions. Avnisan is a teacher, co-founder, and former director of The School of Making Thinking, an experimental college and residency program that brings together interdisciplinary artists and thinkers committed to collaboration, investigative practice, and experimentation. He holds an M.F.A. in Art and Technology Studies from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Brooklyn College.

Masahiro Sugano, Artist-in-Residence.  Masahiro Sugano received a B.A. in Philosophy from California State University, Northridge in 1995 and an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000.  An award-winning film-maker, Sugano brings a range of teaching experiences, from intensive teaching of film making and animation to inner city high school students in Chicago, to teaching courses on media production and communication theory as an adjunct professor at Loyola University, DePaul University, and Columbia College.  In addition, he has given numerous guest lectures on Asian film and workshops on film production.  Sugano’s work spans documentary, spoken word video, short fiction, feature fiction, and photography.  He describes his work as having two thrusts:  One with a social justice and community orientation which is collaborative, as in his work with IAS faculty member Anida Yoeu Ali (Buddhist Bug, Red Chador) and poets and spoken word artists.  Another is work that is more introspective and whimsical, such as his short fiction.   His work has gained critical acclaim, and has been screened at film festivals nationally and internationally, as well as exhibited at art exhibitions.

Min Tang, Lecturer.  Min Tang received a B.A. in Broadcast and Television Journalism from Fudan University in 2010, an M.Sc. in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and an M.A. in Global Communication from the University of Southern California in 2012, and is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (expected 2017).  Tang’s research takes a political economy approach to media industries.  Her current work explores how information communication technology (ICT) industries are emerging as sites of capitalist reproduction, with a particular focus on China’s internet industry. Future projects seek to extend her research to ICT industries in other BRIC nations. Tang brings both her own background as a journalist in China, and her expertise in new media/internet industries, to integrate media production in her classrooms.

Jessica West, Visiting Associate Professor.  Jessica West holds a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law, has been faculty member in the Vermont School of Law and the University of Denver School of Law, and has practiced as a lawyer for more than a decade.  Her research and teaching specializations are in criminal procedure, criminal law, and criminal justice policy.  Her teaching and service will be split between IAS and UW Law.

Brian Chung, Post-Doctoral Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor.  Brian Chung holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Michigan and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii.  He has published and taught in the areas of Chinese Americans and Chinese diasporic cultures and communities, visual culture and cities in California and the American West, transnationalism, and race and identity in U.S. popular culture.

Karisa Butler-Wall, Post-Doctoral Fellow/Teaching Associate.  Karisa Butler-Wall holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Bryn Mawr College.  She has published and taught in the areas of gender and sexuality studies, critical health and disability studies, race and critical ethnic studies, and media and popular culture.

Faculty members hired last year, but joining us in the Fall 2017 quarter:

Maryam Griffin, Assistant Professor. Miriam Griffin is University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis.  She earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a JD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law, specializing in critical race studies.  Griffin was a Palestinian American Research Center Fellow and is the author of “Freedom Rides in Palestine: Racial Segregation and Grassroots Politics on the Bus.”  (UC Presidential Fellow in 2016-17, so starting in IAS in fall 2017.)

Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor.  Lee Ann Wang is University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the UC Berkeley School of Law.  She was previously a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Department of Women’s Studies.  Wang earned her PhD from the University of Michigan’s Program in American Culture, Asian Pacific Islander American Studies.  She is author of “Of the Law, but Not Its Spirit: Immigration Marriage Fraud as Legal Fiction and Violence Against Asian Immigrant Women.” (UC Presidential Fellow in 2016-17, so starting in IAS in fall 2017.)