Board of Directors

Headshot of Abdulhamit Arvas, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Abdulhamit Arvas is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently completing a book manuscript that explores English and Ottoman sexualities with a focus on abductions of beautiful boys in the Mediterranean during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. His publications on early modern sexualities, genders, race, cross-cultural encounters, and sexual politics in Turkey have appeared in journals including English Literary Renaissance, Journal of Early Modern Cultural Studies, Shakespeare Survey, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. , and in edited collections such as The Postcolonial World, Trans Historical: Gender Plurality Before the Modern, and The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature. He has recently co-edited the tenth anniversary issue of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies.

Headshot of Elvis Bakaitis, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Elvis Bakaitis is Interim Head of Reference at The Graduate Center Library. Bakaitis is also a Coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and co-founded the NYC Feminist Zinefest with Kate Angell in 2012. They taught a course at Service & Advocacy for LGBT Elders with Flavia Rando in 2019, hold a Certificate in Geriatric Care Management from the Brookdale Center for Aging at Hunter College, and are a former family caregiver.

Debarati Biswas is a Visiting Assistant Professor and a Consortium for Faculty Diversity (CFD) Postdoctoral Fellow at New College of Florida. She previously taught at Hunter College and The City College of New York. Her teaching and research interests include 20th and 21st century African American and U.S. Ethnic Literatures, queer theory, radical Black feminism, and poverty studies. Her first book manuscript, Brother Outsider: Be/longing and the Aesthetics of Elsewheres in African American Men’s Literature, analyzes the affective structure of poverty or the embodiment of blackness and queerness in spaces marked by confinement, regulation, and surveillance such as prisons, inner cities, and single room occupancy hotels, in understudied novels authored by Cold War era African American male writers. Using a cultural studies approach her manuscript explores the possibilities of aberrant intimacies, radical care, solidarities, and optimistic attachments in spaces framed by “premature death.” Overall, Biswas’ research explores how Black and queer literary and cultural expressions push against the “wrongness of being” and offer alternate possibilities of being human. She has held fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and IRADAC, CUNY. Her writing appears in Public Books and she has co-produced an award winning docu-fictional webseries, Three Trembling Cities, on immigrants of color in NYC.

Headshot of Rodrigo Brandao, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Rodrigo Brandao studied Film and Art History at Ithaca College and has over 15 years of experience in the art house, film distribution business. He handled the marketing and PR campaign for the Academy Award-nominated documentary 5 BROKEN CAMERAS and several other award-winning documentaries. He taught workshops on film marketing and distribution for the Tribeca Film Institute in São Paulo, the Brazilian Film Festival in Miami, and the Finger Lakes Film Festival, among others. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brandão now lives in Queens, NY.

Headshot of Jaime Shearn Coan, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Jaime Shearn Coan is a writer and Ph.D. Candidate in English at the CUNY Graduate Center, whose research explores practices of collectivity in queer performance during the early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York City. He currently serves as a Mellon Digital Publics Fellow at The Center for the Humanities, and previously served as the 2016-2017 Curatorial Fellow at Danspace Project. Jaime’s writing has appeared in publications including TDR: The Drama Review, Critical Correspondence, Drain Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket2, and Women & Performance. Jaime is a co-editor of the 2016 Danspace Project catalogue: Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now.

Headshot of Debanuj Dasgupta, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Debanuj Dasgupta is Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Debanuj’s research and teaching focuses on racialized regulation of space, and the global governance of migration, sexuality, and HIV. Prior to his doctoral degree, Debanuj worked for over sixteen years within several international development agencies, HIV/AIDS, LGBT rights and immigrant rights organizations in India and the US. In 1994, Debanuj founded the first HIV prevention program for men who have sex with men and gay men in Kolkata, and since relocating to the United States has organized LGBT immigrants & asylum seekers in the New York tri state area. Debanuj serves on the political geography editorial board of the Geography Compass, and on the Sexual Harassment and Anti-Bullying Taskforce of the American Association of Geographers.  He is the recipient of the Junior Scholar Award in Transregional Studies: Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections from the Social Science Research Council; the Ford Foundation funded New Voices Fellowship, American Association of Geographers and National Science Foundation funded T. J. Reynolds National Award in Disability Studies, and the Emerging Activist Award from the International AIDS Society. His scholarly work has been published in journals such as Disability Studies Quarterly, Contemporary South Asia, SEXUALITIES, Gender, Place & Culture, Human Geography, Women’s Studies in Communication  and the Scholar and the Feminist (S&F online). He is the co-editor of Friendship As Social Justice Activism: Critical Solidarities in Global Perspective (Seagull Press/University of Chicago Press), and Queering Digital India: Activisms, Identities and Subjectivities (University of Edinburgh Press/Oxford University Press).

Headshot of Joseph Donica, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Joseph Donica (Ph.D. American Literature and cultural studies) is an assistant professor of English at Bronx Community College, CUNY. He teaches American literature, literary theory, and writing courses. His research covers post-1945 American literature (especially Arab-American literature), urbanism, the histories of technology, and queer studies. He serves on the executive board of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, is a monthly columnist for Screenshot Magazine, and is the chair of the committee awarding the John Leo and Dana Heller book award in LGBTQ studies.

Headshot of Allisonjoy Faelnar, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Allisonjoy Faelnar has almost 20 years of experience in grassroots organizing, anti-oppression facilitation, social justice theater & performance, creating spaces for holistic healing accessibility, educational human-animal interactions, and expanding the dialogue of intersectionality while challenging us all to manifest our conversations & study into sustainable daily practice. Allisonjoy has been the National Recruiter & Campaign Coordinator for ACORN, Co-Founder of national media justice coalition R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop, National Organizer & touring member of We Got Issues! (a women’s empowerment & leadership organization that combined community organizing skills with multi-disciplinary cultural work & performance), East Coast Coordinator / Road Manager and performer for Mango Tribe, the country’s first & only APIA women & genderqueer interdisciplinary social justice performance ensemble. Her work has been published and performed nationally and internationally. Allisonjoy has led anti-bullying workshops in schools for youth and teachers in NY and NJ. She has organized, created events, facilitated leadership & empowerment trainings and anti-oppression workshops with youth, women, the LGBT community, and people of color. She also administers treatments to animals, some of whom she considers her greatest teachers. Allisonjoy has offered her care all across the United States, and as far away as the Philippines.

Headshot of Monique Guishard, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Monique Guishard is a participatory action researcher, a de-colonial ethicist with expertise in using Brown feminist (Black, Latina, & indigenous feminist epistemologies) to theorize back to conventional research ethics frameworks. Monique is a community college professor committed to student-centered, culturally relevant, blended learning andragogy. Guishard is a member of the Bronx Community Research Review Board (BxCRRB) and a founding member of the Public Science Project.

James K. Harris received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (2010) and an M.A. (2012) and Ph.D. (2017) in English from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He teaches courses in composition, African American literature and contemporary fiction. Before coming to Bronx Community College, he taught at The Ohio State University and Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. His research has primarily focused on 20th Century US Ethnic Literature, and specifically representations of youth, adolescence, and coming of age. His recent work appears in the edited collection Future Humans in Fiction and Film (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2018) and is forthcoming in the Journal of Popular Culture. He is currently developing a project at the intersection of game studies and cultural theory, tentatively titled Play Street.

Headshot of Velina Manolova, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Velina Manolova teaches humanities, critical theory, and writing at Pratt Institute and New York University, and has previously taught literature and writing courses at Baruch College, The City College of New York, and the University of Florida. Her essay, “Tragic ‘Complexity of Manhood’: Masculinity Formations and Performances in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room,” appears in Contemporary Masculinities in the UK and US: Between Bodies and Systems (Palgrave, 2017). Her writing also appears in Public Books and the Poetry Project Newsletter. She has held fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Freie Universität Berlin. Manolova received her Ph.D. in English in 2019. Her book manuscript, Love and Revolution: Queer Freedom, Tragedy, and Decolonization, explores the relationship between intersectionality and intersubjectivity in works by James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, Lorraine Hansberry, and Lillian Smith.

Headshot of Arianna Martinez, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Arianna Martinez is an Associate Professor of Urban Studies at LaGuardia Community College. She received her PhD from Rutgers University in urban planning and geography. She has analyzed the criminalization of Latino immigrant communities in municipalities where both space and citizenship are hotly contested. Martinez’s current scholarship focuses on national immigration policy, the urban transformation and empowerment of Latino communities, and LGBTQ immigrant enclaves. She is happy to call Queens her home.

Headshot of Shaka McGlotten, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Shaka McGlotten is Professor of Media Studies and Anthropology at Purchase College-SUNY, where they also serve as Chair of the Gender Studies and Global Black Studies Programs. Their work stages encounters between black study, queer theory, media, and art. They have written and lectured widely on networked intimacies and messy computational entanglements as they interface with qtpoc lifeworlds. They are the author of Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality, published by SUNY Press in 2013. They are also the co-editor of two edited collections, Black Genders and Sexualities (with Dana-ain Davis) and Zombies and Sexuality (with Steve Jones). Their book Dragging: In the Drag of a Queer Life, forthcoming from Routledge, and their current project, Black Data, have been supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and Creative Capital | The Andy Warhol on Instagram and Twitter @shakaz23.

Ariel Mekler is a development and strategic planning intern for CLAGS.

Ariel G. Mekler is completing her doctorate in political science and women and gender studies. Her research interests include queer transnational scholarship, LGBTIQ+ rights, and international institutions. Before pursuing her PhD, Ariel worked as a graduate researcher with the inaugural LGBT policy unit at USAID. Since joining The Graduate Center, she’s worked for philoSOPHIA: A journal of transContinental feminism, presented her research at the New York State Political Science Association and International Studies Association, and is currently serving as a ISA-LGBTQA Caucus Graduate Student Member-at-Large. Her most recent publication is in the Routledge Handbook of Queer Development Studies.

Headshot of Lavelle Porter, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Lavelle Porter is an Assistant Professor of English at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. He holds a Ph.D. in English from the CUNY Graduate Center, and a B.A. in history from Morehouse College. He has previously worked for CLAGS as Membership and Fellowships Coordinator. His writing has appeared in venues such as The New Inquiry, Poetry Foundation, Warscapes, Callaloo, and Black Perspectives. His research interests include African-American literature,  gender and sexuality, New York City, higher education, and science fiction.

Headshot of Red Washburn, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Red Washburn is Associate Professor of English and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY). Red (them/ them/ theirs) is also Adjunct Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Brooklyn College (CUNY). They are a Research Fellow at the CUNY Grad Center fall/spring 2018-2020. They were a Visiting Professor at Vassar College summers 2018-2019. They teach first-year composition, women’s and trans literature, queer literature, creative nonfiction, introduction to women’s and gender studies, feminist and trans theory, queer theory, postcolonial theory, prison studies, women’s and trans history, civil rights and post-colonial history, and social movements in the United States and Ireland, post- World War II, among other courses.

Headshot of Margot Weiss, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Margot Weiss is associate professor of American studies and anthropology, coordinator of queer studies, and affiliated faculty in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies at Wesleyan University. Acultural anthropologist who specializes in the relationships between queer sexual cultures and US neoliberal capitalism, Margot’s publications include the award-winning Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality (Duke UP, 2011) and her articles have appeared in GLQ, Cultural Anthropology, American Quarterly, Anthropological Quarterly, New Labor Forum, Journal of Homosexuality, and Radical History Review, among other venues. She is currently writing a book on queer left activism and editing a new volume on Queer Anthropology. CLAGS’s financial support and role as a beacon for cutting-edge queer and trans scholarship has been crucial to Margot’s work, and she is honored to serve on the CLAGS Board to contribute to the future of CLAGS. More at or on Twitter @MargotDWeiss

Headshot of Laura Westengard, member of CLAGS board of directors.

Laura Westengard is an Associate Professor of English at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) where she also serves as point person of the interdisciplinary Gender & Sexuality Studies concentration. Her research and teaching interests include United States literature and culture after 1900, queer studies, critical trauma studies, intersectional feminism, and gothicism. Her book, Gothic Queer Culture: Marginalized Communities and the Ghosts of Insidious Trauma (University of Nebraska Press), resurrects “insidious trauma” as a productive term to address the accumulated effects of microaggression and unacknowledged institutional violence. It examines how queer culture challenges heteronormative and racialized systems and practices that create traumatic experiences for queer people and demonstrates how queer culture adopts gothicism to acknowledge the effects of microaggression and insidious trauma.

Are we missing you? If you have served on the CLAGS board in the past please email us at with your name and approximate term served and we will add you to our past board list!

(approximation of term served)

  • Shana Agid
  • Jacqui Alexander (1993- ? ) 
  • David Allyn
  • Deborah Amory (?-2007)
  • Sheldon Applewhite (2016-20)
  • Marysol Asencio
  • Jason Baumann
  • Mark Blasius (1997-2003)
  • Rich Blint (2013-15)
  • Matthew Brim (2010- )
  • Diana Cage (2016-19)
  • Francesca Canad - Sautman (1993 - ?)
  • Andre Carrington (2013-16)
  • Alexis Clements (2017-20)
  • Cathy Cohen (1993 - ?)
  • Roddrick Colvin (2014-17)
  • Carlos Decena
  • Carolyn Dinshaw 
  • Jack Drescher (2004-2007)
  • Sean Edgecombe (2014-17)
  • Christopher Eng (2011-14)
  • David Eng (?-2004)
  • Marta Esquilin (2014-17)
  • Anthony Escobar
  • Licia Fiol-Matta (?-2004)
  • Will Fisher (?-2004)
  • Lourdes Follins (2015-17)
  • Byrne Fone
  • Jen/Jack Gieseking (2009-17)
  • Thomas Glave
  • Jackie Goldsby
  • Melinda Goodman (2014-17)
  • Gayatri Gopinath (2008 - )
  • Miles Parks Grier (2014-16
  • Thomas Hafer (2014-15)
  • Yukiko Hanawa (2004-2010)  
  • Alexander Hardy (2017-19)
  • Stephanie Hsu (2013-19)
  • Sel Hwahng (2015-19)
  • Shereen Inayatulla (2016-20)
  • Allen Isaac (2010 - ) 
  • Karen Jamie (2014-15)
  • Rosamond King (
  • Karin Kohlmeier (?-2007)
  • Jenny Kurtz (2014-15)
  • George Lam (2017-20)
  • Bianca Laureano (2014-18)
  • Rick Lee (2013-16)
  • Christian John Lillis (?-2007)
  • Helen Lewis (2019-20)
  • Heather Love (2010- )
  • Martin Manalansan 
  • Jamie Manrique
  • Rigoberto Marquez (2017-20)
  • Elena M. Martinez (1993 - ?)
  • Lisa Merrill (2014-20)
  • Christopher Adam Mitchell (2008-14)
  • Karen Miller (2008 - 
  • Alexandra Moffet-Bateau (2014-16)
  • Oscar Montero 
  • Lisa Jean Moore (? - 2007)
  • José Munoz
  • Angelique Nixon (2011-14)
  • Nomvuyo Nolutshungu (2014-15, 2016-19)
  • Tei Okamoto (2013-16)
  • Kara Olidge (2014-16)
  • Bill Orchard (2016-19)
  • Peter Penrose (?-2004)
  • José Quiroga (?-2004)
  • Simon Reader (2017-19)
  • Robert Reid-Pharr (?-2004)
  • David Rivera (2014-20)
  • Colin Robinson (2004-2007)
  • Ruthann Robson 
  • Joe Rollinson
  • Anahi Russo Garrido (2008 - 
  • Nick Salvato (2011-14)
  • John-Paul Sanchez (2011-14)
  • Maria Scharron (2014-19)
  • James Smaiis 
  • Shanté Paradigm Smalls (2019-21)
  • Shawn(ta) Smith (2017-2021)
  • C. Riley Snorton (2014-15)
  • Andrew Spieldenner (2011-16)
  • Polly Thistlethwaite (2004-2010)
  • Eric Tribunella (2004 - ?)
  • Sacred Walker (2016-19)
  • Sarah Warner
  • Janet Werther (2017-20)
  • Kalle Westerling (2014-17)
  • Leo Wilton
  • Dagmawi Woubshet (2010 - ) 
  • Michael Yarbrough (2014-17)
  • Rebecca (Beck) Young (2010- )
  • Lisa Yukins (?-2004)