Board of Directors

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 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: Pranabes Probeshika Dutta-Pro

Pranabes Probeshika Dutta- Pro (they/them) is a graduate student of Economics at the Graduate Center, CUNY and is in the race to become the first trans-identifying economist from India. They have grown up in Calcutta and Delhi in India where they have worked closely with deprived transgenders and trans sex workers. They have also been an active member of queer groups of Indian universities they have studied and worked in where they have been involved with outreach and counseling activities.

Julie R. Enszer, PhD, is a scholar and a poet. Her scholarly book manuscript, A Fine Bind, is a history of lesbian-feminist presses from 1969 until 2009. She is the author of four poetry collections, including Avowed (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016) and Lilith’s Demons (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2015). She co-edited with Elena Gross OutWrite: The Speeches that Shaped LGBTQ Literary Culture (Rutgers UP, 2022), which won the 2023 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Anthology. She is editor of Fire-Rimmed Eden: Selected Poems by Lynn Lonidier (Sinister Wisdom, 2023), The Complete Works of Pat Parker (Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2016), which won the 2017 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 1974-1989 (Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2018), and Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. Enszer has her MFA and PhD from the University of Maryland. She edits and publishes Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal. 

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.

Professor Felicia Kornbluh (she/they) specializes in the histories of feminism, gender, social welfare, disability, law, Jews in the United States, and reproductive politics. They are Professor of History and of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at University of Vermont, and affiliated faculty in Jewish Studies - and the author or coauthor of three books, including the New York Times–reviewed A Woman’s Life Is a Human Life: My Mother, Our Neighbor, and the Journey from Reproductive Rights to Reproductive Justice (Grove Press, 2023). Their current projects are Sex. Gender. Tyranny., a historical and feminist study of the relationship between attempted controls on gender and sexuality, and anti-democratic movements or regimes, and Sharon and Karen: A Love Story, a study of the legal case of Sharon Kowalski and Karen Thompson. A recipient of grants from the American Historical Association, Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars, they also serve on the editorial boards of the Journal of American Constitutional History, and the journals The 1960s and Moving the Social: A Journal of Social History and the History of Social Movements.

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.


Nerve Macaspac Bio Pic

Professor Nerve V. Macaspac (he/him) is an Assistant Professor of Information Studies at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies and a Doctoral Faculty at the Earth and Environmental Sciences at the Graduate Center. His current research examines community-led peace zones as spaces of unarmed civilian protection amid active violent conflicts. He is a Co-Investigator for “Creating Safer Spaces,” a 5-year international and interdisciplinary research project funded by the United Kingdom Research and Innovation’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and for “Building the SUNY/CUNY Southeast Asia Consortium,” a 4-year project establishing Southeast Asian Studies network in the SUNY and CUNY systems funded by the Luce Foundation. He received his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of California in Los Angeles, and a Masters in Asian Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. 

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.

Ricardo Montez is an Associate Professor of Performance Studies at Rutgers University where he teaches in English and Art History. His book, Keith Haring’s Line: Race and the Performance of Desire was published by Duke University Press in 2020. Prior to his appointment at Rutgers, Montez taught at the New School where he chaired and developed Race and Ethnicity Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies for the Liberal Arts curriculum. His writing has appeared in academic journals, including GLQ: a journal of lesbian and gay studies, ASAP/Journal, Social Text, and Theatre Journal. Montez has also contributed essays to exhibition catalogs and edited volumes in the areas of visual art and performance. As a co-curator, Montez organized the exhibition, Ephemera As Evidence, for Visual AIDS. The exhibition took its title from an essay by the late José Esteban Muñoz and considered the role ephemera plays in the political life of HIV. Montez is currently working on a second book project, Cities of Night: Desire on the Margins and the Illumination of Form, that examines night as a structure of feeling in the work of contemporary visual artists.

Zein Murib is Associate Professor of Political Science and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Fordham University Lincoln Center specializing in the study of race, sexuality, and transgender politics in the US. Their scholarship has been published in Politics & Gender, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Signs, Laws, and Politics, Groups, and Identities as well as other peer-reviewed publications. Their book Terms of Exclusion: Rightful Citizenship Claims and LGBT Political Identity Construction (Oxford University Press, 2023) examines how rights claims made by marginalized groups only succeed in attaining recognition and safety those closest to the prototypical white and straight male citizen. You can find their analysis of the current pushes to criminalize transgender people in Teen Vogue, The Washington Post, and on Twitter at @zeinmurib.

Charles Rice-González, born in Puerto Rico and reared in the Bronx, is a writer, long-time LGBTQ activist, and co-founder with Arthur Aviles of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance which presents empowering works for women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. He is an Asst. Professor at Hostos Community College – CUNY where he teaches in the English Department. His novel, Chulito, received recognition from the American Library Association and the National Book Critics Circle. He co-edited From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction, and his play I Just Love Andy Gibb was published in Blacktino Queer Performance: A Critical Anthology. His is a MacDowell Fellow, a Lannan Foundation Fellow, a PEN America Writing as Activism Fellow, and received the Lambda Literary Foundation's Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award and a Lifetime Achievement Honor from the Bessies - NY Dance and Performance. He’s the board chair for the Bronx Council on the Arts and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures. He has a B.A. in Communications from Adelphi University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College.

Kristopher Velasco (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. His research lies at the intersections of global & transnational sociology, organizations, political sociology, culture, and sexuality. Kristopher’s research asks: how do organizations and institutions facilitate social and cultural change? Globally, he investigates how transnational advocacy networks, NGOs, and international institutions facilitate the expansion of LGBTI rights around the world by changing cultural understandings of gender and sexuality. Domestically, he examines the cultural dimensions of nonprofit organizations and how these attributes influence wider society, especially when it comes to normalizing diverse sexual and gender identities. Kristopher’s research has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and International Studies Quarterly, among others. Additionally, Kristopher has received awards for his research from the American Sociological Association, American Political Science Association, International Studies Association, Academy of Management, and the Ford Foundation. Kristopher, a first-generation college student and U.S. citizen, received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

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.

Jawanza James Williams is a Black, radical Queer, Prison Abolitionist, Socialist, Feminist, Christian engaged in social critique, local, and state politics in New York. He is a PhD Political Science student at the CUNY Graduate Center, with interests in democracy, authoritarianism, and racial politics. Williams is originally from Beaumont, Texas. He received a BA in English from Schreiner University in 2012 before moving to New York City, where he works with VOCAL-NY as the Managing Director of Organizing.

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)

  • Abdulhamit Arvas (2020-2023)
  • 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)
  • Rodrigo Brandao (2018 - ?)
  • Matthew Brim (2008-2014)
  • 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
  • Allisonjoy Faelnar (2018 - ? )
  • 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)
  • Monique Guishard (2017 - ?)
  • 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 
  • Velina Manolova (2017 - 2022)
  • Jamie Manrique
  • Rigoberto Marquez (2017-20)
  • Elena M. Martinez (1993 - ?)
  • Arianna Martinez (2019-2022)
  • 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)
  • Lavelle Porter (2016 - 2022)
  • 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
  • Red Washburn (2019 - 2022)
  • Janet Werther (2017-20)
  • Kalle Westerling (2014-17)
  • Leo Wilton
  • Dagmawi Woubshet (2010 - ) 
  • Michael Yarbrough (2014-17)
  • Rebecca (Beck) Young (2010- )
  • Lisa Yukins (?-2004)