Liberal Arts Expertise Around Issues of Race, Justice, Dignity, and Respect

In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, we are bereaved and share in the sorrow of this moment. For our African American community members, friends, and colleagues the pain and grief are felt especially deeply. As we strive to comprehend this loss and the events that have followed, we are committed to giving voice to how we can advocate for and serve the causes of justice and civil liberties.

"CLA is the campus home for research, teaching, and community engagement in the study of race, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality. Our departments of African American & African Studies; American Indian Studies; Chicano & Latino Studies; American Studies; and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies; and the Asian American Studies Program are among the first and most prominent in their respective fields. And our departments across the arts, humanities, and social science address issues of race, justice, dignity, and respect in their research, creative work, and instruction.

We in CLA will continue to provide the leadership in this work that is so critically needed in our community and our society today."  — John Coleman, dean

Our faculty are bringing their insights and expertise to benefit and teach local, national, and international communities. This depth of understanding leads to their being called upon by media for insights and clarity—especially during times of tragedy. Here are examples of recent contributions to these ongoing, important conversations.

(Last updated July 8, 2020)

African American & African Studies

Keith Mayes standing in front of his office, smiling

Keith Mayes, associate professor

Expertise: 19th and 20th-century African American History, Kwanzaa and Black holidays, Civil Rights and Black Power Movement, Black history and educational policy, African American public history

Portrait of Yuichiro Onishi

Yuichiro Onishi, Associate Professor of African American & African Studies and Asian American Studies, Chair of the Department of African American & African Studies

Expertise: Black radicalism and internationalism, African American history, transnational American studies, critical race studies, Asian American studies

Portrait of Terrion Williamson

Terrion Williamson, associate professor, McKnight Presidential Fellow, and director of the Black Midwest Initiative

Expertise: Contemporary African American literature, Black cultural studies, feminist theory, midwest studies, racialized gender violence

Chicano & Latino Studies

Portrait of Jessica Lopez

Jessica Lopez Lyman, associate professor

Expertise: Midwest Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x Studies; gentrification & Latina/o/x urbanisms; immigration; performance and visual art; feminist, queer, and decolonial social movements

Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

image of Laurie Ouellette

Laurie Ouellette, professor and department chair

Expertise: Media studies; television studies; gender and sexuality; biopolitics and governmentality; lifestyle and consumer culture; precarity, labor and class; media historiography; digital media and culture 

French & Italian

Bruno Chaouat

Bruno Chaouat, professor

Expertise: Holocaust studies, ethics and literature, 20th-century novel, literary theory, intellectual and cultural history (20th-21st century France)

Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

Portrait of Zenzele Isoke

Zenzele Isoke, associate professor

Expertise: Black femme/queer of color feminism, Black feminist thought, urban ethnography, feminist theory and methods, Black/African diaspora studies, Black cultural theory, Black geographies

Geography, Environment & Society

Portrait of Adam Bledsoe

Adam Bledsoe, assistant professor

Expertise: Black geographies, African diaspora, political geography, critical theory, political movements

Professor Kate Derickson

Kate Derickson, associate professor and Director of Urban Studies



Saje Mathieu

Saje Mathieu, associate professor

Expertise: African American history since Reconstruction, World War One; US history from 1865 to the present; immigration, social movements and political resistance; race and sport; Black/African diaspora studies

Portrait of Zozan Pehlivan

Zozan Pehlivan, assistant professor

Expertise: Environmental History, Pastoral Nomadism, Animals, Modern Middle East, Ottoman Empire

Journalism & Mass Communication

Portrait of Danielle Kilgo

Danielle Kilgo, John & Elizabeth Bates Cowles Professor of Journalism, Diversity and Equality

Jane Kirtley

Jane Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law and director, Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law

Expertise: Constitutional law, EU data protection, First Amendment, free speech, freedom of information, freedom of the press, information privacy, media ethics, media law, media/military relations, national security

List of Incidents Involving Police and Journalists During Civil Unrest in Minneapolis, MN

Compiled by the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law

Errol Salamon

Errol Salamon, Postdoctoral Teaching Associate

Expertise: Journalism studies; media history; political economy of communication; cultural studies; digital media; media policy 

Portrait of Emily Vraga

Emily Vraga, Associate Professor

Expertise: Identifying and correcting misinformation; political communication; health communication; digital media effects 


Roque Diaz

Roque Diaz, graduate student

Political Science

Professor Eugene Borgida

Eugene Borgida, professor of psychology and law

Expertise: Social cognition, attitudes and persuasion, psychology and law, political psychology

Portrait of Nathan Kuncel

Nathan Kuncel, professor

Expertise: Structure and prediction of performance in academic and work settings

Portrait of Richard Lee
Portrait of Richard Lee, Diversity in Psychology coordinator. Photo by Phuong Tran, CLAgency student.

Richard M. Lee, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Distinguished University Teaching Professor 

Expertise: Racism, discrimination, xenophobia and implications for mental health and parenting in Asian American families; impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, well-being, and school/work performance; transracial and transnational adoption; culture-specific risk and protective factors on the development and well-being of families and youth of color

Image of Paul Sackett

Paul Sackett, Richard Fink Distinguished Professor

Expertise: Personnel decision making, job performance, counterproductive behavior in the workplace, managerial potential

Moin Syed

Moin Syed, Associate Professor 

Expertise: cultural/ethnic minority psychology, racism/discrimination, identity/personality, narrative psychology, development and open science


Portrait of Cawo Abdi

Cawo Abdi, associate professor

Expertise: Migration; gender, race, and class; family; Islam; education, development studies; human rights; globalization; Africa; Middle East

Portrait: Doug Hartmann

Douglas Hartmann, professor and sociology department chair

Expertise: Race, ethnicity, and Immigration; sociology of culture, sport studies, social movements, American society, field methods, contemporary theory, public engagement

Enid Logan

Enid Logan, professor 

Expertise: Blackness in the Americas; contemporary U.S. race relations; race and the body; race and electoral politics; Blacks and social class; Afro-Latin America 

Portrait of Josh Page

Joshua Page, Don A. Martindale Professor of Sociology, Beverly & Richard Fink Professor in CLA

Expertise: Crime, law, deviance, and punishment; labor and unionization; political sociology, qualitative research methods, social theory

Portrait of Michelle Phelps

Michelle Phelps, associate professor

Expertise: Crime, law and deviance; inequality; mixed methods