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

"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

Visit the University's system-wide
Social & Racial Justice Scholar Directory

Our faculty bring their insights and expertise into reciprocal engagement with local, national, and global communities around issues of race, justice, dignity, and respect. This work has always been critical, and its importance was heightened even further in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. On this page we gather examples of recent contributions by CLA faculty to these ongoing and crucial conversations. 

(Last updated April 15, 2021)

African American & African Studies

African American & African Studies and the Transformative Power of Knowledge

In the wake of George Floyd's murder, African American & African Studies core and affiliate faculty offer perspectives on the policing crisis and the imperative of racial justice to articulate knowledge for our time.

Joint Statement from AAS and AA&AS on Anti-Asian Violence and the Atlanta Shooting

Portrait of Professor Rose Brewer.

Rose Brewer, professor 

Expertise: Social and behavioral sciences, public policy and development, African diasporic 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

John Wright, professor emeritus, Departments of African American & African Studies and English

Expertise: American and Afro-American literature; intellectual history and popular culture, folklore and oral tradition, sociology of literature, feminist criticism, Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, Langston Hughes

American Studies
American Indian Studies

Vicente M Diaz

Vicente Diaz, associate professor

Expertise: critical indigenous studies in North America and the Pacific Ocean region

Asian American Studies
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

portrait of Jimmy Patino

Jimmy C. Patiño Jr., associate professor

Expertise: Race/Class/Gender; Chicano/a and Latino/a History, Culture and Politics; Immigration and the U.S.-Mexico Border; Latino/a Civil Rights and the Chicano/a Movement; African American and Latino/a Relations

Communication Studies

Portrait: Catherine Squires

Catherine Squires, professor

Expertise: Media, race and politics; gender and media studies; public sphere studies; community-engaged research; educational inequality


Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature

image of Laurie Ouellette

Laurie Ouellette, professor of cultural studies & comparative literature and communication studies, department chair of cultural studies & comparative literature

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, chair of gender, women & sexuality studies

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



David Chang

David Chang, Distinguished McKnight Professor and chair of the American Indian studies department

Expertise: Indigenous studies, Indigenous history, Native Hawaiian History, US West, Race and Nationalism, US 19th- and 20th-century history, US colonialism

Portrait of Tracey Deutsch

Tracey Deutsch, associate professor

Expertise: United States, Women's History, and Business

Erika Lee

Erika Lee, Regents Professor and Director of the Immigration History Research Center

Expertise: Xenophobia, Migration, Race, and Ethnicity; Asian Americans; 20th-century United States; Law and Public Policy

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

Immigration History Research Center
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

Portrait of Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson, professor

Expertise:  Supreme Court Oral Arguments and Decision Making, The Evolution of the Norm of Respecting Precedent in U.S. Courts, Executive/Judiciary Relations, Judicial Politics, American politics

Portrait of Associate Professor Michael Minta

Michael Minta, associate professor

Expertise: Congressional politics, race and ethnic politics, interest group advocacy

Portrait of August Nimtz

August Nimtz, professor

Expertise: African politics, comparative politics, ethnic politics, Marxism, political development, politics of the transition to socialism, political economy

Kathryn Pearson

Kathryn Pearson, associate chair, Department of Political Science

Expertise: American politics, US Congress, women and politics, Congressional elections and political behavior, US political parties


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

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

Race, Indigeneity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

UMN Racial Justice Resources

The Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies Initiative compiled a collection of racial justice resources for students, staff, faculty, and community partners who are activists and are looking for support for their work, models from similar organizing efforts, and potential collaborators and coalition partners.


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

Portrait of Carolyn Liebler

Carolyn Lieber, associate professor

Expertise: Race and Ethnicity, Social Demography, Indigenous Peoples, Social Stratification, Sociology of the Family and Life Course, Social Support

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

Portrait of Elizabeth Wrigley Field

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, assitant professor 


Professor John Wright seated at a desk speaking into a microphone at the chambers for the University of Minnesota Board of Regent. A group of faculty and students stand in the background.

John Wright, professor emeritus, Departments of African American & African Studies and English

Expertise: American and Afro-American literature; intellectual history and popular culture, folklore and oral tradition, sociology of literature, feminist criticism, Harlem Renaissance, Black Arts Movement, Langston Hughes