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.


Elvis Bakaitis(They/Them) is currently the Head of Reference at The Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Library and coordinates the Open Knowledge Fellowship. As a member of the University LGBTQ Council and Chair of the Preferred Names and Gender Subcommittee, they provide advocacy for gender non conforming students at CUNY. Bakaitis is a Coordinator at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and in 2020 served as the Principal Investigator on a successful grant from the Mellon Foundation. In 2022, they were a Visiting Scholar at the University of Victoria’s Transgender Archives, for research on their emerging project – “Spiritual & Esoteric Formations in Queer Print Culture(s). Bakaitis additionally holds a Certificate in Geriatric Care Management from the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College.


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.


Jian Neo Chen (they/ he) is associate professor of queer studies in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and English at The Ohio State University (Columbus). Their research focuses on transgender and queer aesthetics and embodied practices in literature, visual culture and contemporary theory and their reimagining and reconstruction of social relations and movements. Their first book Trans Exploits: Trans of Color Cultures and Technologies in Movement (ANIMA series, Duke University Press, 2019) was awarded a 2021 Association for Asian American Studies Book Award and was a 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Chen serves as a co-editor in the new ASTERISK book series at Duke University Press with Susan Stryker and Eliza Steinbock.


  Jaime Shearn Coan(He/Him) is a writer and PhD 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.


Debanuj Dasgupta (Board Co-Chair)(S/He) 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).


  Joseph Donica (PhD 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.


JV Fuqua grew up in rural Texas. Fuqua has a PhD in Cultural and Critical Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and is an Associate Professor of Media History and Theory in the Department of Media Studies at Queens College. Fuqua is also the director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Queens College. Fuqua is a former Fulbright Scholar (City University of Hong Kong, 2005). Their articles have been published in journals such as Cultural Studies and The Journal of Television and New Media, and the European Journal of American Culture. Other writings have appeared in anthologies and in digital sources such as In Media Res. Their first monograph, Prescription TV: Therapeutic Discourse in the Hospital and at Home was published in 2012 by Duke University Press. Their research interests include environmental cultural studies, new materialist feminism, queer theory, and digital media theory. Their teaching areas include television and digital media theory, history, and analysis; documentary film and media; queer media; cultural and feminist media studies. Fuqua is an internationally recognized scholar who has served on the board of the international feminist media collective, “Console-ing Passions. They serve on the editorial board of Women’s Studies Quarterly and is one of the guest editors of the special issue on “nonbinary.”

The focus of Fuqua’s research is on queer and trans theory, new materialist feminism, and environmental cultural studies. A component of that current project is a multi-modal, auto-theoretical examination of nonbinary identity and the nonhuman world. Since August 2020, they have lived in the Sangre de Christo mountains of northern New Mexico. This abrupt shift, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, has allowed Fuqua to immerse themselves in proximate relations with the nonhuman environment, conflations of the urban and the rural, and to confront unprecedented personal loss. Fuqua tells this story through a blend of audio, video, and self-reflective, theoretically informed chapters, one of which includes an examination of nonbinary living, fly fishing, and the search for a wandering feline.


Dr. Jaime M. Grant, co-author of Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, and co-editor of Friendship as Social Justice Activism: Critical Solidarities in a Global Context, is a lesbian feminist activist who came of age in feminist and racial justice movements in the 80s. Currently, she serves as research director for the National LGBTQ+ Women’s Community Survey (

Grant’s sexual liberation workshop, Desire Mapping, has been produced on campuses and at LGBTQ rights conferences around the world. Her podcast, Just Sex captures stories told by Desire Mappers from Beijing to Capetown to South Korea; from Denver to Dallas to DC. Desire Mappers come together to consider these questions: Who are we? What do We Want? Why is it so hard to say/ask? Leading to the meta question: What does desire have to do with justice and liberation?

Grant’s research has appeared in The Harvard LGBTQ Policy Journal and in SIGNS, the Journal of Culture and Society. Her autobiographical writing appears in Leslea Newman’s The Femme Mystique and Rachel Epstein’s Who’s Your Daddy? Recently, her writing on race, gender and sexuality has been featured in The Advocate, The Body: HIV/AIDS Resource, Everyday Feminism, and The Body is Not an Apology.

An activist, coach, and sober mother of two, Jaime lives and practices in Washington, DC.


  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.


Velina Manolova(She/Her) teaches humanities, critical theory, and writing at Pratt Institute and New York University. She has also taught at Baruch College, The City College of New York, and the University of Florida. Her research and teaching interests address intersections of queerness, racialization, and decolonization across human as well as multispecies landscapes. Her writing appears in Contemporary Masculinities in the UK and US: Between Bodies and Systems (Palgrave, 2017), Public Books, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. Her poem “Dream House” is forthcoming in Light Relief, a publication of CUNY’s Lost and Found series. She has held fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and Freie Universität Berlin. Manolova received her Ph.D. in English and Africana Studies from the Graduate Center, CUNY in 2019. Her dissertation, Love and Revolution: Queer Freedom, Tragedy, Belonging, and Decolonization, 1944-1970, explores the relationship between intersectionality and intersubjectivity in works by James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, Lorraine Hansberry, and Lillian Smith.


Shaka McGlotten (They/Them) 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. An anthropologist and artist, 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 Dragging: Or, in the Drag of a Queer Life (Routledge, 2021) and Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality (SUNY, 2013). They are also the co-editor of two edited collections, Black Genders and Sexualities (with Dana-ain Davis, Palgrave, 2012) and Zombies and Sexuality (with Steve Jones, McFarland, 2014). Their work has been supported by Data & Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and The Andy Warhol Foundation. 


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.


Dr. Ahmad Qais Munhazim(They/Them), a genderqueer Afghan, Muslim and perpetually displaced, is an assistant professor of global studies at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. As an interdisciplinary scholar, de/colonial ethnographer and community activist, Munhazim’s work troubles borders of academia, activism and art while exploring everyday experiences of displacements and war in the lives of queer and trans Afghans. Currently, Munhazim is preparing their book manuscript based on a de/colonial ethnography of queer and trans Afghan refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers in the United States. Munhazim has published articles, poetry and non-fictions in the Journal of Narrative Politics, Kohl: A Journal for Body and Gender Research, The Oxford Handbook of Global LGBT and Sexual Diversity Politics, Antipode, We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World, Queer Voices: Poetry, Prose and Pride and the Conversation. Munhazim, born and raised in Afghanistan and exiled currently in Philadelphia, holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota.


Margot Weiss(She/Her) 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


Laura Westengard (Board Co-Chair)(She/They) is an Associate Professor of English at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) where she also serves as the 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.


Terrance Wooten is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. His interdisciplinary research interests are located at the convergence of Black studies, gender and sexuality studies, studies of poverty and homelessness, and carceral studies. He pursues questions in these fields through qualitative methodologies such as interviews, participant observations, close readings, archival research, and discourse analysis. He is currently working on his first book manuscript, “Lurking in the Shadows of Home: Homelessness, Carcerality, and the Figure of the Sex Offender,” which examines how those who have been designated “sex offenders” and are homeless in the Maryland/DC area are managed and regulated through social policies, sex offender registries, and urban and architectural design. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in differences, The Black Scholar, Feminist Formations, Kalfou and QED and has been funded by the Insitute for Citizens and Schoalrs, the Social Science Research Council, and the University of California Office of the President.