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Belinda Edmondson, Principal Investigator

Belinda Edmondson is a scholar of Caribbean literature at Rutgers University, Newark, where she holds a joint appointment in English and Africana Studies. Her most recent book is Creole Noise: Early Caribbean Dialect Literature and Performance (Oxford UP, 2022).




Kornel Chang, Co-Principal Investigator

Kornel Chang is Associate Professor of History and American Studies at Rutgers University, Newark. His research and teaching interests include Asian American history, the United States in the Pacific world, and race, migration, and labor in the Americas. His current book project, tentatively titled Occupying Knowledge: Expertise, Technocracy, and De-Colonization in the U.S. Occupation of Korea, examines the role of technocrats and expert knowledge in the U.S. Occupation of Korea.


Sean T. Mitchell, Co-Principal Investigator

Sean T. Mitchell is associate professor of anthropology and director of Peace and Conflict Studies at Rutgers University, Newark. He writes about inequality politics in Brazil and elsewhere. He is the author of Constellation of Inequality: Space, Race and Utopia in Brazil (Chicago 2017) and co-editor of Precarious Democracy: Ethnographies of Hope, Despair and Resistance in Brazil (Rutgers 2021), among other works.



Bernie Lombardi, Postdoctoral Fellow

Bernie Lombardi is Postdoctoral Associate in Africana Studies at Rutgers University, Newark and has been on the team at the Newark City of Learning Collaborative since 2016. His publications have appeared or are forthcoming in Research in African Literatures, College Literature, The Black Scholar, and the edited collection Langston Hughes in Context (Cambridge UP 2023). He also blogs about books and contemporary literary culture on Instagram: @bernie.lombardi.


Christina Strasburger, Department Administrator for History and Africana Studies

Christina Strasburger is an administrative and academic professional with over two decades of experience in higher education. She provides a range of education, information, and advocacy services for students, faculty, staff, and community. She is co-founder of the award-winning Queer Newark Oral History Project, a community-directed initiative dedicated to recording and preserving the history of LGBTQ+ people in and of Newark, NJ.


Mi Hyun Yoon, Graduate Assistant

Mi Hyun Yoon is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Rutgers University, Newark. Her research looks at the history of the Korean diaspora in the United States through the transnational context of Asian America and Korea. Her latest articles are “Kung Flu and Roof Koreans: Asian/Americans as the Hated Other and Proxies of Hating in the White Imaginary” (Journal of Hate Studies, 2021) and “To Write in Unwellness: Documenting A/P/A Voices” (Journal of Asian American Studies, 2022).



Sara Márquez Durst, Graduate Assistant

Sara Márquez Durst is pursuing an MA in English here at Rutgers-Newark. Her background is in Old English Literature and Japanese Folklore Studies, which she studied at Rutgers-NB. Sara is a published short story author and combines her academic and creative interests to explore identity, time, and place.




Iliana Smith, Graduate Assistant

Iliana Smith is an English Master’s Candidate at Rutgers University, where she focuses on Caribbean postwar literary movements and visual culture. She has presented at the 2022 Black Portraiture Conference, where she co-organized the panel “Performance, Poetics, & the Story: A Merging of Interdisciplinary Expression and Identity.” She is currently working on a profile of the Caribbean writer and one of the founders of the Caribbean Artists Movement, Andrew Salkey.


Esperanza Onoria Santos, Graduate Assistant

Esperanza Onoria Santos is a PhD student at Rutgers Newark where she received the Rutgers Presidential Graduate Fellowship. Her focus is Transgender Studies, Latinx Culture, transnationalism, and History. She is a former McNair Scholar and has a history of leadership and received awards such as the Sonoma County “Community Role Model Award” and the Rutgers Newark “LGBTQ+ Leadership Award.” She worked with the Santa Rosa Trans Latinas as a facilitator and organized a Trans Rights March in 2019.


Arshy Hernandez, Social Media Associate

Arshy Hernandez has an AA in graphic design and a BFA in Graphic Design. She is experienced in visual communications, social media management, illustration, and motion graphics. As a Dominican native female, she merges a strong connection to her culture and traditions with vibrant and bright colors to create beautiful pieces with a critical approach to design. Hernandez has created designs for the Rutgers Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, NJSBDC State Office as a graphic design intern.