Meet the Directors

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Namiko Kunimoto

Director, Center for Ethnic Studies
Associate Professor, Department of History of Art

Namiko Kunimoto is a specialist in Asian American studies as well as modern and contemporary Japanese art. Her research interests include the visual politics of race and gender, art and diaspora, and issues of migration and nation-formation. Her essays include “Intimate Archives: Japanese-Canadian Family Photography, 1939-1945” in Art History, “Olympic Dissent: Art, Politics, and the Tokyo Games” in Asia Pacific Japan Focus, “Photographic Pluralities” in Blackflash Magazine, and “Tactics and Strategies: Chen Qiulin and the Production of Space” in Art Journal.

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Guisela Latorre

Interim Director, Center for Ethnic Studies
Professor, Departments of History of Art and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Guisela Latorre specializes in modern and contemporary U.S. Latinx and Latin American art with a special emphasis on Chicana/Latina feminism. She is the author of Democracy on the Wall: Street Art of the Post-Dictatorship Era in Chile (2019) and Walls of Empowerment: Chicana/o Indigenist Murals from California (2008). In addition, she was co-curator and co-author of the exhibition/book ¡Murales Rebeldes! L.A. Chicana/Chicano Murals Under Siege (2017). Her other publications include “The Art of Disruption: Chicana/o Art’s Politicized Strategies for Aesthetic Innovation” in The Routledge Handbook of Chicana/o Studies (2018) and “Indigenous Images of Democracy on City Streets: Native Representations in Contemporary Chilean Graffiti and Muralism” in Street Art of Resistance (2017). She is currently working on an anthology on the arts collective Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo.

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Christine Ballengee Morris

Program Director, American Indian Studies
Professor, Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy

Christine Ballengee Morris is a Professor in the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy, was founding Director of the Multicultural Center at Ohio State, and former Coordinator of American Indian Studies. Dr. Ballengee Morris' research interests include self-determination, earthworks, identity development, Indigenous arts, integrated curricula, service-learning, and arts-based research. Prior to coming to Ohio State, Dr. Morris worked as a curricula developer for a children's art museum in Charleston, WV and taught in public schools for over a decade. In addition to her scholarship and teaching, Dr. Ballengee Morris is a performing artist, who has held numerous artists-in-residence positions in several states with her late husband, David E. Morris.

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Pranav Jani

Program Director, Asian American Studies
Associate Professor, Department of English

Pranav Jani is associate professor of English with a focus in postcolonial studies and critical ethnic studies. His research and teaching interests lie in the literatures, cultures and history of colonized and formerly colonized people (in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Ireland) and people of color in the United States. In particular, Jani specializes in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora, Marxist theories of nationalism and colonialism, and the intertwined legacies of colonialism, settler colonialism and slavery.

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Inés Valdez

Program Director, Latina/o Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Inés Valdez is a political theorist interested in Latina/o Political Thought, transnationalism, and the question of racial, gender, and religious difference in democracies.

She addresses this core concern through three projects. The first project is a 2019 book (Transnational Cosmopolitanism: Kant, Du Bois, and Justice as a Political Craft) that proposes a transnational cosmopolitanism built upon the post-First World War writings and political practice of W. E. B. Du Bois and offers a critical reading of Kant's and neo-Kantian cosmopolitanism.