Current Scholars Bios
André Keiji Kunigami, 2018–2020
Department of Romance Studies
Jacob Lau, 2018–2020
Department of Womenʼs and Gender Studies
Sarah D. Mills, 2018–2020
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Danielle Purifoy, 2018–2020
Department of Geography
Annette Rodriguez, 2018–2020
Department of American Studies
KATHRYN DESPLANQUE — Kathryn Desplanque received her PhD in Art History from Duke University. She specializes in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century French social caricature, visual culture, and the printed image. She is currently preparing a book manuscript that builds upon her dissertation which studied satirical images of artistic life in Paris between 1750 and 1850. Kathryn is also continuing research for a second book project that explores modular printed images in nineteenth century France, England, and America, and their various appropriations in popular culture. Her research engages the Digital Humanities by finding new strategies for organizing and analyzing large corpi of imagery using Qualitative Data Analysis software, in particular NVivo. She is a Research Advisory Board Member at NVivo’s parent company, QSR International.
BRIAN HSU — Brian Hsu received his Ph.D. in linguistics in 2016 from the University of Southern California. His research aims to develop a deeper understanding of the relationships between modules of the language faculty, focusing on the sources of word order variation and the effects of prosodic and morpho-syntactic contexts on phonological rules. His recent work, published in Glossa, examines a range of verb-second patterns as a window on the origin of cross-linguistic syntactic variation in the realization of functional categories. As a postdoctoral scholar, he is applying this methodology to the analysis of co-occurrence restrictions on indexical elements within nominal phrases. He is also completing a collaborative project on the typology of loanword adaptations and its implications for the organization of phonological constraint systems.
ANDRÉ KEIJI KUNIGAMI — André Keiji Kunigami received his Ph.D. in Asian Studies from Cornell University. He is a film and media scholar whose interests revolve around questions of perception, spectatorship, and temporality in the early 20th century so-called peripheral spaces to the “West,” through a transregional comparative approach to Brazil and Japan. With particular interest in the intercrossing of phenomenology, historical materialism, critical race studies, and film and media theory, Keiji understands the circulation of the filmic image not only as a global circuit of commodities, but also as a space of friction of embodied experiences and anxieties particular to modernityʼs historical mapping. At UNC, he will work on revising his dissertation “Of Clouds and Bodies: Film and the Dislocation of Vision in Brazilian and Japanese Interwar Avant-garde” into a book manuscript. In it, he examines the transformation of notions such as “movement,” “vision,” “life,” and “history” through the encounter with cinematic perception, and its particular political implications to the peripheral avant-garde elites, their discourses on belatedness, and their modernizing projects. Prior to joining UNC as a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow, Keiji taught history of Brazilian and world cinema at the Fluminense Federal University (Niterói, Rio de Janeiro).
JACOB LAU — Jacob Lau received his Ph.D. in Gender Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow through the Program for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Womenʼs and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work theorizes transgender affect through postcolonial, queer of color, and historical materialist theorizations of time and historicism. Along with Cameron Partridge, he is an editor of Dr. Laurence Michael Dillonʼs 1962 trans memoir Out of the Ordinary: A Life of Spiritual and Gender Transitions (Fordham University Press, 2017), for which he also co-authored an introduction. He was previously a University of California Presidentʼs Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Irvine.
SARAH D. MILLS — Sarah D. Millsʼ research focuses on tobacco control and tobacco-related health disparities. She uses an ecological framework to examine the roles that culture, the neighborhood in which one lives, and public policy play in tobacco use among racial/ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. She has also conducted research in cross-cultural measurement.
Sarah has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology and a master of public health degree in epidemiology from San Diego State University. Dr. Mills completed her clinical internship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Sarahʼs postdoctoral fellowship is supported by the Cancer Control Education Program at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
DANIELLE PURIFOY — Danielle Purifoy received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D in Environmental Politics and African American Studies from Duke University. Her current research focuses on the intersection of racial segregation and local political geography in the production of environmental inequality in North Carolina. She is also interested in the historic sociopolitical roots of contemporary environmental conditions in the U.S. South.
Danielle writes for multiple audiences, including lawyers, academics and the general public. She is an editor for Scalawag, a magazine devoted to Southern politics and culture, a board member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network, and the co-creator, with visual artist Torkwase Dyson, of In Conditions of Fresh Water, a multimedia black spatial history project.
ANNETTE RODRIGUEZ — Annette Rodriguez received a Ph.D. in American Studies from Brown University. Her research interests focus on the functions of public violence in U.S. empire and nation building, U.S. racial formation, immigration, and the production of U.S. citizenship. Her current book project Inventing the Mexican: The Visual Culture of Lynching at the Turn of the Twentieth Century centers performance, popular culture, and visuality as assisting in the relational construction of race. She argues public violences reproduce the vulnerable, unprotected, raced figurations of personhood.
In addition, she has initiated a data, mapping, and social history project on U.S. bounty land grants. This project, which tracks the over six million acres of land granted by both the U.S. federal government and individual states — as incentive to serve in the military and as a reward for service — is provisionally titled Intimate Acquisitions: A Relational History of U.S. Bounty Lands.
ERIKA SERRATO — Erika Serrato received her Ph.D. in French from Emory University in 2017. She is currently a Carolina Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Romance Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in indigeneity within the Francophone Caribbean literary canon and cultural imaginary. In particular, her work traces racial interrelations since the so-called discovery of the Americas, namely how Afro-creolized communities interact with and incorporate Amerindian legacies and cultural artifacts as acts of resistance, survival, and to arrive at a new definition of a native Caribbean. Her dissertation project, entitled “Amerindian Memory and Native Resistance in Francophone Caribbean Literature,” uncovers the ways in which questions of indigeneity have shaped Francophone Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Haiti) literature. Through pointed examples drawn from fiction, travel narratives, ethnographic accounts, dictionaries, memorial art, and rock engravings, Dr. Serrato elucidates who and what constitutes the indigenous, what and who is being remembered, who is doing the recalling, and in what structures and for what purpose the question of indigeneity arises. Prior to accepting her position at UNC, Dr. Serrato was an Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Teaching Fellow at Morehouse College.