Current Scholars Bios
André Keiji Kunigami, 2018–2020
Department of Romance Studies
Jacob Lau, 2018–2020
Department of Womenʼs and Gender Studies
Kerrel Murray, 2019-2021
School of Law
Danielle Purifoy, 2018–2020
Department of Geography
Annette Rodriguez, 2018–2020
Department of American Studies
Karen Sheffield-Abdullah, 2019-2021
School of Nursing
Ana María Silva Campo, 2019-2021
Department of History
Deshira Wallace, 2019-2021
Department of Health Behavior
Teshanee Williams, 2019-2021
School of Government
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.
KERREL MURRAY — Kerrel Murray is a Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law. His teaching and research interests include property law, administrative law, race and the law, and how the law reinforces or undermines various ideals of democracy.
Before joining UNC, Murray served as a Fellow at the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc., where he focused on appellate work and judicial policy. Before that, he served as a litigation associate at Covington & Burling LLP, where he worked on complex civil litigation, including a major pro bono case challenging the city of Milwaukee’s stop and frisk practices. He has also served as a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
Murray received his B.A. from the University of Georgia in 2011 and his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2014. His student note, published in the Stanford Law Review, received a 2015 Burton Distinguished Legal Writing Award and was a 2013 Runner-Up in the American Constitution Society’s Constance Baker Motley National Student Writing Competition.
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.
KAREN M. SHEFFIELD-ABDULLAH — Karen’s research focuses on the utilization of holistic, integrative, multi-sector strategies to promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being for individuals and communities. She is particularly interested in developing strategies to reduce the long-term health effects of psychological trauma, anxiety, and depression on women’s health and birth outcomes. Her additional interests include the bio-psycho-social benefits of self-compassion, mindfulness, and other mind-body therapies as adjuncts to conventional interventions. This program of research will help to facilitate the development of culturally-relevant interventions to reduce disparities in stress-related adverse outcomes during the perinatal period and provide a platform to guide successful models for women’s health care provision that incorporate stress management and improve wellness across the lifespan.
Karen has a doctoral degree in nursing from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing and a master of science in nursing degree from Yale University. Karen’s postdoctoral fellowship is supported by The University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Program on Integrative Medicine, through an NIH T-32 Fellowship Training Grant for Research in Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine.
ANA MARIA SILVA CAMPO — Ana María Silva is a historian of race, gender, and the law in colonial Latin American cities. She earned her Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan in 2018 and holds B.A.s from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Her book manuscript, Roots in Stone and Slavery, studies the formation of religious, gendered, and increasingly racialized hierarchies in Cartagena de Indias, the main port for the trade in African captives in Spanish South America during the seventeenth century. Drawing on insights from urban ecology studies, Roots in Stone and Slavery examines how the political economy of the slave trade generated intense local competition over urban spaces, real estate, and property in persons.
Ana María is also working on two collaborative projects on race and slavery with interdisciplinary teams of researchers. The first one studies the dynamics of enslavement of refugees from the Haitian Revolution in the United States after the ban on the slave trade. The second one compares the histories of South Africans of different racial backgrounds who colonized areas of Patagonia, Argentina, during the twentieth century. As a public scholar, Ana María has curated online and museum exhibits about slavery and its legacies in Colombia and Argentina and written for leading Latin American newspapers, including Argentina’s Clarín.
DESHIRA WALLACE — Deshira Wallace earned her Ph.D. in Health Behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Deshira Wallace is a first-year Postdoctoral Fellow under the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity in the Department of Health Behavior and affiliated with the Carolina Population Center. Her research is focused on examining the effects of structural and psychosocial stressors on type 2 diabetes prevention and management in US Latinos and in Latin America. During her Postdoctoral Fellowship, Deshira will continue this line of work with an emphasis on Latinos and Latin Americans of African descent in an aim to further unpack disparities within the Latino population.
TESHANEE WILLIAMS — Teshanee Williams received her Ph.D. in Public Administration from North Carolina State University. Her past professional experiences include working as a research analyst for the North Carolina State Auditor’s Office and the Office of Partnership and Economic Development at North Carolina State University. Her research interests include the application of mixed-method approaches for inquiries related to strategic alliances between the public sector and nonprofits, as well as, public participation in decision-making processes. In the past, Teshanee has worked on research projects focused on the public management aspect of the policy process; these topics include cultural perceptions of genetically modified foods, the economics of community-based public and nonprofit strategic alliances, and risk management with public engagement. Those efforts have produced applied research reports and publications that have been published, are currently under review, and are in preparation. Her career goal is to produce research that helps to bridge the divide between theory and practice. As a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Government, Teshanee will focus on continuing her research on managing for effective, efficient, and equitable policy outcomes through public sector and nonprofit partnerships.