Ruth Nicole Brown (Michigan State University)
Dr. Ruth Nicole Brown is the Inaugural Chairperson of the Department of African American and African Studies at Michigan State University. She earned a PhD from the University of Michigan in Political Science with graduate certificates in World Performance Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Brown’s research documents and analyzes Black girls’ lived experiences and the practical ways they make Black girlhood with those who love them. Her previous work has explored how Black girl’s conceptualize freedom, creativity, and relationships in Saving Our Lives Hear Our Truths (SOLHOT). Brown has authored two books—Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood (U of Illinois Press, 2013) and Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward A Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy (Peter Lang, 2009)—coedited several anthologies, including Disrupting Qualitative Inquiry: Possibilities and Tensions in Educational Research with R. Carducci and C. Kuby (Peter Lang, 2014) and Wish To Live: The Hip Hop Feminist Pedagogy Reader with C. Kwaye (Peter Lang, 2012), and written numerous journal articles.
Nimot M. Ogunfemi (University of Illinois)
Nimot Ogunfemi is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is an arts-based researcher and activist scholar that loves making art and learning about African history and culture. Her current research interests rest at intersection of race and mental health, specifically the effect of cultural stimuli, like religion and art, on racial identity, success and resilience. She aims to work towards the continuation of introducing cultural frameworks to psychological intervention and promoting self-efficacy and mental health awareness in communities of color.
Christian B. Miller (Wake Forest University)
Christian B. Miller is A.C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and Director of the Character Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton World Charity Foundation. He is the author of over 75 papers as well as two books with Oxford University Press, Moral
Character: An Empirical Theory (2013) and Character and Moral Psychology (2014). He is also the editor or coeditor of Essays in the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford University Press), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (Oxford University Press), and several other
Beronda Montgomery (Michigan State University)
Dr. Beronda Montgomery is a writer, science communicator, and currently a Michigan State University Foundation Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics. She also serves as Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations. She is a passionate advocate for the role of effective mentoring and leadership to promote success, especially with regards to underrepresented and underserved communities. She works actively to develop evidence-based strategies to foster and promote equity and inclusion in academia.
Rebekah Modrak (University of Michigan)
Rebekah Modrak is an artist and writer whose practice is at the intersections of art, activism, and creative resistance to consumer culture. Her web-based artworks critique brand misrepresentation. Re Made Co. presents as an artisanal toilet plunger company to parody actual company Best Made’s $350 aristanal axe, which appropriates working class identities and glorifies male aggression. RETHINK SHINOLA analyzes Shinola’s co-option of Detroit and its promotion of the White savior myth. Modrak is co-editor of Radical Humility: Essays on Ordinary Acts (Belt 2021) in which twenty writers from philosophy, psychology, consumer culture, and other fields consider humility as a state of being with the power to impact institutions, families, and individuals. She is Professor at Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.
Todd Shaw (University of South Carolina)
Todd Shaw has been on faculty since 2003 and has appointments both in UofSC’s Department of Political Science and the African American Studies Program. He was appointed the College of Arts & Science Distinguished Associate Professor of Political Science and African American Studies by Dean Mary Ann Fitzpatrick in August of 2012. He served as the Interim Chair and then Chair of the Department of Political Science from 2017 to 2019. Until July 2021, he is serving as the Interim Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Social Sciences in the College of Arts & Sciences. He researches and teaches broadly in the areas of African American politics, urban politics and public policy, as well as citizen activism and social movements.
Morgan Shipley (Michigan State University)
Morgan Shipley (PhD) is the Inaugural Foglio Endowed Chair of Spirituality and Associate Chair of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. Author of Psychedelic Mysticism: Transforming Consciousness, Religious Experiences, and Voluntary Peasants in Postwar America (Lexington, 2015) and coeditor of The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World (Cambridge Scholars, 2013), Dr. Shipley’s research explores spirituality and heterodox religious inflections in the United States through a distinctly interdisciplinary perspective, with a particular focus on 1) understanding mystical and esoteric new religions that highlight spirituality as opposed to institutional religiosity, 2) positioning individuals and groups who increasingly identify as spiritual but not religious, and 3) advancing secular spirituality as a distinct way of engaging the world by seeking out more inclusive, just, virtuous, and responsible ways of being and being together.
Paulina Camacho Valencia (University of Illinois)
Paulina Camacho Valencia is an artist, educator, and scholar. She is a member of the Chicago ACT Collective, a group of friends committed to building political artistic collaborations in multiple communities through artmaking. After working with youth as a teaching artist and high school teacher, Paulina enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she is studying art education, gender and women’s studies, and Latina/Latino studies. Paulina is a codirector of Imagining America’s Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) Fellowship program. She is also a codirector of the Community Arts Caucus, a special interest group of the National Art Education Association. Paulina’s work invites others to engage in relational practices in order to generate collective deconstructions and analyses of power and colonialism that promote the development of strategies to creatively reimagine possibilities for other ways of configuring the world. The awareness that this is an ongoing process fuels Paulina’s work. Recognizing this is an important move that emphasizes and encourages active engagement in questions sustained through critical frameworks that seek to continuously be reconfigured as new possibilities and new needs emerge. Paulina sustains this work by spending time learning from her human and more-than-human relations, through movement, and the land.
Jamie Vander Broek (University of Michigan)
Jamie Vander Broek is an art and design librarian. She buys all kinds of art, design, and artists’ books for the library and runs a book arts studio in the Duderstadt Center where you can learn to print with metal type and make books by hand. A few years ago, she bought a book made of cheese for the library. You can read her essay about it on saveur.com. She also recently coedited a book, Radical Humility, with Stamps Professor Rebekah Modrak. She holds a master’s degree from the U-M School of Information, and received a BA from Wellesley College. Since arriving in Ann Arbor, she has been active in the local art and book communities, and is currently on the board of the Ann Arbor District Library. She lives in a constantly under-construction house with her husband, daughter, and two out-of-control Miniature Australian Shepherds.
Gretel Van Wieren (Michigan State University)
Gretel Van Wieren is Professor of Religious Studies and affiliated faculty in Philosophy at Michigan State University where her research and teaching explore the spiritual and moral dimensions of people’s relationships to land. She is the author of the books Listening at Lookout Creek: Nature in Spiritual Practice (Oregon State UP, 2019), Food, Farming and Religion: Emerging Ethical Perspectives (Routledge, 2018), and Restored to Earth: Christianity, Environmental Ethics, and Ecological Restoration (Georgetown UP, 2013). Van Wieren is founder of The New Ethics of Food Network and founding member of The Restoration Ecology Global Education Network and The Blue River Quorum. She is a 2022 Cedar Creek Reflections Artist-in-Residence at the University of Minnesota’s Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. Van Wieren received her PhD in Religious Studies from Yale University.