Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster​

Resistance, Autonomy, Liberation

Dr. Mhoze Chikowero

Professor Chikowero teaches and researches African cultural, social and economic histories with a specialization on Southern Africa. His work particularly centers African perspectives, methodologies, epistemologies and forms of selfcraft that have long been marginalized by Northern epistemologies that reify the colonial written archive as the site of knowledge and subject production. In an age of entrenched hegemonies and pathological systems of power, his teaching and writing constitute intellectual Chimurenga–African epistemic insurgency. Chimurenga scholarship means forcing the hegemonic archive to confess its mission, to reveal what it seeks to silence and, ultimately, to transcend its logics of meaning-making.

Dr. Ricado Jacobs

Ricardo Jacobs earned his PhD in Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the global political economy of urbanization, ecology and agrarian change, with a focus on post-colonial Africa. His work examines how global colonial-racial capitalism and class struggle from below shapes race, ethnicity, gender and class at the local and global level. His recent article—“An Urban Proletariat with Peasant Characteristics: Land Occupations and Livestock Raising in South Africa”—won the 2017-2018 Krishna Bharadwaji and Eric Wolf Prize from the Journal of Peasant Studies and the Terence K. Hopkins award from the Political Economy of the World System section of the American Sociological Association. He serves as Book Review Section co–editor of the Journal of Peasant Studies. Prior to entering the PhD program, he worked for more than 15 years in the area of land and agrarian reform, food sovereignty, agro-ecology and agrarian social movement building in South Africa.

Alejandro Ollin Prado

Alejandro is a PhD Candidate is the Chicana/o Studies Department who investigates the contemporary in/direct connection between China and Chicanx/Latinx populations in Los Angeles, California. This is an analytical interest which stems directly from his lived experience of being raised in the San Gabriel Valley, a geographical suburban area in the eastern part of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, one composed of mostly Asian and Chicanx/Latinx populations of varying generations, classed characteristics, and political affinities. His dissertation project is titled “Chicanx Material Conditions: Chicanidad and the ‘Rise of China,’ Global Capitalism, International Solidarity in 21st Century Los Angeles, California.” His research interest lies on the axis of Ethnic Studies and Political Economy as he focuses on issues of urbanization, labor justice, food politics, the global police state, global capitalism, transgression, and internationalist solidarity for Chicanx/Latinx populations. He is currently working on an article manuscript titled “The Great Wall of China, Pathway to Aztlán: A Meta-critical Reading of China in Chicanx Studies and the Need for an International Chicanidad” that is set to be published at the end of 2020.

Leila Zonouzi

Born and raised in Iran, Leila Zonouzi is a PhD Candidate in Global Studies at UCSB. Her dissertation project is a comparative diasporic study, analyzing the ways securitization and militarization in the post-2009 era have led to the mass-migration of scholars, journalists, political dissidents, and artists from Iran, Egypt, and Turkey. Within this study, she examines the impact of the post-9/11 world order on the legitimization of violence, securitization of movement, the processes of ‘Othering’ dissidents, and long-term consequences and results of securitization on knowledge production in the Middle East. She has received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA. Her upcoming article (2021) entitled “Intergenerational Conflicts: Experiences of Discrimination and Racialization in Recent Iranian Diasporic Novels” will be published with Routledge as part of an anthology on Persian Literature edited by Dr. Kamran Talattof.

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