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Black Studies

E. Kofi Agorsah, Ph.D. Chair and Professor

Courses taught include: Research Methods and Traditional Cultures of Africa. Kofi established the Volta Basin Archaeological Research Project (VBARP) while at the University of Ghana and is still actively a major contributor to research work in the West African region generally. The material for part of the project has now been written up and published by Edwin Mellen Press under the title of " Ethnoarchaeological Analysis of Human Functional Dynamics in the Volta Basin: Before and After the Akosombo Dam. (See CV for a list of other publications). An inter-disciplinary symposium held in 1991 at the UWI in Jamaica with participants from the U.S.A., Mexico, and the Caribbean resulted in the 1994 edited book publication: Maroon Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives.

Pedro Ferbel-Azcarate, Ph.D.

Areas of study include indigenous and transculturated (Afro-Mestizo Creole) medicine, architecture, foodways, spiritual practices, folklore, agriculture, casabe making, and tobacco use in rural and urban Dominican Republic, especially the Cibao region, and in Eastern Cuba. He organized a widely successful "Teach the Teachers" series for public schools in the Cibao region, and published extensively in journals including Acta Americana and the Boletin del Museo del Hombre Dominicano. Pedro is co-author (with John Weeks) of The Ancient Caribbean. He is an advisor on the upcoming documentary The Lost Taino Tribe.

Derrias Carter

Research interests include black cultural studies, gender studies, popular culture, cultural history, and masculinities. Current research examines constructions of black masculinity in film and photography.

Joseph Smith-Buani

Joseph has worked with school-age African immigrant youth through the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) where he coordinated Multnomah County's "Social and Support Services for Educational Success" program. More recently, Joseph worked at the Population Research Center here at Portland State University, researching population trends including school enrollment and other demographic changes. An independent researcher since July 2009, Joseph research interests include the study of determinants and consequences of migration and African ancestry in Oregon in the US Census Bureau's decennial census and American Community Survey.

Roberta Hunte, Ph.D.

Gender studies; critical race studies; gender and militarism; women and work; women and peacebuilding; cross-cultural dialogue and community organizing. I am currently working on a manuscript on African American tradeswomen negotiating race and gender in long-term careers in the U.S. building trades.

Walidah Imarisha


Ethan Johnson, Ph.D.

Ethan Johnson is an assistant professor in the Black Studies Department at Portland State University. He has published in the journal Race, Ethnicity and Education, the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Souls, Ethnography and Education and the Oregon Historical Quarterly. His work focuses broadly on the educational experiences of youth of African descent concerning how they negotiate and interpret racial identity and racism. In addition, his scholarship compares and contrasts mainstream/White and Black people's representations of Blackness in both popular culture and the mass media.

Darrell Millner, Ph.D., Emeritus

Darrell Millner teaches Afro-American Literature and History in the Black Studies Department. Dr. Millner assumed the Department Chairmanship from 1984 to 1995 and is currently a Full Professor. He serves on numerous local, regional, and national boards and Organizations.

Dr. Millner is an expert on the history of African-Americans in the western movement with a special focus on the Oregon and California trail experiences, early Oregon and California black history, and the history of the Black Buffalo soldiers in the Indian wars. He is also an expert on Black cinema history and the development and perpetuation of negative racial stereotypes.

Clare J. Washington, M.S.

She is currently a Doctoral student in Higher Educational Leadership, where she focuses on intervention strategies addressing the challenges that first-generation, older, non-traditional African-American and other minority female college students face in higher education at predominantly white universities in the Pacific Northwest. Her scholarly research and teaching interests include women and resistance in the African Diaspora, exploring the roles of the lesser-known women in resistance movements both in the Caribbean and the USA, during and after the period of enslavement; African American cowgirls of the Old West; and black women sharecroppers in the southern U.S. Clare has three biographical entries published in the African American National Biography (2008)-a multivolume-reference work that presents African American history through the lives of people.

Chicano/Latino Studies

Roberto De Anda, Ph.D. - Adjunct Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies


Anthony Martinez, M.S.W. - Adjunct Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies


Angie Mejia, MA, CAS - Adjunct Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies

Angie Mejia is an adjunct instructor at Portland State University. She has published in the The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Action Research journal, the American Journal of Public Health (APHA), and the Theory in Action journal. Her scholarly interests focus on mood (dis)orders as experienced by women of color. In addition to conducting dissertation research on Mexican-American women and depression, she is currently working on two manuscripts: One is a theoretical exercise that uses a Deleuzian lens to map out how various discourses about major depressive disorder (MDD) circulate between abstract knowledge producers and consumers. The second one is a methodological critique of U.S. public health’s biopolitical (mis)use of visual methodologies in minority health initiatives.

Indigenous Nations Studies

Olivia Alcaire


Ken Ames

Professor Ken Ames continues to work on several projects in Native American archaeology. The major one is completing the National Endowment for the Humanities supported analyses of materials recovered during excavations at the Meier and Cathlapotle sites between 1987 and 1996. A paper on some of the results of the project appears in the current issue of the "Journal of Field Archaeology." He also been working with current MA students Sara Davis and Kristen Fuld on the history of the bow and arrow on the Columbia Plateau over the last 10,000 years. Ames continues to be active in heritage related issues in the Portland area and is working with colleagues in British Columbia on research possibilities on the northern British Columbia coast.

Katy Barber, Ph.D.

Fields of Expertise include the Pacific Northwest; Columbia River history; public history. Courses taught include: HST 331, Native Americans of Western North America, HST 338, Oregon History, HST 409/509, Public History Seminar, HST 411/511, Public History Lab, HST 442/542, Race, Class, and Gender in the American West, HST 444/544, History of the Pacific Northwest, HST 464/564, Indians of the Pacific Northwest, HST 467/567, Readings in Native American History.

Judy BlueHorse Skelton

Instructs the Capstone: Environmental Education Through Native American Lenses.

Virginia Butler, Ph.D.

Professor Virginia Butler has been working on several projects linking archaeology of Native Americans with applied issues in wildlife conservation and heritage management. She (with Sarah Campbell, Western Washington Univ.) recently submitted a manuscript to Ecology and Society that highlights long-term sustainable use of animal resources by Pacific Northwest Native peoples, as seen from zooarchaeology. She and graduate student Tait Elder, are currently compiling zooarchaeological records from southeast Alaska as part of Tom Thornton's Herring Synthesis project, funded by North Pacific Research Board.

Cynthia-Lou Coleman, Ph.D.

Professor Cynthia-Lou Coleman published two articles on media coverage of pharmaceutical advertising in the journal Health (2007, Vol. 12, No. 1) with Heather Hartley, and in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly (2006, Vol. 83, No. 3) with Hartley and J. David Kennamer. Coleman's work on framing Indians in western cinema was published in American Studies (2005, Vol. 46, Nos. 3-4) and Indigenous Studies Today (2005-2006), Vol. 1, no. 1.

Maria Depriest, Ph.D.

Depriest’s areas of interest include American Literature; Contemporary Native American Literatures; Women Writers. Courses taught include: ENG 446/546 Feminisms and Fiction; ENG 448/548 Erdrich & Morrison; ENG 463/563 American Lit I; ENG 308U Divas in Drama; ENG 308U Native American Women Writers; ENG 309U American Indian Writers; ENG 315 The Shorter Poem; ENG 316 The Short Story; ENG 253 & 254 Survey of American Literature.Professor Maria DePriest published "Oklahoma: A View from the Center." In Studies in American Indian Literatures (SAIL), 19 (3) (Fall 2007); "Once Upon A Time, Today: Hearing Fleur's Voice in Tracks." In Journal of Narrative Theory. Forthcoming, Summer 2008.

Grace Dillon, Ph.D.

Professor Grace Dillon published "Scarification and Survivance in China Miéville's 'The Scar.'" In Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction 36:101 (Winter 2007): 13-25, and "Totemic Human-Animal Relationships in Recent SF." In Extrapolation 49:1 (Spring 2008): 74-100. Indigenous Scientific Literacies in Nalo Hopkinson's Ceremonial Worlds." Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, 18:1 (Spring 2008).

Ann Fulton

Professor Ann Fulton received a PSU Civic Engagement award for community-based research related to Native American Studies for her work studying the Chinuk Wawa language and how Native and non-Native people lived together in nineteenth-century Portland.

Tim Garrison, Ph.D.

Fields of Expertise include American legal history; history of the southern United States and American Indian legal history; U.S. Indian policy, history of the removal crisis. Professor Tim Garrison recently co-edited The Encyclopedia of United States Indian Policy and Law for Congressional Quarterly Press, 2009. The University of Georgia Press will soon release a paperback version of his book, The Legal Ideology of Removal: The Southern Judiciary and the Sovereignty of Native American Nations.

Kelly Gonzalez

Kelly Gonzales is an assistant professor of Public Health Studies in the School of Community Health. Prior to joining PSU, she was with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Boards’ (NPAIHB) Tribal Epidemiology Center. In regards to the social determinants of health, Dr. Gonzales is interested in American Indian and Alaskan Native health. Her professional goals are to direct health research with American Indian & Alaska Native populations and to mentor Native youth interested in education and public health.

Keith James

Dr. James' major topics of scholarship include Creativity, Innovation, & Change, Workplace Identity, Native Community Sustainability and Development and Occupational Health Psychology. His scholarship in these areas addresses several integrative themes including Organizational/Social Justice, Organizational Sustainability, and Organizations and Disaster/Terrorism. From 2009-2011, he served as a Program (Grant) Officer for the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resource Development while on leave from PSU under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

Nariyo Kono

Professor Nariyo Kono published "Language Orientations as a Research Tool: Implications for Native Language Revitalization Efforts." In Current Issues in Language Planning: Language Planning and Minority Languages. Professor Kono just received word that she has been awarded an additional grant from the School of Oriental and Asian Studies at the University of London in the amount of approximately $150,000 (£ 67,107) to continue her research on the Kiksht language.

Cynthia Landrum


Bill Lang, Ph.D.

Fields of expertise include U.S. environmental history; public history; Pacific Northwest history. Lang is the founding Director of the Center for Columbia River History (1990-2003), founding partner of Oregon Encyclopedia of History & Culture, member of John Day/Snake River Resource Advisory Council (Bureau of Land Management/U.S. Forest Service). He is a series Editor of Culture & Environment in the Pacific West, Oregon State University Press. Author of numerous publications including Two Centuries of Lewis & Clark: Reflections on the Voyage of Discovery [with Carl Abbot] (Portland: Oregon Historical Society, 2004).

Wendy Red Star


Rochelle Nielsen


Cornel Pewewardy, Director and Associate Professor, D.Ed.

His research interests focuses on Praxis in Indigenous Studies; Indian Mascots and the Spectacle of American Sports Culture; Recording, Archiving, and Transcribing Tribal Music and Songs; Intertribal Powwows in a Contemporary Society; Critical Race Theory; Tribal Colleges and Universities; Holistic Education of Indigenous Peoples; Identity Politics and Representation in the Curriculum; and Applied Indigenous Leadership. Pewewardy was named Teacher of the Year by the National Indian Education Association (NIEA). Since 1977, NIEA has honored Native leaders who have changed and improved the lives of their schoolchildren and impacted dialog concerning Native education issues, both locally and nationally.

Robert A. Ryan, Ed.D.


Jeremy Spoon, Ph.D.

Research interests: local ecological knowledge, political economy, sustainability (social, environmental, economic), applied anthropology, indigenous peoples, protected areas, ethics, public engagement; Nepalese Himalaya, Great Basin, Hawaiian Islands, Kenyan Rift Valley. Recent publications include Spoon, Jeremy. (2013). From Yaks to Tourists: Sherpa Livelihood Adaptations in Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone, Nepal. In L. Lozny ed. Continuity and Change in Cultural Mountain Adaptations: From Prehistory to Contemporary Threats. New York: Springer.

Don Tyree


Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Miriam Abelson, Ph.D.

Miriam Abelson joined the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2014. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology with a certificate in Women's and Gender Studies from the University of Oregon in 2014. Her dissertation research explored how men’s experiences of gender, sexuality, and race are affected by various spatial and institutional contexts, through interviews with female to male transgender people in the U.S. West, South, and Midwest. Her research interests are in sexualities, men and masculinities, transgender, LGBT youth, urban and rural studies, and intersectional approaches to race, sexuality, and gender. Currently she is beginning a new research project on the survival strategies of LGBTQ youth as the foundation of a larger project on the role of sexuality, gender, and race and the formation of urban communities and spaces. She has published work on intersectionality and gendered fear, childcare subsidy policy, and language and inequality in social psychology.

Traci Boyle-Galestiantz

Traci as worked with survivors of domestic and sexual violence since 1996 and is passionate about creating awareness and addressing the sexism, classism, racism and heterosexism that contribute to this epidemic problem. She is consistently working to improve her understanding and teaching abilities around issues of intercultural communication and anti-racism. Traci teaches at Portland State University, Portland Community College, Oregon State University, Concordia University and for the State Attorney General's Task Force Against Sexual Assault.

Jason Damron

Jason began his career as a PSU mentor in 2005, taught his first Queer course in Spring 2006 and became a 'full-time' adjunct in 2009. Jason's interests include sexualities;  queer theory and studies;  history of economic thought and gender/sexuality;  anthropology of gender and sexuality;  Foucault and critical theory; affect studies; homonormativity and neoliberalism; gender/sexuality of sports and athletics;  queer(ing) research methods;  online learning and gender/sexuality studies;  interdisciplinary studies and dilemmas.

Scholarly Projects include: Gender and Sexualities: An Inquiry, an open access textbook, which Jason recently created and edited with Vicki Reitenauer. Jason is presently working on the development of online courses in gender and sexuality studies with intention of crafting intellectually rigorous, independent and interactive courses.  Jason is presently writing an essay on the cultural ideal of ‘sexual addiction’ in response to Eve K. Sedgwick’s chapter in Tendencies, “Epidemics of the Will," and planning a scholastic round-table, Scarred: Neoliberalism and Emotional Terrain, to commence Summer 2015.

His courses have included UNST 231: Gender & Sexualities, WS 360U: Intro to Queer Studies, WS 375U: Sexuality & Gender of Sports, WS/XS 399: Gender Identity and Development, WS 399: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Sexuality

Jan Dilg, M.A.

Jan’s research interests focus on women and labor in the Pacific Northwest during the early 20th century. She is the Project Director for the Century of Action: Oregon Women Vote, 1912-2012, the Oregon Woman Suffrage Centennial. For Working Women in Oregon": Caroline Gleason/Sister Miriam Theresa and Oregon's Minimum Wage Law," is part of that publication's Statehood Sesquicentennial Series.

Sarah Dougher, Ph.D.

Scholarly interests include historical and sociological perspectives on the relationships of American girls to popular culture; American women and girls’ participation in popular music cultures; Women’s music and culture in separatist communities; Riot Grrrl; Feminist principals and practices in community organizing; Food justice for marginalized communities; Youth homelessness; American women’s social and educational history in the early 20th century. I am currently at work on a book about tween musical cultures and the emergence of new girl identities in relationship to popular music in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Sally Eck, M.S.

Her courses have included Girl power Capstone, Local Justice Capstone, Social Justice Education, Women's Studies Inquiry, Gender and Education, and Spring Celebration. Sally has a personal commitment to issues surrounding Feminist Pedagogy, Oppression Theory, and feminist parenting.

Roslyn Farrington

Her courses include: Intro to Women's Studies Sophomore Inquiry, bell hooks, Living for Change, Women Writing and Memoir, Contemporary Women Writers, Women, Love & Self-care, Women, Writing & Personal Transformation, and Women of Color in the U.S. Roslyn is also the founder and teacher of a spiritual community called The Beloved Sangha.

Manjusha Gupte, Ph.D.

Interdisciplinary scholar with research interests and academic publications encompassing the areas of community conservation, environmental policy and gender in developing countries. She has taught courses on Gender and Development, Globalization, Global Feminisms, Public Policy and Women and Politics. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Marlene Howell

Courses taught include: WS 101 Intro to Women's Studies, WS 306U Aint' Gonna..., WS 307 Women, Activism & Social Change, WS 308U Gender, Violence & Human Rights, WS 308U Gender, Class, Culture.

Roberta Hunte, Ph.D.

Gender studies; critical race studies; gender and militarism; women and work; women and peacebuilding; cross-cultural dialogue and community organizing. I am currently working on a manuscript on African American tradeswomen negotiating race and gender in long-term careers in the U.S. building trades.

Beth Hutchison, Ph.D.

Histories of sexualities; feminist and queer examples of and approaches to literature, 20th century popular culture (particularly advertising, film and music) and social justice.

Scholarly Projects: Documenting intersections of gender, race and sexuality as expressed in the history of U.S. blood donation drives and policy; marking changing understandings of sexuality through material culture. Recent publication: “Lesbian Blood Drives as Community-Building Activism in the 1980s” Journal of Lesbian Studies 19(1) 2015: 117-128.

Courses taught: WS 370 History of Sexuality (online and in-person), WS332 Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in the United States (online), WS308 Lesbian Literature (online).

Eden Isenstein


Taghrid Khuri

Women and international (third world development): research, training and teaching. Reading, ballroom dancing, and traveling.

Working on completing a research project on Gendered Policy and Decision-making influences on Female Labor Force Participation in Jordan. A paper presented at the Mediterranean Research Meeting, Montecatini, Italy. 25-28 March 2009.

Pat MacAodha


Sally McWilliams, Ph.D. Chair & Professor

Transnational feminist theory and activism; narrative strategies employed by women and queer writers across the globe; diasporic Chinese women's literature and graphic novels.

My most recent publication, "Intervening in Trauma: Bodies, Violence, and Interpretive Possibilities in Vyvyane Loh's Breaking the Tongue," examines the representational and theoretical overlap between event and insidious traumas. Another part of this larger project is a close analysis of graphic narratives by women. "Sex in Yop City: Ivorian Femininity and Masculinity in Abouet and Oubrerie's Aya," has been accepted for publication in a collection entitled The Blacker the Ink: Construction of Blackness in Comics and Sequential Art (eds. Duffy, Jennings, and Gateward)

Sridevi Nair, Ph.D.

Gender and sexuality studies (feminist, queer, and postcolonial approaches); critical race studies; globalization and South Asia; global literary and media cultures. I am currently at work on two separate projects: an article-length study, which situates the rise of liberal white masculinity as a problematic response to feminist and queer interventions; and a proposed manuscript on globalization as a key lens through which to engage gerontological studies.

Frodo Okulam, D. Min.

Frodo's teaching and research interests include Eco-Feminist and Eco-Justice Spirituality; Earth-Centered Spiritual Traditions; Spirituality and Activism; and Wisdom Traditions. In addition to authorship of several publications, she has also been the Coordinator of an eclectic women's spirituality group called SisterSpirit since 1985.

Lori Patterson


Vicki Reitenauer

Courses taught include: WS 307 Women, Activism & Social Change, WS 308U Lesbian Literature, and UNST 421 Change for the Common Good. The co-author of Learning through Serving: A Student Guidebook for Service Learning across the Disciplines (Stylus, 2005) and numerous articles on pedagogy, reflective practices, and service learning, Vicki also writes and publishes poetry and creative nonfiction.

Jamie P. Ross, Ph.D.

Feminist philosophy of science; Reproductive Technologies, Free Choice and Women's Health issues; Feminist Methodologies; Sexualities; the relationship between culture and scientific research and practice. I am engaged in the analysis of the scientific research and practice of women's health as it emerges from individual points of view, in the context of social, political and historical constraints. My anthology, Feminist Philosophy - Method and Practice, currently under review, encompasses critiques of traditional methodologies and offers a variety of feminist methodologies as does an article, "The Obvious Invisibility of the Relationship Between Technology and Social Values," also currently under review. I am actively engaged in the PATH for women (Policy Advisory Towards Health) for Women, a project at the OHSU Center for Women's Health which serves as an independent source of data and analysis for policymakers, advocates and the general public.

Sally Sheklow, M.S.

Courses taught include: WS 399 Complexities of Gender Expression, WS 307 Women, Activism, and Social Change, WS 399 Feminist Comedy, WS 399 President Obama's LGBT Civil Rights Agenda, WS 360 Introduction to Queer Studies, WS 399 Politics of Women's Health, PHE 365U Health Promotion Programs for Children and Youth, WS 399 Body Image and the Media, WS 399 Queers int he Media, CFS 399 LGBT Family Dynamics, and WS 399 Same-Sex Marriage.

Lisa Weasel, Ph.D.

Dr. Weasel is a biologist and interdisciplinary scholar whose work seeks to connect science and social justice. Her interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching spans feminist science studies, environmental health, and food, ethic and sustainability.

She is the author of the book Food Fray: Inside the Controversy over Genetically Modified Food (2009, Amacom)and a co-editor of the anthology Feminist Science Studies: A New Generation (2001, Routledge). She is a frequent speaker to community and education groups on issues relating to the social implications of science and technology.

She received an A.B. magna cum laude in Biology from Harvard College and her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Cambridge. She is currently an Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Portland State University.

Pat Young

Balance. That’s what I needed to round out my life when I worked for Tektronix, a high tech company. I have a BA in Anthropology and a BA in Journalism. Before coming to Portland, I was a photojournalist in South Carolina. So, working for a high tech company as a technical writer and then a manager was like being in a foreign culture. I started taking U.S. History classes at Portland State University as a way to bring balance into my life. It never occurred to me that I would actually put my Masters in History to use. I graduated in 1997. I walked away from the high tech world in 1998 and worked as a free-lance writer for Just Out, the gay newspaper in Portland. My goal was to learn more about gay history. Most of my writing assignments were about gay history. I was fortunate to make lots of good contacts, which has made it easier to find people for the students to interview in the capstone class. I have also been a member of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN) since the group started in 1994. GLAPN is the community partner for my capstone class. When the opportunity came along to teach this class, I said yes. I bring to the class the knowledge of local gay history, plus the skills as a historian to do research with original sources. While at Tektronix, I developed skills in project management, setting goals and objectives, working in groups, and evaluating performance.