Published May 20, 2021
In September, a second cohort of eight outstanding scholars and artists will arrive in Buffalo to spend the 2021-22 academic year at UB as part of an annually recurring program funded by the Office of the Provost and led by UB’s Center for Diversity Innovation in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Through the investment of more than $1 million in funding to this program, the Office of the Provost is supporting one of the largest diversity-themed visiting faculty programs in the United States. There are multiple goals for the CDI Distinguished Visiting Scholars program, but the fundamental objective is to host an annual cohort of “exceptionally accomplished individuals who, through their record of scholarship and/or creative endeavors, teaching, mentoring, and service, as well as their skills, experiences, underrepresentation, and areas of scholarly and/or creative expertise, can substantially advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University at Buffalo.”
“UB is committed to enhancing our social impact and addressing issues related to structural racism and inequity through our curriculum, research, and hiring and retention practices,” says A. Scott Weber, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “The 2020-21 Distinguished Visiting Scholars have had a tremendous impact on our university community and helped us advance our equity, inclusion and diversity goals. We are excited to welcome another outstanding class of scholars to UB this fall and look forward to their impact on campus.”
The 2021-22 cohort of Distinguished Visiting Scholars was chosen, once again, from a highly competitive pool of outstanding candidates across academic disciplines and fields generated through UB faculty members’ and the center’s national outreach and advertising efforts.
After initial evaluations and recommendations were provided by academic departments, top candidates received further review by a university-wide selection committee chaired by the center director and consisting of nine highly accomplished UB faculty members from diverse backgrounds whose work traversed the arts, humanities, social, physical, health and applied sciences.
The eight Distinguished Visiting Scholars are:
Carlos Amador (he/him/his), a Michigan Technical University scholar who focuses on Spanish Language, Latin American and Transnational Studies. Amador’s current manuscript, entitled “Demolición: Aesthetics From The Latinx-American Margins,” explores the central and historically repressed role of political economies of dispossession, informal labor, and non-legal work in U.S. Latinx/Latin American culture.
Crystal Z Campbell (they/them/theirs), Harvard Radcliffe Film Study Center and Roberta Logie Fellow, a multidisciplinary artist, experimental filmmaker and writer of Black, Filipino and Chinese descents who finds complexity in public secrets — fragments of information known by many but undertold or unspoken. Their archive-driven work in film/video, performance, installation, sound, painting and text, has been widely exhibited. Campbell was recently named a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Fine Arts.
Óscar Gil-García (he/him/his), Binghamton University, a scholar who conducts ethnographic research that lies at the intersection of forced migration, humanitarianism and development. Gil-García is currently engaged in a research project that identifies legal barriers to naturalization and citizenship for indigenous Mayan Guatemalan deportees and returnees from the U.S. in Mexico.
Octavio R. González (he/him/his), Wellesley College, a poet and author who examines American queer literature and culture, British and American modernism, and the 20th century novel. His most recent monograph, “Misfit Modernism: Queer Forms of Double Exile in the Twentieth-Century Novel,” was published in Refiguring Modernism. He is currently working on a second poetry manuscript.
Devonya Havis (she/her/hers), Canisius College, author of “Blackness Beyond Witness: Black Vernacular Phenomena and Auditory Identity” and “‘Seeing Black’ through Michel Foucault’s Eyes: ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws as An Anchorage Point for State-Sponsored Racism.” Havis’ scholarly engagements utilize insights from Foucault as a means of exploring issues in critical philosophy of race, critical disability studies and phenomenology.
Margarita Huayhua (she/her/hers), University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, a sociocultural anthropologist with a background in linguistic anthropology, video production, translation, Quechua language and education. Huayhua has done extensive field research in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. She examines relations of power and social domination, language, gender, race and racism, and Indigenous history, and social movements through the analysis of everyday social interaction.
Jeannette Jones (she/her/hers), University of Nebraska, Lincoln, a historian focused on American cultural and intellectual history and African American Studies, with strong interests in race and representation, Atlantic studies and science studies. Jones examines the ways in which “race” as a popular and scientific category operated as a potent signifier of difference — cultural, biological, social and political — in late 19th- and early 20th-century America.
Seth Parker Woods (he/him/his), University of Chicago, “a cellist of power and grace” who possesses “mature artistry and willingness to go to the brink” (The Guardian). Woods is an in-demand soloist, chamber musician, curator and educator. A fierce advocate for contemporary music and interdisciplinary arts, his collaborators include the Atlanta and Seattle symphonies, Basel Ballet, Berlin Staatsballet, Ictus Ensemble, Tate Modern, Aldo Tambellini and Adam Pendleton.
More detailed bios of each scholar are available on the CDI website.
Robin Schulze, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, notes that, as hoped, the Distinguished Visiting Scholars program has resulted in some of the visiting faculty from 2020-21 opting to stay at UB. “We anticipated that once visitors engaged with our students and experienced the university community through this program, it would become particularly attractive to stay. We could not be more pleased that, after a year of extraordinary work as Distinguished Visiting Scholars, three have chosen to continue as faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences,” Schulze says.
“We are so grateful to Professors Victoria Udondian, Terri Watson, Patricia Matthew, Vanessa Holden, Mishuana Goeman, Nicholas Githuku, John Eason, Waverly Duck and Eli Clare, who, during a very challenging year, nonetheless engaged with more than 32 different UB departments and programs and nearly every unit, as well as external groups, reaching thousands of students, faculty, staff, and community members and formally mentoring 80 students through their mentoring circles,” CDI Director Maura Belliveau says.
Belliveau adds that the programming led by the visiting scholars in partnership with CDI and UB programs, departments and staff groups, reached academics across the globe, bringing each scholar’s work focused on racial equity, Indigenous, immigrant, trans and disability justice to an even wider audience.
Students interested in joining the new Distinguished Visiting Scholars’ year-long mentoring circles for 2021-22 can find information at the CDI website.
Events to welcome the scholars to UB will be announced in September.