Munia Bhaumik is the Program Director of Mellon Social Justice Curricular Initiatives and an award-winning scholar of comparative literature, politics, and law. An alumna of UCLA, where she received her M.A. in Urban Planning, her research and teaching critiques racial and gender inequities as well as the multiple social factors impacting whose lives count before the law. Thus, as an academic researcher, she rethinks citizenship and democracy theory from the perspective of vulnerability, considering how marginalized noncitizen refugees, migrant workers, incarcerated persons, and undocumented (child) detainees are crucial social actors. Dr. Bhaumik received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at Emory University in Atlanta where she engaged with new Asian/Latinx immigrant and African American community voting rights alliances in the South, while also developing a vibrant undergraduate degree program in comparative literature and critical theory. Based on her research about noncitizens as the “uncounted,” data and democracy, as well as on poetry as political action across the Global South, she received the prestigious Stanford Humanities Center, Herman Melville Society, and Cornell Society for the Humanities faculty awards. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Bhaumik also spent a decade as a primarily Spanish-speaking labor/community organizer on the staff of leading progressive organizations in Los Angeles shaping national debates about social justice through direct action. Her academic book, In Liberty’s Shadow: The Noncitizen in American Letters and Law, deploys close literary and theoretical readings of seminal literary and philosophical texts defining American political culture before 1900 to argue for a new democratic ethos of recognition for our present. Equally motivated by the humanities as by social movements, particularly the ethical dilemmas communities-of-color are mobilizing in this global (post)metropolis, her work brings to attention research protocols in alliance with the demands for abolition and noncitizen citizenship as well as multilingual, queer, migrant, worker, healthcare, and Black equal rights.
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