Research & Creative Activity Series


DISCO Research and Creative Activity Series

This series provides a forum for Ohio State faculty and gradute students to present their work-in-progress or recently published, erformed, or exhibited work connected to issues of dis/ability, race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and other social differences.

Research and Creative Activities Series audience

If you are interested in presenting your work through this series, please contact DISCO via email.


Lynn Mie Itagaki, "Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial Burnout "

Civil racism cover artworkLynn Mie Itagaki is an Assistant Professor in the departments of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, as well as the Coordinator of the Asian American Studies Program. Her book Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial Burnout (University of Minnesota, 2016) examines a range of cultural reactions to the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion (also known as the Rodney King riots) anchored by calls for a racist civility, a central component of the aesthetics and politics of the post-civil rights era. Lynn Mie Itagaki argues that the rebellion interrupted the rhetoric of “civil racism,” which she defines as the preservation of civility at the expense of racial equality.

Tanya Saunders, "Cuban Underground Hip Hop: Black Thoughts, Black Revolution, Black Modernity"

Cover of Cuban Underground Hiphop(January 20, 4:00-5:30, 311 Denney Hall). Tanya Saunders is an Assistant Professor in the department of African American and African Studies. Her book Cuban Underground Hip Hop: Black Thoughts, Black Revolution, Black Modernity (University of Texas, 2015) focuses on a group of self-described antiracist, revolutionary youth who initiated a social movement (1996–2006) to educate and fight against these inequalities through the use of arts-based political activism intended to spur debate and enact social change. Their “revolution” was manifest in altering individual and collective consciousness by critiquing nearly all aspects of social and economic life tied to colonial legacies. Using over a decade of research and interviews with those directly involved, Tanya L. Saunders traces the history of the movement from its inception and the national and international debates that it spawned to the exodus of these activists/artists from Cuba and the creative vacuum they left behind. Shedding light on identity politics, race, sexuality, and gender in Cuba and the Americas, Cuban Underground Hip Hop is a valuable case study of a social movement that is a part of Cuba’s longer historical process of decolonization. 


Simone Drake, "Immobile Transnationalism: Making a Space for African American Women in Transnational Studies"

Critical Appropriations cover art(April 15, 4:00-5:30, Multicultural Center Alonso Family Room). Simone Drake is an assistant professor in the department of African American and African Studies.  Her book, Critical Appropriations: African American Women and the Construction of Transnational Identity (LSU Press; Southern Literary Studies Series 2014), analyzes the ways particular black women’s cultural productions demonstrate an investment in constructing a transnational identity for African American women who do not travel, women who “stay put” within the United States. De-centering the U.S. nation and analyzing African American women’s cultural productions through a transnational lens creates a local home space for both the artists and for the African American subjects they create. A close examination of Toni Morrison’s novel Paradise, Danzy Senna’s novel Caucasia, Gayl Jones’s novel Corregidora, Erna Brodber’s novel Louisiana, Kasi Lemmons’s film Eve’s Bayou, and Beyoncé Knowles’s B-Day CD and music-video collaboration with Shakira, “Beautiful Liar,” reveals how concepts of créolité, Candomblé, négritude, Latinidad, Brasilidade, and hybridity are appropriated in the work of these artists as a way of replacing the race-based oppositional paradigm of black cultural studies with a flexible, transnational framework, which allows for more nuanced considerations of community, mobility, and gender. Her second book, When We Imagine Grace: Black Men and Subject Making is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press, Spring 2016. 


San Juanita García, "Undocumented Vicariousness: The Collateral Consequences of 'Illegality' on Mexican-Origin Women’s Depressive Symptoms"

(November 17, 4:00-5:30, Hagerty 062). San Juanita García is a Social and Behavioral Sciences Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology and a Postdoctoral Affiliate with the Latina/o Studies Program. Drawing on 90 interviews with undocumented, documented, and Mexican American women from Houston, Texas, Juanita examines how “illegality” impacts depressive symptoms. Her research highlights the salience of undocumented status as another marker of inequality and stratification and adds to the growing interest on “illegality” and its impacts on mental health disparities. 

Barry Shank, "Musical Debt and Obligation in a Time of War: The American Reception of Tinariwen"

(April 14, 4:30-6:00, Hagerty 145). Trained in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, Barry Shank’s books include The Political Force of Musical Beauty (Duke University Press, 2014), A Token of My Affection: Greeting Cards and American Business Culture (Columbia University Press, 2004), and Dissonant Identities: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Scene in Austin, Texas (Wesleyan University Press, 1994). He is the co-editor of The Popular Music Studies Reader (Routledge, 2005), and American Studies: A New Anthology (Wiley/Blackwell, 2009). He has served as President of the US branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and is currently the Chair of the Department of Comparative Studies at Ohio State University. His current book project is Silence, Noise, Beauty: The Political Agency of Music, forthcoming from Duke University Press.


Andreá Williams, “Dividing Lines: Class and the Myth of Racial Solidarity in Black Fiction”

(November 13; 3:00-4:30, Hagerty 455). Andreá N. Williams studies and teaches African American literature and nineteenth-century U.S. literature. Her recent book, Dividing Lines: Class Anxiety and Postbellum Black Fiction (2013), examines the black middle class and class inequality in African American literature from the 1880s to 1900s. Her interests also address black periodicals, labor and class, the works of Sutton E. Griggs, and U.S. women’s writing. Her current research includes a study of the Indianapolis Freeman and a book focusing on unmarried black women in popular culture.



Trevon Logan. "Displaying Your Best Assets: The Presentation of (Sexual) Self in Male Sex Work” (with Brian Soller and Leigh Fine).

Trevon Logan(April 19; 12:00-1:30, 18th Ave. Library, room 70). Logan (Associate Professor, Department of Economics) spoke his work's combination of performative, relational, field, exchange and intersectional theories in a unified framework to analyze the physical presentation that sex workers present to potential clients, and also of its contributions to empirical analysis of gender, masculinity, and sexuality.
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Patty Bode. Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. (6th Edition) (Pearson, 2012).

Affirming Diversity book cover artworkPatty Bode(February 25; 4:00-5:30, 311 Denney Hall). Patty Bode (Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy) discussed her co-authored textbook (now in its 6th edition), which explores several case studies to engage  questions of how personal, social, political, cultural, and educational factors affect the success or failure of students in classrooms, both with and without “multicultural” curricula and contexts. Discussion and reception will follow.
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Chad Allen. Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies. (University of Minnesota Press, 2012).

Transindigenous book cover artworkChad Allen(February 13, 4:00-5:30, 311 Denney Hall)  Chad Allen (Professor, Department of English and Coordinator, American Indian Studies) presented his new book, which proposes methodologies for a global Native literary studies that centers Indigenous self-representation and focuses on the complexity of Indigenous agency.  Discussion and reception followed.
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Koritha Mitchell. Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance and Citizenship, 1890-1930. (University of Illinois Press, 2011).

Koritha Mitchell. Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance and Citizenship, 1890-1930 book cover artwork(January 24, 4:00-5:30, Denney Hall 311) Mitchell (Associate Professor, Department of English) presented her book – which aims to demonstrate that lynching plays were mechanisms through which African American communities survived actual and photographic mob violence, as means to counter dominant discourses constructing lynch victims as isolated brutes – before a discussion and reception.
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Terrell Strayhorn. College Students' Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success. (Routledge, 2012).

College Student's Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success book cover artwork(January 11; 4:00-5:30, Ohio Union Multicultural Center). Terrell Strayhorn (Associate Professor, Educational Studies) presented his new work, which addresses student sub-populations and campus environments, offering readers practical guidelines plus theory and research for helping students belong and thrive. Strayhorn was introduced by Derrick Tillman-Kelly and a reception followed.
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Lilia Fernández. Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago. (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Brown in the Windy City book cover artworkLilia Fernández(November 30; 4:00-5:30, 168 Dulles Hall). Lilia Fernández (Assistant Professor, Department of History and affiliated faculty, Latina/o Studies) presented her Brown in the Windy City, which explores the ways Mexicans and Puerto Ricans collectively articulated a distinct yet fluid racial position in the midst growing African American and diminishing White populations in 1960s and 1970s Chicago.  Fernández was introduced by Professor Hasan Jeffries; a reception followed.


Youssef Yacoubi. The Play of Reasons: The Sacred and the Profane in Salman Rushdie's Fiction. (Peter Lang Publishing, 2012).

The Play of Reasons: The Sacred and the Profane in Salman Rushdie's Fiction book cover artworkYoussef Yacoubi(November 27; 3:30-5:30, Denney Hall 311)  Youssef Yacoubi (Assistant Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures) presented his argument that Rushdie's work can be situated within an Islamic genealogy of theological and literary traditions, and that while Rushdie's writing is neither essentially Islamic or Indian, nor essentially Western or Greek, to read him in terms of an Islamic tradition is an intervention in what the author calls Diasporic Criticism. Yacoubi was introduced by Pranav Jani; a reception followed.


Mary Thomas. Multicultural Girlhood: Racism, Sexuality, and the Conflicted Spaces of American Education. (Temple University Press, 2011)

Multicultural Girlhood: Racism, Sexuality, and the Conflicted Spaces of American Education book cover artwork(May 31, 2012)  Mary Thomas (Assistant Professor in Geography and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and an affiliated faculty member with the Sexuality Studies program) presented her recently published Multicultural Girlhood: Racism, Sexuality, and the Spaces of Urban Education, a feminist geographical analysis of racial segregation among teenage girls at a Los Angeles high school.


Mollie Blackburn. Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It. (Teachers College Press, 2011)

Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It book cover artwork(March 28, 2012)  Professor Mollie Blackburn (Teaching and Learning, and Co-Director of the Sexuality Studies Program) presented on her new book, Interrupting Hate: Homophobia in Schools and What Literacy Can Do About It.  This timely and important book focuses on the problems of heterosexism and homophobia in schools and explores how these forms of oppression impact LGBTQ youth, as well as all young people. Based on a wide range of research representing diversity in terms of age, race, class, gender, and sexuality, Blackburn also offers action recommendations for creating positive learning environments for all students.


Joe Ponce. Beyond the Nation: Diasporic Filipino Literature & Queer Reading. (NYU Press, 2012)

Beyond the Nation: Diasporic Filipino Literature & Queer Reading book cover artwork(February 17, 2012)  English Professor Joe Ponce spoke about his new book, Beyond the Nation: Diasporic Filipino Literature & Queer Reading. This talk also launched the Research and Creative Activity Series.