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Race and Ethnic Studies

Contact Information

Nengher N. Vang
Associate Professor & Program Coordinator
Phone: (262) 472-1113
Location: Laurentide 5217 

Mary Alkons
Academic Department Associate  
Phone: (262) 472-1042
Location: Laurentide 4233

Meet Our Faculty

Core RES faculty


Dr. Paul G. Adogamhe (Professor)

Dr. Paul Adogamhe

I am currently a tenured Professor of Political Science specializing in international relations. I received my M.Phil. Ph.D degrees from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. I also earned two M.A degrees, on in International Political Economy and Development (IPED) and the other in Education from Fordham University. In addition, I also obtained a B.A. in philosophy and Religious Studies (Magna Cum Laude) from  Pontifical Urban University, Rome, Italy. Before joining the Faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1996, I was a Visiting Scholar in the United Nations Institue for Training and Research , (UNITAR), New York and Assistant Professor in Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York. I have also obtained a number of awards and fellowships including The CUNY Graduate Center, Post-Doctoral Chancellor's Fellowship (1995-1996), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) (1998), University of Wisconsin System (UWS) Institute for Global Studies Fellow (1999-2002), University of Wisconsin System (UWS) Teaching Fellow (2002-2003), Whitewater Teaching Scholar (2003-2004) and L&S College Excellence in Research Award (2014). 

My teaching responsibilities include African Politics, African-American Politics, International Organizations, International Political Economy, Politics of Global Development, and Politics of Terrorism and Counterterrorism. Research Interests: My research interests include International Political Economy, International relations especially Nigeria’s foreign policy, African Politics and Politics of Terrorism and Counterterrorism. Aside from my contributions to edited volumes, I have published articles in the Nigerian Journal of International Affairs (NJIA), African Integration Review, Poverty and Public Policy, the Journal of Energy and Development, Journal of Development Alternatives and Area Studies, Journal of Nigerian Resource Center, among others

Dr. Pilar Melero (Professor)

Pilar PhotoPilar Melero is a professor of Spanish and Latin American/Latinx literature at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has published three books: Mythological Constructs of Mexican Femininity (New York, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2015), La casa de Esperanza: A History (NCLA/LA Casa de Esperanza, 2011), and From Mythic Rocks.Voces del Malpáis (LAGO Ediciones, Monterrey, Mexico, 2010). A fourth book, Discover Waukesha—a third-grade history book, is pending publication. Recent publications include three entries in the Encyclopedia of
Milwaukee, on the history of Waukesha County, the City of Waukesha, and the Town of Waukesha (Ed. Amanda Seligman, UW-Milwaukee, online publication and University of Illinois Press.) Her peer-reviewed publications on Latina, Latin American literary criticism and cultural studies, have been published in the U.S., Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Her poetry, short stories, plays, and photography have appeared in anthologies in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain. Her poem, “And Sometimes Even in English”, is pending publication on The Anthology of Immigrant and First  Generation American Poetry, an anthology that benefits RAICES, the non-profit helping Central American Refugees and their children detained in the U.S. Mexico border. A former journalist, Dr. Melero’s articles and other newspaper work has appeared in TheWaukesha Freeman, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and The El Paso Herald Post. Dr. Melero has presented her work at more than 50 regional, national, and international conferences, and has given more than 30 invited talks at universities and in other venues throughout the United States.

Dr. Nengher N. Vang (Associate Professor)

Dr. Vang

Nengher N. Vang is an Associate Professor in the History Department and the Coordinator for
the Race and Ethnic Studies Program. His teaching interests include the Vietnam War,
American foreign relations and empire, U.S. immigration history, Asian American history, and
Hmong Americans. His research focus to date has been primarily on the history and politics of
Hmong Americans who came to the United States as refugees from Laos after the Vietnam War.
His teaching and research interests are grounded in his experience escaping persecution after
the Communists came to power in Laos and living in two refugee camps in Thailand before
coming to the United States in the late 1980s. Vang earned his Ph.D. in History from the
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a MA in Peace Studies from the University of Notre

Dr. Chandra Waring (Associate Professor)

Dr. Waring

Chandra D. L. Waring holds a joint position as an Associate Professor of Sociology, Criminology and
Anthropology and Race and Ethnic Studies. Her research focuses on the growing bi/multiracial
population. Her interest in race stems from being raised in a multiracial family in a three very
different contexts: Germany, Georgia and Connecticut. Her work has been published in Feminist
Teacher, Race, Gender & Class, Sociological Imagination, Social Identities, Du Bois Review: Social Science
Research on Race and Sociological Perspectives. She developed two upper-division courses, Minority and
Multiracial Families and Race, Ethnicity and Film. Her goal as a professor is to facilitate respectful,
meaningful and transformative conversations about racism. Waring earned her Ph.D. in sociology from
the University of Connecticut in 2013, where she was a Multicultural Fellow. ​

Dr. Maria White (Lecturer)

Dr. Maria White

Maria Elena White, MS
Maria Elena White has been teaching for 28 years in different areas such as Chicanx Studies 150, Introduction to U.S. Latinx Literature 202 Beginners Spanish, Intermediate Spanish, and Advanced Spanish language study, Translation Cross- Cultural & Human Communication, Sociology, Modern Dance and Theater. She also hasbeen doing speeches, cultural presentations, and intercultural communication workshops for 20 years. Professor Maria Elena White is a former dancer, a professional performer, and storyteller. She had her own theater company where she used to write the scripts, choreography, and direct her own plays. Because of her contribution to the Hispanic community in Beloit, she was featured in the Digital Collection “Somos Latinas History Project,” directed by Dr. Teresa Arenas, Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Library-Archives Division of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Through interviews and personal archives, the Wisconsin Historical Society will create the “Somos Latinas” Collection for use by the public, and the raw footage of my interview was housed in the national Chicanas Por Mi Raza, password secure, website for use by approved scholars in 2015 Ms. White also received an Special Award for the Spanish digital newspaper La Voz de Beloit, for which she work as editor, by The Latino Service Providers Coalition Board of Directors in 2016

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Kathleen Elliot (Associate Professor)

Dr. Kathleen Elliot

Dr. Katie Elliott is an Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations at UW-Whitewater. I am also an affiliated faculty member in Race and Ethnic Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. I am broadly interested in school culture, identity, intersectionality, and youths experiences in schools and society. My research and teaching include an emphasis on the recognition and operation of systems of privilege and exclusion and how these influence policy and practice in schools. I pay attention to how diverse students experiences school; how these experiences are mediated by intersecting identities; and how students work to transform their school cultures through advocacy and activism. I explore these issues in the courses I teach, including, Introduction to Education and Teaching, Foundations of Education in a Pluralistic Society, Paradoxes and Promises: Critical Issues in Urban Education, and Youth Culture Formation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality.

Dr. Anthony Gulig (Associate Professor)

Dr. Anthony GuligAnthony Gulig, originally from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, received a Ph.D. in History from the
University of Saskatchewan in 1997. He teaches courses in American and Canadian history,
Indigenous history and environmental history. When not in the classroom or the archives,
you'll find him in the woods, on the water, or tending a trap line in southern Wisconsin.

Dr. Kristen Lavelle (Associate Professor)

Dr. Kristen Lavelle

Kristen Lavelle is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Criminology, and Anthropology.
She has taught courses in Race & Ethnic Studies and Sociology, including Race & Ethnic Relations, the
Sociology of Social Class, Race & Ethnicity Beyond the Classroom, Methods of Social Research, and Civil
Rights History travel study. Dr. Lavelle specializes in conducting critical, qualitative research on the
topics of racism, whiteness, social memory, and racial narratives and identities. She has published the
book Whitewashing the South: White Memories of Segregation and Civil Rights. She co-founded the UW-
Whitewater Oral History Project on Race. ​

Dr. Laura Porterfield (Associate Professor)

Dr. Porterfield

Dr. Laura Krystal Porterfield is an Associate Professor of Educational Foundations and the
Coordinator of the Diversity Leadership Certificate program at UW-Whitewater. I also hold an
affiliated facultyship in Race and Ethnic Studies and Womens and Gender Studies. My
fundamental belief and philosophy is that education is a human and civil right. I explore these
issues in my teaching, Introduction to Education and Teaching, Foundations of Education in a
Pluralistic Society, Paradoxes and Promises: Critical Issues in Urban Education, Diversity,
Service Learning, and Leadership in the City, and Youth Culture Formation: Race, Gender, and
Sexuality. As a scholar, I pay attention to the intersection(s) of visuality and social life; I am
interested in how youth learn about varying forms of human difference from visual texts and
from their everyday spaces and places.

Other RES Faculty

C. Holly Denning 

C. Holly DenningC. Holly Denning is in her 10th year as an academic staff instructor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She also teaches for the Race and Ethnic Studies Program. She is completing a doctoral program in Sociology at Boston College where she received her M.A in 1993 in social justice. Her research interests include applying restorative justice models to social and environmental disasters.  She has published on Hurricane Katrina, environmental racism and restorative and community justice.  She was instrumental in setting up a Peace and Justice Studies minor at UWW and she is a co-coordinator for Earth Week events.  She teaches Individual and Society, Race and Ethnic Relations , African American Community, American Indian Studies, Introduction to Peace and Social Justice, Environmental Sociology, Gender, Ethnicity and the Environment, and Restorative Justice.

Dr. Rossitza Ivanova 
(Associate Professor)

Dr. Rossi

Dr. Rossitza Ivanova began teaching at UW-Whitewater in the fall of 2011, as a First Year English instructor in the Department of Languages and Literatures. Subsequently, she has held joint appointments in the English Language Academy, and has developed and taught courses for international and domestic ESL students at UWW. She also teaches a course in American Indian Literature (334) for the Race and Ethnic Studies Program, and has contributed to the development of the RES American Indian Minor. Her educational background includes an MA in ESL from her home university in Bulgaria, an MA in Gender Studies and a PhD in Contemporary American Indian Literature from Warwick University, UK. She has published articles on contemporary American Indian women writers and on teaching ESL at the university level. She enjoys travelling, reading, gardening, biking, and time with family and friends.

Dr. James Levy (Associate Professor)

Dr. Levy

James Anders Levy is a scholar of American race and ethnicity and Director of the Public
History Program at Whitewater. He earned his Ph. D. in American History with a sub-disciplinary
focus on African American history from Rutgers University. He has published and presented
widely on African American thought and politics during the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. As a
public historian, Dr. Levy’s projects employ oral history and collaborative community research to
foster public dialogue about the dynamics of race in local settings. He founded the Wisconsin
Farms Oral History Project at UW-Whitewater in 2012, now a statewide faculty-student project
involving five UW campuses which explores the connections between race, Wisconsin history
and agriculture. The project sponsored a traveling exhibit and community conversation tour
academic year 2018-19 called The Lands We Share which reached over ten thousand
Wisconsinites. In fall 2015, Dr. Levy curated a major national exhibition at the Schomburg
Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem (New York) titled, Black Suburbia: From
Levittown to Ferguson. Professor Levy teaches a broad range of courses on U.S. culture, race and
ethnicity at Whitewater, focusing particularly on modern American culture since the Civil War
including courses on African American politics, race and migration, rock and roll culture and
history, and the history of race in America through film.

Melizabeth Santos (Lecturer)


Melizabeth Santos, MA is a lecturer in ChicanX Studies.  Her research interests are in education
for LatinX students, specifically around linguistic policy, access to bilingual education, and culturally
responsive pedagogy.  Currently, she is a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction at the University
of Illinois at Chicago.

Dr. Jim Winship (Lecturer)

Dr. Winship

Jim Winship, MSW, Ph.D. is Emeritus Professor of Social Work, currently teaching part-time. His teaching
on immigration is grounded in his experience in living in Latin America three times, and on his thirteen
years conducting research in El Salvador. This research is principally on youth and migration and more
recently on those who have returned to El Salvador from other countries. His book, Coming of Age in El Salvador, was published in 2014.