Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo


In the Department of International & Transcultural Studies

Students > Our Doctoral Students

Our Doctoral Students

Welcome to the profiles of the doctoral students in the Programs in Anthropology at Teachers College. These snapshots demonstrate our academic, professional and personal diversity. We hail from South Africa to Korea to New York. Our students are anthropologists, teachers, administrators, consultants, and work in the public and private sectors, in academia and research organizations.

* Doctoral Students: Profiles are updated and new profiles are added ONCE a year during the Fall semester.

Chelsea Good Abbas

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education:  Master of Arts, Anthropology & Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Research Interests: Borderlands, Conflict/Violence; Race and Ethnicity, Diasporas, Marginality; Migration and Human Rights; Social Movements; Visual Anthropology.

Geographical Interests: Central America and the Caribbean.

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
Abbas, C. (2011) Nica vs. Tica: Exploring Environment and Identity in the Rio San Juan Borderlands of Costa Rica. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, QC.

Abbas, C. (2011) Danger Passes Through Me: A Narrative Exploration of a Latina’s Struggles in Hell’s Kitchen. Film presented at the Education Across the Americas Conference, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Abbas, C. (2009) A Look at Poverty in Paradise: Rethinking Undergraduate Research through Experiences in Limon, Costa Rica. Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

NSF Summer Institute for Research Design, Duke Marine Lab, Beaufort, NC, 2012

Institute of Latin American Studies, Pre-dissertation Field Research Grant, 2011

Teachers College Dean’s Grant for Student Research, 2011

Gerard P. Alolod

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: B.S.F.S., Georgetown University, M.A., Anthropology & Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

Research Interests: Feminist postcolonial theory, anthropology of development, elite and identity formation, women’s microfinance

Geographical Interests: East Africa

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
(2005) Rectifying a Cultural Violation: Female Parliamentarians in South Africa

(2008) The Possibilities of Women’s (Extra-)Household Roles: An Anthropological Study of Women’s Microcredit in a Tanzanian City

Lauren S. Bae

Program: Applied Anthropology


Previous Graduate Education: Ed.M. in Anthro and Ed, Teachers College, Columbia University; M.A. in Education, Stanford University

Research Interests: cultural anthropology; applied anthropology; urban anthropology; political anthropology; theories of resistance; anthropology of factory work; politics of representation; identity; globalization of labor unions; public sector unions; political economy; politics of education; dysfunction of math (education) in America

Geographical Interests: United States (DC area); Southeast Asia (Vietnam); Cuba; Mongolia

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
2011—AAA Presentation: On the Necessity of Confusion in Conversion: The "Mystification of Math" in the United States

2010—Summer FLAS (SEASSI, Vietnamese)
2009—SYLFF Fellow (summer research, Vietnam)

Sarah French Brennan

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education:  MA in Applied Anthropology, Teachers College, Columbia University

Research Interests: I’m interested in the contexts, practices and technologies involved in the production of sexual identities and minority subjectivities. Currently, I am studying queer asylum seekers in the Netherlands, looking at how they experience the asylum process, and the formal and informal institutions with which they interact. I am interested in the ways in which the processes of claiming asylum as a “LGBT” (the legal terminology in the asylum process) individual produce, rather than simply represent, a specific type of subject. Previously, I have studied queer communities in Cairo, Egypt.

Geographical Interests: Western Europe; Middle East and North Africa

“Narratives of Existence: Strategies and Safe Spaces of Sexual Minorities in Cairo.” Anthropological Quarterly Special Issue: Minorities in the Middle East, 2015

Selected Publications & Presentations:
"Producing the 'LGBTI Asylum Seeker': Sharing Stories and Strategies at Amsterdam’s Secret Garden," Queer Migrations and Mobilities Workshop, Lund University, Sweden, Fall 2014

“Narratives of Existence: Negotiating Rights and Sexual Identities in Cairo,” British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Graduate Student Conference, Oxford University, Spring 2013

“Narratives of Existence: Negotiating 'Rights' and Sexual Identities in Cairo,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Fall 2012

“Securing and Contesting Sexual Identities in Cairo,” Minority Experience of the Middle East: New Anthropological Perspectives Workshop, Elliot School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Spring 2012

“Security and Sexual Identity in Cairo,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Fall 2011

"Race Monologues: Personal Narratives on the Contemporary Experience of Race and Racism" in the United States, 9th Annual Education Across the Americas Conference: Experiences, Challenges and Solutions. Teachers College, Columbia University, Spring 2011

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Academic Year 2011-2012

Columbia University Middle East Institute Summer Regional Travel Research Fellowship, 2011

Columbia University Teachers College General Scholarship, 2010-2012

Columbia University Teachers College Tuition Assistance Grant, 2010-2011

Laura L. Bunting-Hudson

Program: Anthropology & Education

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: MSc Environment and Development, London School of Economics

Research Interests: Media, Technology, Economics, and Informality in Colombia and Mexico. I am currently conducting research on how independent rap artists in Bogota, Colombia produce and disseminate their music.

Geographical Interests: Mexico, Brazil, US

¨Perceptions of Environmental Justice and Equity in Air Pollution Policy from Mexico City.¨ Published in the London School of Economics and Political Science Department of Geography and the Environment Bulletin.  December 2009.  Winner of the George and Hilda Ormsby Award.

¨Economic Informality and Shadow State Formation in Mexico.¨ Presentation. American Anthropology Association Conference 2011. Chair of the Panel of Latin American Democracy. Montreal, Canada.

George and Hilda Ormsby Award, Department of Environment and Geography London School of Economics 2009

Bruce Burnside

Program: Anthropology and Education

Degree: Ph.D

Previous Graduate Education: Masters in Anthropology at Columbia University

Research Interests:  Bruce's current research focuses on the Turkish migration to Germany and the experience of young people with immigration backgrounds and issues of national belonging, with particular attention given to questions of education. His research also extends to Turkish-Germans' relations to and in Turkey and the historical connections between the two countries. Previous work has focused on religious tolerance in Ottoman Bosnia as well as African American Islam. He is also the Program Director of the Center for African Education at Teachers College.

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
"Immigrating to Germany, USA and Mexico: The Girls from MÄDEA”, Todo Aleman (Goethe Institut, July 2012),

I Want A Good Friend": Youth Work And Belonging Among Migrant Girls In Berlin (Masters Thesis: Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, 2012).

“Bosnian War,” “Bosnian Americans,” “Ishmaelites,” “Lebanese Civil War,” “Last Poets,” “Lamen, Kebe,” “Wu-Tang Clan,” Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History, Edward Curtis, ed. (New York: Facts on File, Inc, 2010).

Presenter at Integration and Immigrants' Participation conference at University of Iceland November 2011.

Presenter at Early Modern Ottoman Empire workshop at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, June 2010.

Summer Foreign Area Language Scholarship, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey.

Meghan M. Chidsey

Program: Anthropology & Education

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: Master of Philosophy in Anthropology & Education from Columbia University (2013); Master of Science in Education, specialization in Urban Education, from the University of Pennsylvania (2010); Secondary Education teaching Certificate in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania (2010); [Bachelor of Architecture with major in Anthropology from the University of Notre Dame (2008)]

Research Interests: Childhood and Higher Education; Elite Schooling; Gender/ Women’s Studies; Inequality; Identity; Historic Anthropology

Geographical Interests: India (South Asia); Sub-Saharan Africa; urban America

Chidsey, M. (work-in-progress) Schooling Advantage: Cultivating Privilege at Elite Girls’ Public Schools in North India; Ph.D. dissertation

(Dec 2014) Admitting an Elite Class of Girls: A Discussion of Values, Status, & “Folding-in” at Four All-Girls’ Public Schools in North India. American Anthropological Association Conference, Washington, D.C.

(Feb 2015) "Adjust Karo": Cultivating Privileged Identities at Elite All-Girls’ ‘Public Schools’ in North India. University of Pennsylvania's Annual Ethnography in Education Research Form. Philadelphia, PA.

Peer-Reviewed Publications:
Chidsey, M. (2013). Re(Learning) Identities: War and Army Widows, Hostel Residents in Urban Rajasthan. Notre Dame, IN: Kellogg Institute.

Selected Presentations:

Chidsey, M. (2014) This Is Anthropology: The Self, the Other, and Research Methodologies. The Scindia School & Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior, India, MP

Chidsey, M. (2012). Integrating Global Education into Science & Math Curricula. Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Chidsey, M. (2011) War and Army Widows in Urban Rajasthan. American Anthropological Association Conference, Montreal, Canada.

Chidsey, M. (2011). Infusing Global Education into Science Curricula. PhilaScience Festival presentation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Chidsey, M. (2010, May). Africa’s Educational Predicament: A Comparative Examination of NGO-Government Relations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Master’s thesis presented at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Chidsey, M. (2009, Nov). Teaching the Human Experience: Lessons from Ethiopia. Photography/photojournalism exhibit, African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Chidsey, M. (2009, Nov). Teaching the Science of Ethiopia. Paper presented at the African Studies Conference, New Orleans, LA.


Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowship, India (2013-2014)   

Dean’s Doctoral Research Fellowship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2013-2014)   

Academic Year Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship: Hindi, Columbia University (2012-2013)

Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2012-2013)

Summer Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship: Hindi, Columbia University

American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS): Hindi

Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2011-2012)

Office of Residential Services Conference Scholarship, Teachers College, Columbia University

Minority Scholarship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2011-2012)

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS): Hindi, India

Summer Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship: Hindi, Columbia University, declined

Minority Scholarship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2010-2011)

Elaine Christian

Program: Anthropology & Education

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education:  B.A. Linguistics, Trinity Western University, 2005; M.A. Anthropology of Development, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), 2010

Research Interests: Anthropology of development, religion, adult literacy development, religious development organisations, missionaries

Geographical Interests: East Africa, Swahili-speaking areas

Leitner Family Fellowship for Research in Africa (2010)

Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Fellowship (2010)

Shana S. R. Colburn

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Research Interests: State and society; Nationalism, national culture and national identity; Anthropology and the media

Geographical Interests: China (East Asia)

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
Dissertation Research, State and Society in a Beijing Radio Station (fieldwork 2014-2015)

Weatherhead East Asian Institute, SYLFF Fellow, Columbia University (2014-2015)

General Scholarships, Teachers College, Columbia University (Summer 2008)

Minority Scholarship, Teachers College, Columbia University (2007-2008)

Amelia Herbert

Program: Anthropology and Education

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: M.S.Ed Childhood Education, Hunter College

Research Interests:
Social and cultural incorporation of low income, first generation college students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds at white-dominant universities.

Geographical Interests: South Africa, United States

Leitner Family Fellowship for Language Study and Research in Africa

Lisa Le Fevre

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: Master of Science in Education major in TESOL (ESL) from Long Island University (2007); Master of Arts major in Journalism/French Studies from New York University (2003); Maîtrise Lettres Modernes from the Université Paris Sorbonne, Paris IV (for study during1999-2000); [Bachelor of Arts major in French with a minor in History from Franklin and Marshall College (1998)]

Research Interests: My anthropological interests aim at cross-disciplinary mergers and applications, as well as cultural, psychological, and applied anthropology. My current pursuits include topics such as cultural and personal change, preservation, and adaptive strategies; aging; issues of community survival; and the relationships among people, places, and things.

Geographical Interests:  Eastern and Western Europe

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in Progress:
“Emotional and narrative landscapes of the elderly: creative relationships between notions of self and others through space and place” — Panel Co-Convenor with Brian O’Hare at the 10th annual SIEF 2011 Congress in Lisbon, Portugal

“Objects of place, space, and time: a case study of social drama, liminality, and anti-temporality in post-socialist "nostalgic" narratives” — Panel paper presentation at the 10th annual SIEF 2011 Congress in Lisbon, Portugal

Awards and Honors:
Fulbright Research Grant to Bulgaria (2012-13)

ACLS “East European Studies Program Language Grant to Individuals for Summer Study” (2010)

TC General Scholarships (spring 2008 and fall 2008)

Caroline Scholarship (spring 2008)

AmeriCorps education awards for service teaching and as part of the NYCTF (2005–2006/2007–2008)

Yves Andre Istel Fellowship from the Institute of French Studies at NYU (2001–2002)

The Carl Hartzell French Prize from Franklin and Marshall College (1998)

Phi Alpha Theta International History Honor Society (1998)

Monica Mann

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Research Interests: West African Vodu, sickle cell anemia, medical technology, medical pedagogy, health and healing, “voluntourism”

Geographical Interests: West Africa, U.S.

2010 — Pain in Translation, Transforming Anthropology(18) 2.

2007 — Presentation:Pain, Personhood, and the Transnational Lived Experience of Sickle Cell Disease:  Solomon's Story. American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings

2006 — “Science and Art: The Bodies Exhibition at South Street Seaport,” Guest Lecture for Dr. Paige West’s “Interpretations of Culture” class at Barnard College

2004 — Presentation: “Bodies that Heal: Penetrability, Pragmatism, and Play in Gorovodu Medicine,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings

2004 — “Bodies of Gorovodu Healing,” a working paper based on 2003 fieldwork in Togo, presented and defended to graduate faculty at Teachers College-Columbia University

2003 — “Getting to Grad School,”Guest Lecture for Dr. Judy Rosenthal’s Advanced Anthropological Theory seminar at University of Michigan—Flint.

2009 — Betty Fairfax Professional Development Grant

2008 — Dean’s Grant for Research—Columbia University Teachers College

2005 — Cowles Fellowship—Columbia University Teachers College

2003 — Columbia University Teachers College Anthropology Research Fund Grant

2002–2005 — Columbia University Teachers College Tuition Scholarship

2002 — University of Michigan Maize & Blue Scholar

2000 — University of Michigan True Blue Service Scholar Award

1992–97 & 1999–2001 — University of Michigan Scholar

Rodrigo Mayorga

Program: Anthropology and Education

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: M.A. in History, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Research Interests: Political Socialization, Political Identities, Citizenship, Civic Education, Historical Consciousness, History of Education

Geographical Interests:  Latin America, Chile

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in Progress:
Mayorga, R. (2014) “Apparent consensus, hidden dangers: instructing and educating in Chilean schools (1930-1960)” [Consensos aparentes, peligros ocultos: instruir y educar en la escuela chilena (1930-1960)], Ariadna Histórica. Lenguajes, conceptos, metáforas.

Mayorga, R. (2014) “Party / Faction (Chile)” [Partido / Facción (Chile)], Javier Fernández Sebastián (dir.) Political and Social Dictionary of the Iberoamerican world. Political concepts in the era of Independence 1770-1870 [Diccionario Político y Social del Mundo Iberoamericano. Conceptos políticos en la era de la Independencia 1770-1870], Vol. 2, Madrid, Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales.

Mayorga, R. (2014) “Reading in the Chilean primary school and Nation-state building (1842-1920): Sarmiento’s and Matte’s books for learning to read” [“La lecture dans l’école publique chilienne et la construction de l’État-nation (1842-1920): les manuels de Sarmiento et Matte”], Histoire de l'éducation, numéro 138, mai-août 2013.

Mayorga, R. (2013) “From semantic multiplicity to national need. The concepts of Party and Faction in Chile (1770-1870)” [“De la multiplicidad semántica a la necesidad nacional: los conceptos de partido y facción en Chile (1770-1870)”], Bicentenario. Revista de Historia de Chile y América, Centro de Estudios Bicentenario, Santiago de Chile, Vol. 12.

Mayorga, R. (2013) “A childhood apart. The minority in the province of Buenos Aires (1930-1943)” [Una infancia aparte. La minoridad en la provincia de Buenos Aires (1930-1943)] (review), Revista de Historia Iberoamericana, Vol. 6.

Mayorga, R. (2012) “Chapter IV: A new pedagogy: reading and other knowledges in primary school” [Capítulo IV: Una nueva pedagogía, Sol Serrano, Macarena Ponce De León and Francisca Rengifo (Editors), History of Education in Chile, 1810-2010, Volume II: The national education, 1880-1930.

Mayorga, R. (2012) “Chapter VIII: Teaching and Learning”, Sol Serrano, Macarena Ponce De León and Francisca Rengifo, History of Education in Chile 1810-2010, Volume I: Learning to read and write,1810-1880.

Mayorga, R. (2011) Editor, Writing about Chile from School: historical consciousness and school research between two Centennials (1910-2010) [Escribir a Chile desde la escuela. Conciencia histórica e investigación escolar entre Centenarios (1910-2010)], (Santiago, RIL Editors)

Mayorga, R. (2011) “Concepts of School. Approaches to the Chilean education system from conceptual history. 1840-1890” [“Los conceptos de escuela: aproximaciones desde la historia conceptual al sistema educativo chileno, 1840-1890”], Revista de Historia Social y de las Mentalidades, Vol. 15, Universidad de Santiago.

Mayorga, R. (2011) “A new road from A to Z: Teaching and learning literacy in 19th century Chilean primary school” [Un nuevo camino de la A a la Z: enseñanza y aprendizaje de la lecto-escritura en la escuela primaria chilena del siglo XIX”], Revista Pensamiento Educativo, Vols. 46-47, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Mayorga, R. (2009) “Being young and catholic in Chile. Catholic education and elites’ formation in the Centenarian Chile” [“Ser joven católico en Chile. Educación católica y formación de elites en el Chile del Centenario”], Simon Collier Seminar 2008 [Seminario Simon Collier 2008] (Santiago, RIL Editors).

Becas Chile Scholarship, CONICYT Chile, 2014-2018

Teachers College Scholarship, Educational Master, Anthropology of Education Program, Teachers College at Columbia University, 2013-2014

CONICYT Master’s Scholarship, CONICYT Chile, 2009-2010

Brian J. O'Hare

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Previous Graduate Education: M.S., CDIT: Language Education, University at Albany, SUNY; M.A., Anthropology & Education, Teachers College (in progress).

Geographical Interests: East Asia, North America, Western Europe

Research Interests: Medical and Psychological Anthropology: urban space and health, cultural construction of emotions and suffering as applied to systems of medical knowledge, power, and healing.

Works-in-Progress: Fieldwork in New York City centered on aging and emotions in an urban enclave.

Gabrielle Oliveira

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: Ph.D.

Research Interests: Transnational migration; gender and education; anthropology of childhood

Geographical Interests: Latin America

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:

Chapters in Books

(2013). “The Consequences of Mexican Maternal Migration on Children Left Behind.” Chapter in Bartlett, Lesley and Ghaffar-Kucher, Ameena, eds. Refugees, Immigrants, and Education in the Global South: Lives in Motion. New York: Routledge Press.

Book Reviews

(2013). Review of Literacy and Mothering: How Women's Schooling Changes the Lives of the World's Children by Robert LeVine, Sarah LeVine, Beatrice Schnell-Anzola, Meredith L. Rowe, and Emily Dexter. Comparative Education Review.

Other Publications

“Caring for them all”. Globalist. May 5 2013. Available at:

(2012). “Staying Connected: Transnational Care-Constellations”. American Anthropological Association, Anthropology News (AN). Borders and Boundaries February issue.

Daniel Souleles

Program: Applied Anthropology

Degree: PhD

Previous Graduate Education: MPhil, MA, Columbia University

Research Interests: Value, Time, Cosmologies, Conversion, Finance, Wealth, Poverty, Exchange Theory, Deep History, Symbolic Anthropology, Social Anthropology, Field Methods, and Clawhammer Banjo

Geographical Interests: Contemporary United States

Selected Publications, Presentations, Works-in-Progress:
Souleles, Daniel (2014) On the Varieties of Financial Experience. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association

Souleles, Daniel (2014) Wealth, Work and Worry: How private equity fits into the creation and control of value in America. Lecture given at Hamilton College

Souleles Daniel (2012) Shared Secrets in a Community of Hermits: Ethically Untangling Those and Other Paradoxes. Paper presented at the Society for Applied Anthropology

Teagle Summer Institute for University Teaching at Columbia University, Summer 2014

Teachers College, Columbia University Provost Doctoral Dissertation Grant Spring 2014

Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Summer Teaching Scholars Competition, Summer 2014

National Science Foundation Summer Institute for Research Design in Cultural Anthropology, Summer 2013

LSE-Columbia University Ph.D. Student Exchange Program, Fall 2012

Teachers College, Columbia University General Scholarship, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012