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Carolina Aranibar-Fernández

CSRD Race, Arts & Democracy Fellow


In my work I question systems of power that have been constructed to benefit some while purposefully marginalizing others.

I seek to make visible the exploitation of land and labor. Extractivism, from the beginnings of colonialism--coloniality--which is deeply rooted in racism; to the contemporary extractive capitalist system--that continuously displaces people and other beings.

This year, I will be working in collaboration with the Center for the Study or Race and Democracy on imagining spaces for conversations around art and its language to address historical and contemporary global issues.

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Keith Thompson
Keith Thompson

CSRD Race, Arts & Democracy Fellow


Assistant Director of the dance program and Associate Professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. Notably, Thompson is one of the nation’s most distinguished dance artists and is recognized for his role with Trisha Brown Dance Company, his company dance Tactics, his collaborations with Herberger Institute Professor Liz Lerman, and shifting public vocabulary about dance.
I thrive by seeking out challenges of discovery that takes place within the moment, compositionally and conceptually. Complex articulation of multiple pathways through and between spaces are a main focus. 

With a passionate investigation in dance and physical theater, I look to create a connection somewhere between abstraction and narrative within a global context for the viewer. This constant throughout my creative research aligns with The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.


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Elizabeth Lerman

CSRD Race, Arts & Democracy Fellow

Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, educator and speaker, and the recipient of numerous honors, including a 2002 MacArthur Genius Grant, a 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellowship in Dance, and a Deutsch Fellow. A key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics from shipbuilders to physicists, construction workers to ballerinas, resulting in bothresearch and outcomes that are participatory, relevant, urgent, and usable by others. She founded Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and cultivated the company's unique multi-generational ensemble into a leading force in contemporary dance until 2011.

She was an artist-in-residence and visiting lecturer at Harvard University in 2011, and her most recent work, "Healing Wars," toured across the US in 2014-15. Lerman conducts residencies on Critical Response Process, creative research, the intersection of art and science, and the building of narrative within dance performance at such institutions as Harvard University, Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and the National Theatre Studio, among others. Her collection of essays, "Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer," was published in 2011 by Wesleyan University Press and released in paperback in 2014. In 2016, Lerman was named the first Institute Professor at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, where she is building a new ensemble lab focused on creative research.

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Chandra Crudup

CSRD Faculty Fellow

Chandra Crudup is the Associate Director for Student Services and Programs and a Lecturer in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. Her research interests are centered on multiracial identity and interracial relationships and utilize video technology as a qualitative data-gathering tool. Her practice experience is in school social work.

She is a faculty fellow with both the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and the Studio for Creativity, Place and Equitable Communities. She is a co-founder and director of a non-profit, Mixed Roots Stories that uses the power of storytelling to bridge connections between people of mixed heritages. She recently served as the vice president of the Critical Mixed Race Studies Association and continues to organize the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference where she curates and manages the arts and cultural components of the conference. 

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James Wermers

CSRD Faculty Fellow

I am a Clinical Assistant Professor of Humanities in the Languages and Cultures unit in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University. 

I write about Shakespeare, pedagogy, and issues of race and democracy (often all at once), teach courses in composition, film, gender studies, literature, philosophy, and religious studies. I develop and lead innovative and engaging community programs like "Words on Wheels" with the ASU's Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.

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Kermit Brown

CSRD Faculty Fellow


As a Communication Studies instructor, a Marine Corps-Gulf War Veteran, and the current Faculty Advisor for the Black Student Union (Downtown), my approach to teaching is student focused, with a strong commitment to the development of social consciousness.

My teaching philosophy is to engage students and encourage them to communicate courageously, inspire them to be fearless in the face of adversity, and empower them to work collaboratively as members of a rapidly changing global community.

My work aligns with the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy in that; my pedagogical goal involves guiding my community of practice toward a critical understanding of the importance of increasing student’s social awareness through cross-cultural communication, social awareness, and community action. This increased awareness will ultimately guide them to become architects of social change.

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Marie-Louise Paulesc

CSRD Faculty Fellow

I am a Communication Lecturer in the Languages and Cultures unit in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University. I am interested in the public dimension of discourse, space, and memory and it is in these contexts that I explore the interplay between race and democracy.

In my teaching and research, I pursue such questions as: how is race constructed and deployed in the public sphere? How do public spaces welcome, exclude, and regulate diverse racial bodies? What racial histories are memorialized, neglected, and muddled in the official forms of collective memory? And how do countermemories of racial injustice work against these forms?

In a manner that is aligned with the mission of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, my teaching and my research seek to make visible the ways in which the conversations we have in public and the media, the spaces we build in our urban environment, and the constituents of hour communal memory carry telling issues on race and immigration that shape both how we think of democracy in the present and how we imagine our society for the future. As a teacher, I strive to stimulate my students to think critically about the implications and consequences such issues have for their lives, careers, and, more importantly, for their civic participation. 
Mary Stephens

Mary Stephens

CSRD Faculty Fellow


As an art producer, I support work that shapes wayward futures and builds bold imaginations

My work focuses on bridging artists with community organizers to connect ideas about identity, memory, and political change. I am particularly interested in working with willful and insurgent women artists who make visible the power and politics of living each day. 

In a historical moment demanding accountability, the arts and culture sector is reckoning with our own racial barriers and exclusions.  I hope that during my time with The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, we can open critical conversations to dismantle structural barriers built on white supremacy, to center the artistic leadership of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQI, and women of color communities.