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2021–22 New Faculty Appointments

September 19, 2021 College of Arts and Humanities | The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies | Communication | American Studies | History | Art

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The college welcomes a new faculty cohort.

By ARHU Staff

The College of Arts and Humanities is excited to welcome a new faculty cohort to the University of Maryland.

Department of American Studies and the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

Neel Ahuja, Visiting Professor

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Neel Ahuja earned his doctorate in cultural studies from the University of California, San Diego. He is a cultural studies scholar whose research explores the relationship of the body to the geopolitical, environmental and public health contexts of colonial governance, warfare and security. Ahuja is the author of two books, “Bioinsecurities: Disease Interventions, Empire, and the Government of Species” and “Planetary Specters: Race, Migration, and Climate Change in the Twenty-First Century.” He has written a variety of essays exploring feminist and critical race approaches to the emerging humanistic fields of disability studies and animal studies. Ahujal is currently working on two research areas, one exploring the governance of COVID-19 and another analyzing United States counterterrorism incarceration, rendition and interrogation practices. Prior to arriving at the University of Maryland, Ahuja taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Department of Art

Brandon J. Donahue, Assistant Professor

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Brandon J. Donahue earned his Master of Fine Arts from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He is a visual artist working in assemblage, mural painting and airbrushing. His artwork and research are rooted in community engagement with an emphasis on memorials and commemorating. Donahue has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the 13th annual Havana Biennial in Matanzas, Cuba, in 2019. Donahue is the recipient of the 2018 Tanne Foundation Award and presented his work at the Southeastern College Arts Conference in 2016. He recently completed an artist residency at the University of Maryland’s David C. Driskell Center where he collaborated with students to paint a mural commemorating the late artist and Distinguished University Professor David C. Driskell.

Antwon Key, Assistant Professor

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Antwon Key earned his Master of Fine Arts in graphic design from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His current area of research interest is in design for social change. He believes that a designer’s responsibility is to use their expertise and unique perspective to address critical societal problems, and he tries to help the viewer think critically about our country’s social, political and cultural issues through his work. His recent project, “Red, White, and Black: A Visual Introspective of Alternative American Perspectives,” explores African American viewpoints on politics and citizenship by using photography and expressive typography. This project was chosen as one of 265 regional winners in the PRINT 2018 Regional Design Awards.

Department of Communication

Briana Barner, President’s Postdoctoral Fellow

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Briana Barner earned her doctorate in radio/TV/film from the University of Texas. She is an interdisciplinary critical and cultural communications scholar with research interests in Black podcasts, digital and Black feminism, digital media, social media as a tool for social justice and activism, and the representation of marginalized people, specifically Black girls and women in popular culture and media. Her work has been published in Saving New Sounds, Feminist Approaches to Media Theory and Research, and her public scholarship can be found in Bitch magazine. Under the mentorship of Associate Professor of Communication Anita Atwell Seate, Barner will work on several projects, including journal articles and a book manuscript about the cultural production of Black podcasts.

The Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 

Neda Atanasoski, Professor and Chair 

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Neda Atanasoski earned her doctorate in literature from the University of California, San Diego. Her research expertise lies in feminist critical race approaches to science and technology studies, postcolonial and postsocialist studies, and transnational American studies. In 2019, she completed the co-authored book “Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots and the Politics of Technological Futures,” which tracks how structures of racism, anti-Blackness and settler colonialism are fundamental to human-machine interactions. Atanasoski is the co-editor of the journal Critical Ethnic Studies, the flagship journal of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association. Prior to arriving at the Univeristy of Maryland, she was the founding director of the Center for Racial Justice and professor of feminist studies and critical race and ethnic studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Department of History

​​Kevan Antonio Aguilar, President’s Postdoctoral Fellow

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Kevan Antonio Aguilar earned his doctorate in history from the University of California, San Diego. His research investigates the racial and ideological dynamics of transnational political movements between Mexico, Spain and the United States. His work has been published in the Journal of Latin American Studies and has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program and the Social Science Research Council. During Aguilar’s postdoctoral term, he will work with Professor and Director of the Center for Historical Studies Karin Rosemblatt. His book manuscript will examine Mexican popular receptions toward political refugees of the Spanish Civil War. He will also conduct research on a second project that tracks the activities of Mexican anarchists on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border from the 1920s through the 1960s.

Jeremy Simmons, Assistant Professor

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Jeremy Simmons earned his doctorate in classical studies from Columbia University. His research focuses broadly on the ancient world, from Iberia to India. His work has been published in the American Journal of Numismatics, Ancient Society and a number of edited volumes. His current book project focuses on the consumption of goods traded across the Indian Ocean in antiquity, addressing representative Mediterranean and Indian commodities in their new social and cultural contexts. Before joining the University of Maryland’s Department of History, Simmons was a Rome Prize fellow at the American Academy in Rome and held a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Amith Chandrashaker, Assistant Professor

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Amith Chandrashaker earned his Master of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is a lighting designer for theater, dance, opera, television, concerts and events, and his work has been seen off-Broadway, at major regional theaters, on Virgin Cruise ships and on CNN and NBC. He has also worked internationally at the National Dance Company of Wales, Staatstheater Nürnberg, Aalto Theater Essen, Lyon Opera Ballet and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. He sits on the executive board of his union, United Scenic Artists Local 829. Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, he was an adjunct professor at Pace University and New York University’s Design for Stage and Film.