Visiting Speakers

Jessica Lee

Associate Director
Freedom & Citizenship

Jessica Lee is the Associate Director of Freedom & Citizenship, a free educational program in political philosophy and civic engagement offered to low-income New York City high school students through Columbia's Center for American Studies and Double Discovery Center. Jessica received her Ph.D. in history from Columbia in 2016 with a dissertation titled "To the Seventh Generation: Italians and the Creation of an American Political Identity, 1921-1948"

Koen Leurs

Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Culture Studies
Utrecht University

Koen Leurs is Assistant Professor in Gender and Postcolonial studies at the Graduate Gender Program, Department of Media and Culture Studies at Utrecht University. He coordinates the Gender Studies and Postcolonial Studies minors, and currently coordinates Gender, Ethnicity and Cultural Criticism. He is a feminist internet researcher interested in multiculturalism, race, migration, diaspora and youth culture using mixed methods and ethnography. He is currently working on the NWO-Veni research project ‘Young connected migrants. Comparing digital practices of young asylum seekers and expatriates in the Netherlands’

Simona Levi


Simona Levi is a theatre director, playwright, technopolitical strategist, cultural manager and curator, multidisciplinary artist, researcher, reporter and teacher who, as an activist, has focused in recent years on free culture, digital democracy and the strategic use of digital tools for organisation, technopolitical communication, collective action, the struggle against state corruption, and for the renovation of democracy.

David Levin

Addie Clark Harding Professor, Department of Germanic Studies, Department of Cinema & Media Studies, the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, and the College
University of Chicago

David J. Levin is the Addie Clark Harding Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies, the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies and the College. He is also Chair of the Comittee on Theater and Performance Studies. Professor Levin recently spent the 2015-16 school year as a Faculty Fellow at the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

George Levine

Professor Emeritus of English
Rutgers University

Professor Levine has released the following publications: Dying to Know (2002); The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot (2001); Darwin and the Novelists (1988); The Realistic Imagination (1981); and Lifebirds (1997). He also wrote introduction and notes for The Origin of the Species (2004). He works in aesthetics, nineteenth-century literature and culture, the relations between literature and science, and problems connected with the condition of the profession. He is at work on a new study, "The Uses of Darwin," and "How to Read the Victorian Novel." He was Director of the Center for the Critical Analysis of Contemporary Culture.

Mario Luis Small

Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology
Harvard University

Mario L. Small, Ph.D., Grafstein Family Professor at Harvard University, is the author of numerous award-winning books and articles on networks, poverty, organizations, culture, methods, neighborhoods, institutions, and other topics.  His latest book, to be published fall 2017, is Someone To Talk To (Oxford).  A study of how people decide whom to approach when seeking support, the book is an inquiry into human nature, a critique of network analysis, and a discourse on the role of qualitative research in the big-data era.

Rhae Lynn Barnes

Assistant Professor of History
Princeton University

Rhae Lynn Barnes is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University.  Since receiving her PhD from Harvard University in 2016, she has been Summer Visiting Scholar at the Bard Graduate Center, a fellow of University of Southern California's Society of Fellows, and a Mellon Fellow in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School in Charlottesville, VA, among a number of other awards and honors.  She is also the founder and CEO of US History Scene (, which provides open access teaching resources to thousands public schools in the United States and is specifically focused on the curriculum gap at inner-city K-12 schools.  Her first book, Darkology: When the American Dream Wore Blackface maps the political, economic, and cultural geography of amateur blackface by laying bare its unstudied bibliographic history.  "Darkology," an insider term for the process of learning to embody stereotypical blackness and black life from how-to amateur blackface music guides, scripts and parlor games, was a revolutionary cultural phenomenon: the nearly ten thousand published minstrel plays that form the bedrock of Barnes's research, revisionist political treatises documenting the material remnants of white supremacy's intellectual and political life, transmitted racist antebellum ideology into the American present through the 1970s.

Mirca Madianou

Professor in the Department of Media and Communications
Goldsmiths, University of London

Mirca Madianou's research examines the social uses and consequences of communication technologies in a transnational and comparative context. My work makes theoretical and substantive contributions to the areas of migration, disaster recovery, humanitarianism and their intersection with digital technology. She has directed two ESRC grants: Humanitarian Technologies and Migration, ICTS and transnational families which have led to several publications on the social consequences of new communication technologies among marginalised and migrant populations.  Her approach is ethnographic and comparative, focusing on the asymmetrical and gendered relationships between countries in the so-called global South (such as the Philippines) and the UK from the point of view of the individuals concerned. More broadly, this ethnographic research serves as the basis for more theoretical writings on media technologies, communication and social change. She is the author of Mediating the Nation: News, Audiences and the Politics of Identity (2005) and Migration and New Media: Transnational Families and Polymedia (2012 with D. Miller) as well as editor of Ethics of Media (2013 with N. Couldry and A. Pinchevski). From May 2017 she will be Chair of the Philosophy, Theory and Critique division of the International Communication Association (ICA).