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Graduate Students

Christina Ayson Plank is a scholar, educator, and curator based in San Jose, California. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on migration, labor, and contemporary art of the Philippines and its diaspora. Her doctoral dissertation is tentatively titled “Counter-Production as Resistance: Contemporary Art of the Filipino Labor Diaspora.” She received an M.A. in Asian American Studies at UCLA and a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art at Marist College. Christina is also a graduate student researcher for the campus wide research initiative Watsonville is in the Heart (WIITH). She serves as a co-director of the WIITH Digital Archive. She is also the head curator for the WIITH art and history exhibition "Sowing Seeds: Filipino American Stories from the Pajaro Valley" which will open in April 2024 at the Santa Cruz Museum of the Art and History.
Land-based contemporary art practices; critical settler studies; the politics of land, including land rights and land use management; liberalist property law; extractive capitalism and environmental justice.
exhibition/museums; critical curatorial studies; contemporary Oceanic art; colonial history, race, and culture; archive interventions
Contemporary art, with an emphasis on Hong Kong and Sino-Southeast Asia; aquatic media; theories of cultural identity; Sinophone cinema; diaspora studies; colonial histories in Asia; Global Asias and its popular culture
histories of photography; Indigenous and settler-colonial studies; intersections between infrastructure, legal geographies and landscapes
Miguel Fernandez's research and teaching explore youth culture, identity representation in media, and skateboarding visual culture.
Visual aspects of devotional practices in Roman Catholic traditions with a focus on ex-voto practices of Italy, Spain and Mexico
Sarah’s dissertation is a critical history of street art’s intersection with the internet, from tracing its mediation from the material to the digital to considering the internet's 'genre-effect' standardizing visual culture online and its convergence with the contemporary art world. She is also co-founder and co-managing editor of DiSCo (Digital Studies Collective) Journal.
I'm writing an inter-disciplinary dissertation that tells the story of neoliberalism in Lebanon from waste.
Theories of empire and the ways in which ethnic minorities maintained their identity under periods of colonization localized in Indigenous and Spanish empires in the Andes.
19th and 20th century US built environment, public art and architecture, schools and educational institutions, play, childhood, urban and community planning, social practice, community-based art movements, alternative educational spaces
Interest in the cultural matronage of Late Antique, Byzantine, and Medieval royal women.
Aaron Samuel Mulenga, area of study includes contemporary art of Africa, post-colonial theory and the roles that museums play in shaping cultural narratives. Aaron is a multi-disciplined artist with a keen interest in sculptural forms and installation.
My current research focuses on the visual culture (contemporary art, architecture & mass media) of the Arctic, particularly Svalbard Norway, and its geopolitical implications for global collective memory
Islamic art, material culture, performing arts and gender in Southeast Asia
Cultural memory, trauma, and identity/postidentity (particularly contemporary Jewish American identity and the Holocaust); embodiment and performance; temporal/spatial relations; visual lexicons.
Ecology and the nonhuman in contemporary art, ecomedia, emerging media, documentary film, animation, virtual reality, feminist theory, landscape studies, contemporary art of the Americas, cultural memory, postcolonialism, political theory.
Research interests: visual culture of Africa and its diasporas; French colonialism; memory and the archive(s) of slavery; performance; textiles, clothing and the body.
commercial society and consumer culture; globalization; contemporary art; authorship and originality; labor; fashion; digital culture; curatorial studies
Material and visual cultures of Oceania, Pacific Studies, environment and ecology, Indigenous studies, Native American material and visual culture, settler colonial history
Zoe Weldon-Yochim's research and teaching examine U.S. art and visual culture, contemporary art, the theories and methods of ecocriticism, and nuclear politics. Her research has been supported by the Henry Luce Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.
Visual culture of environmental violence, toxicity and contamination, settler colonialism, artists' methods, eco-cinema, environmental documentary, speculative fiction(s), film / video / screen-based media, surveillance, maps and cartography