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Faculty Fellows

Since 2017-2018, the Black Studies Project has offered faculty fellowships for faculty at UC San Diego who work in the field of Black Studies, broadly. The BSP Faculty Fellowships are intended to help faculty make significant progress on a major research project, by providing one course release and the opportunity to share their work with an interdisciplinary cadre of colleagues in the field of Black Studies.

2021-2022 Faculty Fellows

Danny Widener

Department of History

Danny Widener teaches Modern American history, with a focus on expressive culture and political radicalism. He began his educational career at the Echo Park-Silverlake Peoples’ Childcare Center. He studied at Berkeley and New York University.  He teaches courses on Cuba, African American History, California, Sport, and Film.  He is a supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.


LaGina Gause

Department of Political Science

LaGina Gause’s research interests are in American politics with a focus on the participation and representation of low income and racial and ethnic minority communities. Her current book project explores legislative behavior in response to protesters in their congressional districts. She demonstrates that legislators are more likely to support protesting groups with lower resource capacity. In other work, she examines how resources and incentives constrain the strategic choices made by candidates running for office, interest groups lobbying the federal government, and legislators responding to the participation and public opinion of constituents of disparate races, ethnicity, and income levels.

Before joining the department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego as an assistant professor, she was a Democracy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. She received her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Political Science from the University of Michigan, her M.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, and her B.A. in Political Science from Howard University.


2019-2020 Faculty Fellow

Shaista Patel

Ethnic Studies Department

Shaista Patel joined Ethnic Studies Department as a scholar of Critical Muslim Studies in July 2018. She received her PhD in Social Justice Education and graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies from University of Toronto in Aug 2018. Before joining UCSD, Shaista taught courses as a sessional instructor in Sociology and Women and Gender Studies at U of Toronto. Trained as an interdisciplinary scholar, her primary research interests include diverse fields such as Critical Muslim, Transnational, Critical Indigenous, South Asian and Black feminist studies. Her past and future publications traverse discrepant spatialities and temporalities in order to re-examine what we know and have yet to learn about entanglements of bodies, colonialism, race, gender, religion, caste, capitalism, and relations of labor. She is primarily interested in teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in critical Muslim studies, decolonial theory, questions of solidarity (from Palestine, North America to Kashmir), and cultural and social movements with special emphasis on questions of non-Black, non-Indigenous people of color complicity in settler colonialism. Her work has appeared as book chapters from Palgrave Macmillan and UBC Presses. She’s also published articles in Theory & Event, Feral Feminisms (as co-editor of an issue) and Cultural studies (forthcoming).

2018-2019 Faculty Fellow

Sarah Hankins

Department of Music

Dr. Hankins is trained as an ethnomusicologist, with research interests in sound studies of conflict in the globalizing metropolis, Afro-diasporic popular music, history of technology, music and gender, and sonic dimensions of clinical psychoanalysis. Her articles appear in Black Music Research Journal, City and Society, Women and Music, Ethnomusicology Review, and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society; she also reviews new monographs for Popular Music and other journals. Hankins is currently writing a book on musical nightlife and political aesthetics among African refugees and migrants in urban Israel, which is an outgrowth of her 2015 Harvard University doctoral dissertation. She has held teaching positions at Wellesley College, Brown University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. Hankins is the current Co-Chair of the Gender and Sexualities Taskforce (GST) of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and a recipient of the GST's Marcia Herndon Award. Her past fieldwork and research have been funded by the Anna Rabinowitz Fellowship at Harvard's Center for Jewish Studies.

Ongoing projects include ethnographic work with the Black Lives Matter political movement, research on the intersections of sound, violence, and memory, and writing on ethnographic fieldwork ethics. A member of the U.S. Foreign Service from 2002-2009, Hankins served in Tel Aviv, Washington, D.C., and throughout Latin America, winning Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State for her reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a dance music producer and DJ, she has held club residencies in Boston and Tel Aviv, performed at the launch of Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, and collaborated with electronic musicians and performance artists in a wide variety of idioms. Her remix collection Been in the Storm So Long (2009) was independently released in consultation with Smithsonian Folkways.

2017-2018 Faculty Fellow

Hanna Garth

Department of Anthropology

Dr. Garth is a sociocultural and medical anthropologist specializing in the anthropology of food. Her work addresses issues of inequality and structural violence, with regional interests in Latin American, the Caribbean, and the United States.  She currently has active research projects in Cuba and Los Angeles. In Cuba, she has conducted research on household food acquisition practices and the changing Cuban food system.  In Los Angeles, she has been researching the food justice movement and the organizations that work toward increasing healthy food access in low-income areas. Both projects address issues of race and gender-based inequality. 

Dr. Garth is currently working on a book project on household food consumption practices in Santiago de Cuba. She is also developing new research on obesity and related chronic diseases in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. She received her PhD in Anthropology from UCLA in 2014, and an MPH focused in Global Health from Boston University in 2006.  Dr. Garth has been a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Mellon Mays fellow. For more information on Dr. Garth’s research and teaching interests please visit