David Sanchez, AMCS Director
David A. Sánchez received his Ph.D. in Early Christianity and Christian Origins from Union Theological Seminary (New York City). He currently serves as the President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States and the Book Review Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. His research interests include the analysis of Chicana/o religious murals, ancient and modern apocalyptic sects, and Latin-American burial practices. His publications include: From Patmos to the Barrio: Subverting Imperial Myths (Fortress Press, 2008); “Casting Stones at the Empire: De-Constructing Biblical Discourse through a Latino/a Lens,” in Semeia Studies" (2012); and "Minjung Theology and Post Colonialism,” in Reading Minjung Theology in the Twenty-First Century: Selected Writings by Ahn Byung-Mu and Modern Critical Responses (2013).
James A. Bany earned his B.A. in Sociology with minors in Religion and Psychology from Pacific Lutheran University and both his M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from University of California, Irvine. His research and teaching interests focus on immigration, race/ethnicity, social psychology, and qualitative methodology. His doctoral research examines identity and civic engagement in a multi-generational Latino civil rights organization in Southern California. Dr. Bany has co-authored an article on the appeal of Megachurches in Orange County and an article on the gendered nature of political participation outcomes for African Americans. He recently finished a project examining the role of gendered racial stereotypes in the dating preferences of college students.
Brandon Seto earned his B.A. in History from Loyola Marymount University and both his M.A. and Ph.D. in U.S. Political History from UC Santa Barbara. His research areas include U.S. Foreign Relations with East Asia and International History. He is particularly interested in the influence of race and religion on the American foreign and domestic policy realms.
Maria Theresa Valenzuela
Maria Theresa Valenzuela earned her B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Notre Dame. Her teaching and research interests focus on issues of authenticity as they pertain to nation, language, race, class and gender. Her doctoral research evaluates how certain representative texts of the Philippines, U.S., Cuba and Puerto Rico demonstrate shifting notions of "authentic" national narratives and the ways in which translation can complicate notions of authenticity. Her current project focuses on translation's fraught relationship to copyright laws and the global consumptive communities that transgress these laws through the Internet phenomenon of scanlations.
Danielle Borgia earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature with an emphasis in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her interests in postcolonial and transnational feminisms, Latin American Studies, Hemispheric American Studies and Latino Studies have led to her current book project linking feminist subtexts in women-authored Gothic and Fantastic stories of the Americas.
Ulia Gosart (Popova) holds a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her research focuses on the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and political participation. She has served on Russia’s indigenous umbrella organization for several years as a U.N. representative working on issues related to policy development for the protection of traditional knowledge. Her current research examines the history of indigenous participation at the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO IGC). Ulia collaborates closely with the UCLA American Indian Studies Center.
Julia Ornelas-Higdon received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Southern California. Her doctoral research explores California’s nineteenth-century wine industry as a site of conquest and racialization. Her broader research interests include agricultural and labor history, the American West, and histories of colonialism and imperialism.
Rana Sharif is completing her Ph.D. in Women's Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include Arab and Arab American racializations post 9/11, cross-cultural analysis of occupation and militerization, and the intersection of gender, race, class and power.
Gabe Veas earned his B.A. in Communications with a Media emphasis from Azusa Pacific University, his M.A. in Biblical Studies & Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his Ed.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California. His interests include American Studies, Mentoring, and Community Development. His research examines protégé development, youth initiated mentoring, and how to empower students to carry out community engagement effectively both domestically and internationally.