Meet the Co-Directors

Constance Chen, Associate Professor of History

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Constance Chen is an associate professor of history at Loyola Marymount University. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA and specializes in Asian American and U.S. histories. Her research interests include transpacific exchanges, empire and colonialism, comparative racial and gender discourses, and the politics of visual culture. Chen's work has appeared in the Journal of Asian American Studies, the Journal of American Studies, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era as well as other journals and edited volumes. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew Mellon Foundation, among others, in support of her research. One of her current projects is a monograph that examines the ways in which travel culture has shaped the development of national and transnational identities, ideologies, and practices in nineteenth- and twentieth-century China, Japan, and the United States.

Deanna Cooke, Clinical Assistant Professor / Director of Engaged Learning

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Deanna Cooke is the Director of BCLA Engaged Learning at Loyola Marymount University. Dr. Cooke is a Community Psychologist who has focused her 15-plus career on conducting and supporting community-based collaborative research. Prior to her role at LMU, Dr. Cooke served for three years at the civil rights and social policy organization, Advancement Project, as Senior Manager and Director of Organizational Learning and Development. Dr. Cooke also spent more than eight years directing community-based research programs for Georgetown University's Center for Social Justice. Throughout her career she has worked collaboratively with a diversity of groups, from community based organizations to school districts, and has conducted both city and school district wide assessments of literacy and schools, as well as program evaluations of youth social development programs, novel teaching pedagogies, public policy change efforts, and public health issues, such as childhood obesity. Further, Dr. Cooke values connecting her faith and her professional work in community change. She helped found Restorations, a faith-based mental health program and the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Educational Development Corporation. In addition to her community-based endeavors, Dr. Cooke researches, teaches and has published on African American racial identity and socialization. Additionally she has designed and led study abroad and educational tours to South Africa, Costa Rica and Panama and is currently designing courses to take place in Cuba and Ghana.

Amir Hussain, Professor and Chair of Theological Studies

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Amir Hussain is Chair and Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he teaches courses on religion. His own particular speciality is the study of Islam, focusing on contemporary Muslim societies in North America. His academic degrees (BSc, MA, PhD) are all from the University of Toronto where he received a number of awards, including the university’s highest award for alumni service. For the Fall semester of 2016, he was on a fellowship to the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California. From 2011 to 2015, Amir was the editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the premier scholarly journal for the study of religion. He is President-elect of the American Academy of Religion.

Rachel Washburn, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Health and Society

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Rachel Washburn is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Health and Society Program at Loyola Marymount University. She received her doctorate in medical sociology from the University of California, San Francisco. Rachel’s research explores the politics of knowledge production in the environmental health sciences. She is currently working on a project that examines debates about the human health harms of pesticide exposure in the US during the latter part of the twentieth century. Rachel is also a co-author with Adele Clarke and Carrie Friese on two books on Situational Analysis, a qualitative research methodology. At LMU, Rachel teaches courses on the sociology of health and illness, environmental sociology, and science, technology, and society.