Soo Mee Kim

Jollene Levid

Jollene Levid has been a full-time union organizer for over 19 years. She has been a Lead, a Regional Organizer at United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) for the last 9 years, and was co-coordinator of the 2019 UTLA strike and the 2023 UTLA solidarity strike. Previously, she was a Director and a union organizer and negotiator at CIR/SEIU and SEIU 721 healthcare locals, and for two short campaigns in the Philippines. Jollene was first trained and introduced to the labor movement by participating in the 2002 UCLA Labor Center Summer Internship Program and has organized full-time in Los Angeles since 2004.
Jollene is also a survivor and a feminist. Organizing with women saved her life, and for over 22 years, she has been a member of the anti-imperialist, transnational feminist organization AF3IRM, formerly serving as the National Chairperson and currently serving on its International Committee.
She got her Bachelor of Arts degree at UC Irvine in Political Science and Asian American Studies, where she organized in student movements for Filipino Studies, solidarity with workers on strike, and against the war. She received her Masters of Social Work from USC, with a concentration on Community Organization, Policy, Planning, and Organization. She was an inaugural UCLA Labor Movement Fellow in 2023.

Albert Kochaphum

Albert Sitipong Kochaphum holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from UCLA and a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from San Francisco State University. From 2014 to 2021, he served as the Campus GIS Coordinator at UCLA, working on various research groups such as the Million Dollar HoodsUCLA Hate Crime Map, and the Mapping Asian American Political Potential project. He currently works at Los Angeles Metro, focusing on open data and real-time transit mapping projects.

Kochaphum currently volunteers as the Academic Lead for the United Nations Smart Maps group. He has also previously volunteered with organizations like StreetsForAll, creating a bot to tweet about traffic accidents.

Since 2021, he has been teaching courses on Web Development and GIS for Social Change. Kochaphum has been a speaker at the FOSS4G North America conference, the premier open geospatial technology and business conference, and the FOSS4G Asia 2023 conference in Seoul, Korea, which aimed to support the UN sustainable development goals agenda.

Drawing from his academic and civic engagement work, Kochaphum also works as an indie game developer, focusing on solar punk and post-capitalist games.

Nour Joudah

Nour Joudah is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA and a former President’s and Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Geography at UC-Berkeley (2022-23). Dr. Joudah completed her PhD in Geography at UCLA (2022), and wrote her dissertation Mapping Decolonized Futures: Indigenous Visions for Hawaii and Palestine on the efforts by Palestinian and native Hawaiian communities to imagine and work toward liberated futures while centering indigenous duration as a non-linear temporality. Her work examines mapping practices and indigenous survival and futures in settler states, highlighting how indigenous countermapping is a both cartographic and decolonial praxis. She also has a MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and wrote her MA thesis on the role and perception of exile politics within the Palestinian liberation struggle, in particular among politically active Palestinian youth living in the United States and occupied Palestine.

Loubna Qutami

Loubna Qutami is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Qutami is a former President’s Postdoctoral Fellow from the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (2018-2020) and received her PhD from the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside (2018). Qutami’s research examines transnational Palestinian youth movements after the 1993 Oslo Accords through the 2011 Arab Uprisings. Her work is based on scholar-activist ethnographic research methods. Qutami’s broader scholarly interests include Palestine, critical refugee studies, the racialization of Arab/Muslim communities in the U.S., settler-colonialism, youth movements, transnationalism and indigenous and Third World Feminism.

Jolie Chea

Jolie Chea is an assistant professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at UCLA. Her research draws from the work of historians, Native, Black, Latinx, and Asian American scholars to produce a narrative that situates the emergence of Southeast Asian refugees from the region formerly known as “French Indochina” to the settler state known as the “United States of America.” Her book manuscript traces a critical genealogy of the “refugee” that does not reinforce or reimpose normative understandings of citizenship and belonging but rather, traces the refugee figure back to a history of global racialized warfare and imperialist state violence, where she argues that the incorporation of the Cambodian refugee figure into the US body politic is an extension of ongoing efforts to discipline and contain radical opposition to a US nation-building project founded on war, racism, genocide, and the colonization of racialized bodies. She has spent two decades working alongside various immigrant, women, and queer youth of color communities, and one decade organizing with prison abolition movements in Los Angeles, where she combines social justice activism and scholarship. She is a former UC President’s postdoctoral fellow at UC Riverside, having prior completed her doctoral work in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC and a master’s in Asian American Studies at UCLA.

 

Jean-Paul R. Contreras deGuzman

Dr. deGuzman is an historian of 20th century America with a particular focus on comparative racialization, urban history, Asian Americans, and Los Angeles. His book project, tentatively entitled A Touch of Danger: Southern California’s San Fernando Valley and the Racial Politics of An American Dream, explores how communities of color claimed and contested that iconic American space. The rest of his publications focus on three major areas — comparative race studies of Los Angeles, Asian American communities, and the (inter)discipline of Asian American Studies — and cover topics as varied as the genesis of boba cafes, student activism for Asian American Studies, the evolution of Shin Buddhism in Los Angeles, and various flash points in San Fernando Valley history (from Cold War civil rights activism to the secession movement to the place-based politics of historical memory and preservation).

A past recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, Dr. deGuzman’s pedagogy focuses on project-based learning and requires students to become engaged scholars adept at using historical analysis to understand themselves and the worlds around them. In addition to executing traditional research papers, his students have excavated and built a digital archive of a nearly century-old local Buddhist temple, created an ongoing catalogue of interethnic spaces in Los Angeles on Instagram, and, several successive Asian American history “pop-up” museums in the rotunda of Powell Library. Beyond the Asian American Studies Department, Dr. deGuzman regularly teaches a seminar on race, power, and Los Angeles in the Interracial Dynamics GE Cluster. He is also on the faculty of Windward School in Mar Vista where his greatest honor was getting selected to compete in the Windward Improv Troupe (W!T) annual student/faculty match.

Committed to public history, Dr. deGuzman helped found the Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coalition, a network of civil rights activists, educators, descendants, and residents focused on the preservation of that World War II-era alien detention camp in Sunland-Tujunga. He has been an advisor to the L.A. Office of Historic Preservation and is a member of the archives and historic preservation committee of the Buddhist Churches of America, the oldest and largest Buddhist organization in the U.S.

Dr. deGuzman is an alumnus of the department having completed his M.A. thesis, portions of which were published in Adolescent Behavior Research Studies, under the direction of the late Don T. Nakanishi and Valerie J. Matsumoto.

 

Benjamin K.P. Woo

Benjamin K.P. Woo, M.D., (胡啟贇醫生) is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Asian American Studies at UCLA.  He is the Psychiatry Clerkship Director at the Olive View – UCLA Medical Center.  Also, he is the faculty advisor for the UCLA Asian Pacific Health Corps (APHC), an undergraduate student organization that promotes health awareness in the Asian communities.  Professor Woo directs the Chinese American Health Promotion Laboratory at UCLA.  He has published many articles addressing mental health care disparities amongst Chinese Americans in the fields of emergency psychiatry and geriatric mental health.  Since 2009, he has spoken on 140+ radio shows on mental health topics on the only Cantonese radio station in Los Angeles, KMRB AM1430.

He has received many awards and honors for his work and teaching – among others, the Award for Excellence in Education from the UCLA School of Medicine, the Hoshide Distinguished Teaching Prize in Asian American Studies at UCLA, the Advancing Minority Mental Health Award from the American Psychiatric Foundation, and the Roeske Teaching Award from the American Psychiatric Association where he is also a Distinguished Fellow.

WEBSITE: https://profiles.ucla.edu/benjamin.woo

Cindy Sangalang

Cindy C. Sangalang, PhD, MSW is an assistant professor of Asian American Studies and Social Welfare at UCLA. Drawing on theory and knowledge across disciplines, her program of research examines how race, migration, and culture intersect to shape health and well-being in immigrant and refugee communities, with a focus on Southeast Asian youth and their families. A primary concern involves understanding developmental and health-related effects of racism and war- and migration-related traumas. These scholarly commitments are fueled by a broader goal of informing interventions that promote social justice and health equity.

Professor Sangalang has been a principal investigator on research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). She earned her Ph.D. and Masters in Social Welfare from UCLA and trained as a postdoctoral fellow in health disparities research at Arizona State University. Previously she was on the faculty in Social Work at Arizona State University and California State University, Los Angeles.

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi

Evyn Lê Espiritu Gandhi is an associate professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (Tovaangar).  Her interdisciplinary research engages critical refugee studies, comparative ethnic studies, and transpacific studies. Dr. Gandhi’s first book, Archipelago of Resettlement: Vietnamese Refugee Settlers and Decolonization across Guam and Israel-Palestine (2022), is published open access by the University of California Press. It examines Vietnamese refugee resettlement in Guam and Israel-Palestine as a means to trace two forms of critical geography: first, archipelagos of empire — how the Vietnam War is linked to US military build-up in Guam and unwavering support of Israel; and second, corresponding archipelagos of resistance — how Chamorro decolonization efforts and Palestinian liberation struggles are connected via the Vietnamese refugee figure. This project analyzes what she calls the “refugee settler condition”: the vexed positionality of refugee subjects whose very condition of political legibility via citizenship is predicated upon the unjust dispossession of an Indigenous population. Dr. Gandhi is the co-editor with Vinh Nguyen of The Routledge Handbook of Refugee Narratives (2023). She is also working on a second book-length project, Revisiting the Southern Question: South Korea, South Vietnam, and the US South, which asks: How were South Korea, South Vietnam, and the US South connected during the Cold War period? What are the political, cultural, and affective afterlives of these historical encounters?  You can check out Dr. Gandhi’s films on Vimeo.  She also hosts a podcast, Distorted Footprints, through her Critical Refugee Studies class.