Director's Welcome Message
The Only Lasting Truth is Change
All that you touch
All that you Change
— Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
One of the most profound lessons I have learned from the brilliant writer Octavia Butler is that change is a constant and not something of which we should be afraid. This insight has proved useful over the past two years as I have presided over tremendous changes at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. The Center has both grown and strengthened as we have assembled a superb team of administrative and teaching staff. This past year alone we welcomed three new team members: Dr. Preston Taylor Stone as our new Associate Director of Native American Studies; Raquel Navarro Calara, as our new Academic Programs Coordinator; and Kenia Blanco Álvarez as our new Office and Events Coordinator. They join our Administrative Director Amy Potemski, long-time Finance Assistant Heidi López, Associate Director of Jewish Studies Shaina Hammerman and Associate Director of Asian American Studies Thaomi Michelle Dinh as part of the teaching and administrative staff that keeps the Center going.
Change inevitably involves loss as well as gain. We were sorry to say goodbye to Byron Barahona, our Student Services Specialist, and Nina Dewi Toft Djanegara, our Associate Director of the Technology and Racial Equity Initiative. Both are confronting happy changes in their lives as Nina transitions back to full-time status as a PhD student in Anthropology and Byron explores the joys of study-abroad in Sweden. And yet there is gain! I am happy to announce the hiring of Dr. Bridget Algee-Hewitt as the new Senior Associate Director of the Research Institute. Bridget returns to the Center after a hiatus of several years and will be working with faculty leadership to direct the Technology and Racial Equity Initiative and to develop and manage all the programs related to the Research Institute for CCSRE. I am also thrilled that long-time Stanford staff member Gina Hernandez, who runs the Arts Intensive Program through the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE) and is Director of Community Engaged Learning at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA), will be stepping in as Interim Associate Director of Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies as we search for a permanent person for that position.
These fabulous team members will be key to the continuity of operations at CCSRE as they work with a changing cast of motivated CCSRE-affiliated faculty members—several of whom are rotating back into positions of leadership at the Center this year. I am particularly grateful to Professor José David Saldívar (Comp Lit), who previously served both as Director of the Undergraduate Program and as Faculty Director of the Center and who will be serving as Faculty Director of Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies; to Professor Ramón Saldívar (English and Comp Lit) who previously served as Faculty Director of the Center and who is taking up the important position of Faculty Director of Academic Programs and of CSRE; and to Professor Steven Zipperstein (History), who returns to the helm of Jewish Studies. I am grateful, as well, for the continuing service of other dedicated faculty directors without whom the important work of the Center could not proceed, such as Professor Teresa LaFromboise (Education; Faculty Director of Native American Studies); Professor Steve Sano (Music; Faculty Director of Asian American Studies); and Professor Alfredo Artiles (Education; Faculty Director of the Research Institute).
One of the most consequential changes at CCSRE this year is the promotion to Executive Director of Dr. Annie Atura Bushnell (BA Yale 2011; MA Stanford 2013; PhD Stanford 2019). A scholar of feminist theory and Jewish American literature, Dr. Atura Bushnell will build on and continue her prior work as Associate Director of Academic Programs. In her new position as Executive Director, she will collaborate with CCSRE faculty, staff, and university partners on the Center's wide-ranging portfolio of events, community partnerships, fellowship opportunities, undergraduate and graduate courses, and research networks. Importantly, she will oversee, with the help of Faculty Director Ramón Saldívar, the implementation of one of the most significant changes to occur at CCSRE in our over 25-years of existence—the transformation of the CCSRE core curriculum which is being made possible, in large part, by a generous grant from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and the VPUE.
Octavia Butler’s guidance and my own life experiences have, together, taught me to embrace the changes we face in this world. I look forward to what this new year at CCSRE will bring!
Danily C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor of the Humanities
Professor of English and, by courtesy, of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Burton J. and Deedee McMurtry University Fellow in Undergraduate Education