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Experts in Pop Culture and Politics Join College of Humanities, Social Sciences

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Cal State Fullerton’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences added eight new faculty members to its roster this fall. The scholars’ areas of expertise span American studies, modern languages and literatures, philosophy, political science, psychology, and gender studies.

Ella Ben Hagai

Ella Ben Hagai
Assistant professor of psychology
Ph.D. psychology, UC Santa Cruz; M.Sc. social anthropology, London School of Economics; B.A. psychology, UC Berkeley

Research interests: Intergroup conflict and reconciliation, Israel/Palestine, neoliberalism, queer and trans* studies
Most impactful undergraduate experience: Studying Buddhist psychology with Eleanor Rosch at UC Berkeley
One thing you’d like others to know about you: Incredible teachers and mentors changed my life. I hope to give back some of the support and inspiration I received to my students at Cal State Fullerton.
Favorite film: Anything by Pedro Almodóvar

Joshua DiPaolo

Joshua DiPaolo
Assistant professor of philosophy
Ph.D. philosophy, University of Massachusetts Amherst; M.A. philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.A. philosophy, Cal State Northridge

Research interests: Traditional, social, religious and political epistemology; the relationship between fallibility and rational belief
Most impactful undergraduate experience: I did a series of independent studies with Takashi Yagisawa, professor of philosophy at Cal State Northridge. This one-on-one rigorous training provided a strong foundation for my future studies. 
One thing you’d like others to know about you: I’m a first-generation student who is passionate about helping other first-generation students succeed in college.
Favorite book: “Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do” by Claude Steele

Eric Gonzaba

Eric Gonzaba
Assistant professor of American studies
Ph.D., M.A. history, George Mason University; B.A. history and political science, Indiana University

Research interests: African American history and LGBT culture, politics of pleasure and leisure, digital history
Most impactful undergraduate experience: I completed a study abroad in Ghana, West Africa, while researching AIDS activist propaganda. Additionally, I interned another summer at a women’s rights nonprofit in Cairo, Egypt.
One thing you’d like others to know about you: I’m a major fan of 1960s/1970s Motown and soul music, and my favorite meal is a tub of popcorn with a fountain Coca-Cola.
Favorite film: “The Birdcage” by Mike Nichols

Tala Khanmalek

Tala Khanmalek
Assistant professor of women and gender studies
Ph.D., M.A. ethnic studies, B.A. ethnic studies and French, UC Berkeley

Research interests: Women of color feminisms; feminist science studies; public health history; oral history; critical race and ethnic studies; and law, literature and embodiment
Most impactful undergraduate experience: Taking ethnic studies courses taught by faculty of color and simultaneously participating in movements for social change both on and off campus
One thing you’d like others to know about you: I am a creative writer.
Favorite book: There’s no way I can choose just one favorite book, but the now late Toni Morrison has always been one of my favorite authors.

Latoya Lee

Latoya Lee
Assistant professor of women and gender studies
Ph.D. world-historical sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton; M.A., B.A. sociology, St. John’s University

Research interests: The use of social media by people of color for political organizing, social transformation, resistant possibilities and the making/re-making of value systems
Most impactful undergraduate experience: Learning critical embodied praxis from faculty mentors
One thing you’d like others to know about you: I am a first-generation American-Caribbean.
Favorite books: “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde and “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange

Brian Lovato

Brian Lovato
Assistant professor of political science
Ph.D. political science, UC Santa Barbara; M.A. politics, The New School for Social Research; B.A. political science, California Baptist University

Research interests: Political and critical theory, black and Caribbean political thought
Most impactful undergraduate experience: The “History of California” and “Introduction to Film Studies” classes I took with Stanley Orr opened up a world of possibilities for what counts as a text and what counts as doing theory.
One thing you’d like others to know about you: I’ve played hundreds of shows throughout the country in half a dozen bands over the years.
Favorite film: “Blade Runner”

Celia Martínez-Sáez

Celia Martínez-Sáez
Assistant professor of modern languages and literatures
Ph.D. Iberian and Latin American literatures and cultures, M.A. Iberian studies, The Ohio State University; B.A. English studies, University of Alicante

Research interests: Gender studies, visual culture, performance studies, race and national identity in contemporary Spain
Most impactful graduate experience: My most impactful co-curricular experience happened during graduate school when I had the opportunity to serve as a lead deviser for the “Be the Street” theater project. I was afforded the opportunity to work at Our Lady of Guadalupe Center, a social center for the Hispanic community in Ohio, leading performances emphasizing ideas of place making and human mobility.
One thing you’d like others to know about you: Since I was a child, I loved partaking in live theater. One of my dreams would be to organize a Spanish theater club with students at CSUF.
Favorite book: “Últimas tardes con Teresa” by Juan Marsé

Kristin Rowe

Kristin Rowe
Assistant professor of American studies
Ph.D., M.A. African American and African studies, Michigan State University; B.A. English and Black American studies, University of Delaware

Research interests: Body politics, hair and beauty culture, Black popular culture, feminism(s) and sexuality, cultural studies, social media/new media
Most impactful undergraduate experience: My work on several research and activist projects, as well as some of the close mentorship from professors and friendships with peers that flourished from those projects
One thing you’d like others to know about you: I can’t do it until I’ve had my morning cup of black coffee.
Favorite film: “Juice”