Joshua Aiken

Policy Fellow at the Prison Policy Initiative 

Joshua Aiken is currently the Policy Fellow at the Prison Policy Initiative and his academic research has
focused on the impact of displacement and criminalization on the black freedom struggle. He received an M.Sc. in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and M.St. in American History from the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and graduated summa cum laude with his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis where he studied American Culture Studies and Political Science.


Michael Allen

University College Coordinator

Lecturer, American Culture Studies

Senior Lecturer, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Sam Fox School

Washington University in St. Louis

The work of Michael R. Allen encompasses architectural history, cultural geography, historic preservation and political activism. Allen works both as a scholar and historic preservation practitioner, drawing connections between both worlds. His work explores the ways in which the built environment displays legible power relationships, economic histories and latent ideologies. Allen currently holds appointments as Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Lecturer in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.Allen also directs his own consultancy, the Preservation Research Office, which has undertaken cultural heritage preservation projects in St. Louis and across the Midwest since its founding in 2009.


Iver Bernstein

Professor, Department of History

Professor, African and African American Studies

Professor, American Culture Studies

Director, American Culture Studies Program

Washington University in St. Louis

 Iver Bernstein is Professor of History and Director of the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis.   He is the author of The New York City Draft Riots:  Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War (Oxford), and has published widely on the traumatic dimensions of race, slavery and war in the 19th-century US.   He is nearing completion of a book-length study of the disintegration of the American Union and the coming of the Civil War that explores the meaning and roots of the staggering violence of the war, titledStripes and Scars:  How Americans Came To Fight a Bloody Civil War (also to be published by Oxford).


Patrick Burke

Head of Musicology

Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology

Washington University in St. Louis


David Cunningham

Professor of Sociology

Washington University in St. Louis

David Cunningham is Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. His current research focuses on the causes, sequencing, and legacy of racial and ethnic contention, and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. His latest book, Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era's Largest KKK, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013 and served as the basis for a PBS American Experiencedocumentary of the same name earlier this year. A recipient of Brandeis University’s Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer '69 and Joseph Neubauer Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring, he has directed a number of community-based student programs that have provided research support for restorative justice efforts focused on the legacy of racial violence. 


John Early

Lecturer, College of Art

Washington University in St. Louis

John Early is a Lecturer in the College of Art at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as the Director of Portfolio Plus, a pre-college summer program in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. A multidisciplinary visual artist, Early uses a language of marks and fragments to foster new encounters with ordinary aspects of daily lived experience. Among his primary research interests are conceptual approaches to drawing, the poetics of the everyday, and the relationship between mark-making and rootedness to place. Early’s recent projects include participation in MetroScapes—a public art program enhancing the environment at bus shelters throughout the MetroBus system in Missouri and Illinois—and the Memory Market, a collaborative performance held in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, that explored the potential of common objects to serve as vehicles of remembrance and meaning. Early holds an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, an MA from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a BA from University of Virginia.


Douglas Flowe

Assistant Professor, Department of History

Washington University in St. Louis

Douglas Flowe's research is primarily concerned with themes of criminality, vice, leisure, and masculinity, and understanding how they converge with issues of race, class, and space in American cities. His current book project, entitled “Tell the Whole White World": Crime, Violence, and Black Men in Early Migration New York City, 1890-1917 (under contract, University of North Carolina press in the “Justice, Power, and Politics” series) analyzes illegality, criminalization, and defensive and offensive violence in the lives of black migrant men in the urban North.

This work is done through an exploration of the many complex ways in which criminality figured into their responses to the alienation, economic and political isolation, and public racial violence they experienced after migration. It also seeks to understand how black lawful conduct became illegal under the watchful gaze of white Progressives and civic leaders. In doing so, it applies the methodology of critical race theory in analysis of urban, legal, and gender history, and clarifies the causal relationship between black crime and civic and reform institutions in cities. Ultimately, Tell the Whole White World inserts the racial and gendered dynamic of crime into academic discussions of evolving notions of black masculinity and historical dialogue about campaigns for citizenship, civil rights, and self-determination.

Flowe is a graduate of the History program at the University of Rochester where he also served as the Graduate Recruitment and Retention Specialist for the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity, a McNair Scholar Advisor, a GEM Representative, and the chair of the Executive Committee for the New York Graduate Admissions Professionals (NYGAP). Before joining Washington University’s History Department, he was the Postdoctoral Fellow of Inequality and Identity in the American Culture Studies program from 2014-2016.


Nicole Fox

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Research and Evaluation Consultant, Prevention Innovations Research Center

University of New Hampshire

Nicole Fox, PhD is an assistant professor in the sociology department at University of New Hampshire (UNH). Her current book project Rebuilding from the Ashes: The Everyday Complexities of Memory and Reconciliation After the Rwandan Genocide, focuses on the role of collective memory and reconciliation after mass atrocity. This work has been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, among others. Her scholarship has been published in Journal for Scientific Study of Religion, Societies without Borders, Journal of Health and Illness, and the International Journal of Sociology of the Family. At UNH she teaches courses on qualitative methods, sociological analysis, and gender.


Matthew Fox-Amato

Assistant Professor, History Department

University of Idaho

Matthew Fox-Amato is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Idaho. A cultural historian of the United States, he is presently completing a book manuscript titled Slavery, Photography, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (under contract with Oxford University Press). This book explores how photography reshaped the culture and politics of slavery. He received a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in history, with a certificate in visual studies, from the University of Southern California. From 2014-2016, he was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis.


Patty Heyda

Associate Professor of Urban Design and Architecture 

Washington University in St. Louis

Patty Heyda studies particularities of contemporary redevelopment producing uneven landscapes in U.S. urban contexts, Patty’s erasure urbanism work uses drawing research, writing and design to illuminate political and economic factors underlying decision-making in under-served St. Louis, Missouri sites. This work is published in the U.S. and internationally with a forthcoming chapter in Architecture is All Over (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2017). Heyda’s recent book Rebuilding the American City (Routledge, 2015) co-authored with David Gamble, provides a detailed cross-section of processes and strategies American cities use to implement redevelopment amid ongoing challenges. Patty Heyda has a Master of Architecture II (with Distinction) from Harvard University and a Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Tulane University.


Jonathan Karp

Harvard University

Jonathan Karp graduated from Washington University in 2015 and is currently a PhD student in Harvard's Program in American Studies.


Heidi Kolk

Associate Director, American Culture Studies

Assistant Director, Assessment

Lecturer of American Culture Studies and English Literature

Washington University in St. Louis

Heidi Kolk (Associate Director of American Culture Studies, Washington University in St. Louis) is a literary historian and visual artist by training, and a cultural historian in daily practice. Her research and teaching explore a range of topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American culture, including museums, tourism, national heritage, consumer culture, and the politics of memory.  She recently completed a book entitled Taking Possession: Life, Death and the Politics of Memory in a St. Louis Row House, a cultural history of the Campbell House Museum, and 1850s mansion spared from demolition and transformed into a site of heritage at a time when the city was pursuing widespread clearance of ‘slum’ housing and riverfront industrial sites.Taking Possession argues that politics of memory at the Campbell House are a story of vaunted pride joined at the hip with a story of erasure, nostalgia, and shame. In order to possess the site as a living historical site, its fierce preservers have had to perform radical acts of dispossession that, by extension, represent something of St. Louis's often-tortured relationship with its past, present, and future.

Heidi’s current research explores the inverse of heritage work at landmarks such as the Campbell House: sites associated with social and political failure, collective shame and humiliation, many of which have been subjected to ongoing campaigns rectification or erasure. This work has informed her work as co-convener of a faculty seminar sponsored by the Center for Humanities on “Memory and Violence” as well as her teaching of “Ground Zero: The Landscape of Memory in U.S. Culture” (2015, with Michael R. Allen). These collaborations have profoundly shaped her approach to the study of material culture, memory and the politics of heritage, and she looks forward to learning from her various MWMS contributors.


Benjamin Looker

Benjamin Looker works in the American Studies department at Saint Louis University. He earned his American Studies doctorate from Yale University, and he teaches and writes in areas including urban history and studies, postwar U.S. cultural history, Cold War culture, and American music. Most recently, Ben is author of A Nation of Neighborhoods: Imagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America (University of Chicago Press, 2015), which examines competing ways in which the city neighborhood has been imagined in twentieth-century U.S. arts, popular culture, and political discourse. The study is recipient of the John Hope Franklin Publication Prize (American Studies Association), the Kenneth Jackson Award (Urban History Association), the Lawrence Levine Award for cultural history (Organization of American Historians), and the Missouri Conference on History Book Award (State Historical Society of Missouri).


Laurie Maffly-Kipp

Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor

Washington University in St. Louis

Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp received her bachelor’s degree in English and religious studies from Amherst College and her Ph.D. in History from Yale University. She joined the faculty at Washington University as a professor in the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics in 2013 after teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for twenty-four years. Professor Maffly-Kipp’s primary research interests are in American religious and cultural history, race and religion, and transnational approaches to the U.S. religious experience. She has published numerous books, book chapters and articles on topics including religious life in Gold Rush California, Mormonism in the American West and Pacific Basin, missions to Chinese immigrants, and American scriptures. Her most recent book was a study of the history and development of sacred narratives by African Americans from the late eighteenth century to the Harlem Renaissance, for which she received the James W.C. Pennington Award from the University of Heidelberg. She has edited numerous collections of historical documents and scholarly essays, and has served on advisory boards for over a dozen scholarly journals and documentary projects.


Jasmine Mahmoud

Postdoctoral Fellow in Inequality and Identity, American Culture Studies 

Washington University in St. Louis

Jasmine Mahmoud is the Postdoctoral Fellow in Inequality and Identity in the Program in American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and an Assistant Editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. She investigates contemporary performance practices (such as experimental theater and performance art) that take place in urban margins, especially in the early 21st century U.S. city. She examines how aesthetics, race, and policy influence geographies, particularly processes of neighborhood change such as displacement, dispossession, and gentrification. She also writes and teaches about black aesthetics, acts of citizenship, and urban ethnography.


Eric Sandweiss

Chairman, Department of History

Professor and Carmony Chair, Department of History

Editor, Indiana Magazine of History

Adjunct Professor, Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology

Department of History

Indiana University Bloomington


Christina Simko

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Williams College

Christina Simko is an assistant professor of sociology at Williams College. Her book, The Politics of Consolation: Memory and the Meaning of September 11 (Oxford UP, 2015), examines how the events of September 11, 2001, were mediated through previous episodes of national suffering and traces the struggle to define the meaning of September 11 in foreign policy discourse, commemorative ceremonies, and the contentious redevelopment of the World Trade Center. The book received an Honorable Mention for the Best Book Prize from the American Sociological Association’s Culture Section, and research from this project has also appeared in the American Sociological Review. Currently, she is working on a project that examines U.S. media and political representations of the 1945 atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She teaches courses on theory, culture, media, politics, and memory.


Denise Ward-Brown

Associate Professor of Art

Washington University in St. Louis

Denise Ward-Brown is a filmmaker and an Associate Professor of Art at the Sam Fox School of
Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis. Her films frequently explore African
and African-American themes and history. Currently, Ward-Brown is producing and directing
projects with funding from the Missouri Humanities Council and a 2016 Ferguson Seed Grant
Fund. In 2015, she received three grants: 1] an Artists Fellowship from The Regional Arts
Commission of St. Louis (RAC) and 2] a Faculty Creative Activity Research Grant for travel to
the 2015 Creative Time Summit In Venice, Italy & the 56th International Art Exhibition of la
Biennale di Venezia. Ms. Ward-Brown designed a new course entitled ‘Tale of Two Cities:
Documenting Our Divides’ with the funds from 3] The Divided City Initiative, a partnership with
the Washington University’s Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences and the Mellon
Foundation. This faculty-collaborative grant allowed students to successfully interact and film
social justice organizations throughout the city.

Ms. Ward-Brown received a BFA, cum laude, from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and
an MFA, summa cum laude, from Howard University. Ward-Brown began making documentary
videos in West Africa as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1997-98. Her first video subjects include
numerous traditional celebrations in Ghana for which she received the Second-Place
Documentary Award at the Abuja International Film Festival, Nigeria (2004) and the Project
Series ‘03-’04 Grant from The Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis (2003). Ward-Brown
received production grants for her award-winning video documentary Jim Crow to Barack
Obama (JC2BO), including a CALOP grant in 2011, a Kresge Arts in St. Louis Grant and a
Faculty Research Grant. In 2013, she received an Artists Support Grant from RAC.