Slideshow 2020 Contributor Bios


Christian Baker, from Bloomington, Illinois, is graduating with a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in Text & Tradition through the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities program. His interests concern Black American religions, especially as they recognize and respond to the roles of Christianity in Black subjugation, and the transformations these religions undergo as they manifest in popular culture. Next year, Christian will pursue his juris doctor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He would like to thank his Kling and thesis mentor, Dr. Lerone Martin, for his guidance and irreplaceable support as well as the Merle Kling Fellowships cohort for their patience through the process. He also thanks Dr. Tobias Zuern, Dr. Jonathan Fenderson, Dr. Jeffrey McCune, friends, and family for their questions and encouragement. 


Fiona Eckert, from Kansas City, Missouri, is graduating with a degree in Environmental Policy and International Development. Her research seeks to hold accountable corporate and political actors who have unilaterally inflicted environmental injustice on American communities. Moving forward, Fiona plans to pursue environmental policy work, focusing especially on securing equitable energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment. She would like to thank her family and friends for their endless support (and for patiently listening to all of her complaints). She would also like to thank her mentor, Dr. Venus Bivar, for her advice and encouragement. 



Tanvi Kohli is graduating with a degree in International and Area Studies with minors in History and South Asian Languages and Civilizations. Tanvi is invested in conducting inder-disciplinary research at the nexus of critical ethnic studies, cultural studies, socio-cultural anthropology, and history. Broadly, her research interests center on race, affect, transnationality, and global flows of power. She hopes to continue producing research in the scholar-activist tradition for those both outside and inside of academia. Tanvi would like to thank her faculty mentor Dr. Chandra as well as Drs. Wanzo and Anderson and the students of the Kling Fellowship for their advising and support. 



Lopaka O’Connor, from Papa’ikou, Hawai’i, is graduating with degrees in History and Economics. His research considers the imperial histories of exile and incarceration. His focus on the politics of intermediation between prisoners, deportees, and colonial officials reimagines the prison and penal colony as sites of contestation that defined the bounds of colonial subjecthood. In the future, Lopaka plans to have a positive cash flow, possibly as the leader of a small gang of hobos wandering the post-pandemic wastes of the American Midwest. He would like to thank his fellow Klings and his mentors, Drs. Steven J. Hirsch and Elizabeth Borgwardt, for all their advice and support. 



Monica Unzueta, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is graduating with a degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her commitment to the multiplicity of feminisms, and particularly Global South feminisms, is central to her work. Her research focuses on the work of contemporary Bolivian feminist activists who are, in a variety of ways, engaging in a common struggle against increasing rates of gender-based violence in Bolivia. In the future, Monica plans to continue her work in the field of gender violence prevention. She would like to thank her mentor, Bret Gustafson, and her Kling cohort for their consistent support on this process. 



Erica Williams, from Charlotte, North Carolina, is graduating with a degree in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Psychological & Brain Sciences: Cognitive Neuroscience. Erica contributes to an under researched archive on Black Greek-lettered Organizations (BGLOs) as a rite of process and unique sites of identity formation. Her research focuses on how Black sisterhood and Black womanhood are cultivated and maintained through embodied movements in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Erica would like to continue ethnographic research on BGLOs at the graduate level. She would like to thank her faculty mentor Dr. Rhaisa Williams for her encouragement and support as well as the students of the Kling Fellowship for their thoughtful comments and intellectual community over the last three years.


Jane Yang, from Suzhou, China is graduating with a degree in International and Area Studies with a minor in Anthropology. Her research investigates how the concept of main melody films has changed and how main melody is composed, subverted, and received, specifically in Wolf Warrior II, in the creation of national pride and nationalist sentiments. She would like to thank Professor Zhao Ma, her mentor, for his academic guidance and support throughout the two years of the fellowship. She is also grateful to Dr. Yuqian Yan for her insightful and unreserved advice. She also thanks Dr. Jean Allman, Dr. Wendy Love Anderson, Dr. Shefali Chandra, her entire Kling cohort, and her family and friends for their encouragement. In the future, she plans to continue her study on national identity from an anthropological perspective.