The Hamilton American studies faculty are active scholars and teachers. Their areas of expertise include 20th-century U.S. history, American modernism, reform and radical movements, the American left, 20th century American ballet and modern dance, and literature and film.
He received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is author of States of Grace: Senegalese in Italy and the New European Immigration, published in 1997. His research interests include culture theory, racial formation, visual culture, Diaspora, invisibility and transnational cultural politics.
An expert on Cleopatra, she has appeared on the BBC's TimeWatch segment on Cleopatra, and was interviewed for The Learning Channel's series, "Rome: Power & Glory." Haley was a contributor to the African American Women Writers Series, 1910-1940 (1995) and has published articles in classical journals such as Historia, Classical World and Classica et Mediaevalia.
Haley was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Washington University-St. Louis in November 2002, and participated in the Oxford Round Table in April, 2003. She spent a month in South Africa in 1999, where she lectured on the classics as a foreign research fellow.
Haley has lectured nationally and internationally on the topic of increasing the representation of students of color in Latin, ancient Greek and classics classrooms. She has also lectured nationally and internationally on her research concerning the role of a classical education in the lives and careers of 19th century college-educated Black women. She published a chapter titled, "Lucian's 'Leaena and Clonarium'" Voyeurism or a Challenge to Assumptions?" in Nancy S. Rabinowitz and Lisa Auanger (eds.), Among Women: From the Homosocial to the Homoerotic in the Ancient World, Austin, TX: University of Texas Press (2002).
Merrill completed her doctoral work in human geography at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2000. She also has a master's degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago, an M.A. in history and education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in philosophy from New York University. Her research examines place, race, identity and the social transformation of Europe in relation to the African Diaspora. A critical human geographer whose theoretical work is grounded in ethnography in Italy, her current research is focused on African diasporic identity and politics, refugees from the Horn of Africa and the emergence of Black Spaces in Italy.
Merrill was the Distinguished Visiting Irwin Scholar in Women’s Studies at Hamilton from 2009-2011 and joined the Africana Studies department faculty in 2011. She is the author of An Alliance of Women: Immigration and the Politics of Race (University of Minnesota, 2006) and has published numerous articles in edited volumes and journals of geography.
Nieves taught in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at the University of Maryland, College Park, from 2003-2008. Nieves completed his doctoral work in architectural history and Africana Studies at Cornell University in 2001.
His co-edited book, ‘We Shall Independent Be:’ African American Place-Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the U.S. (2008), examines African American efforts to claim space in American society despite fierce resistance. Nieves has published essays in the Journal of Planning History; Places Journal: A Forum of Design for the Public Realm; Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies; and in several edited collections, most recently in Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing With Difficult Heritage (2009). He is also associate editor of Fire!!!: A Multimedia Journal of Black Studies, an online journal of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. His digital research and scholarship have also been featured on MSNBC.com and in Newsweek.
Nieves’ scholarly work and community-based activism critically engages with issues of memory, heritage preservation, gender and nationalism at the intersections of race and the built environment in cities across the Global South. In 2010 he received The John R. Hatch Class of 1925 Excellence in Teaching Award.
In her dissertation, Pak traced antiblackness through four key cultural phenomena – lynching, imprisonment, expatriation and the blues. In doing so, she conceptualized an alternate modernity that radically de-configures the autobiographical form so as to critique civil society’s shaky ethical foundation in the afterlife of slavery. In her current research, she situates her work in the interdisciplinary space between black studies, performance studies and queers of color critique. Pak’s teaching interests include black literature and performance, U.S. multi-ethnic and American literatures and feminist theory.
Thompson earned her bachelor's degree in English from Hampton University and her master's and Ph.D. in American studies from Purdue University. She previously served as a visiting scholar at the University of Houston.
Thompson is currently working on her book manuscript, tentatively titled “We Are Fighting for Democracy”: Black Women Activists and the Pursuit of All Things Equal, 1920s-Present. The book reflects her broader research interests in the African American literary tradition, American political discourse, progressive movements and black feminist theory.
She has taught courses on the African diaspora, black women’s activism, black women writers, and black autobiography in the U.S.
Westmaas has published articles in journals and magazines, including Against the Current, Small Axe, Emancipation Magazine, Caribbean Studies, Guyana Art Forum and An Introductory Reader for Women’s Studies in Guyana. He is the co-editor of a UNESCO assisted booklet Guyanese Periodicals: 1796-1996. Westmaas also contributes guest articles to the Stabroek News, one of the national newspapers of Guyana.
His research work for and contributing introduction to the Marcus Garvey Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, Caribbean series project was published by the University of California Press (2011).
Westmaas' other research interests include the history of the newspaper press, pan-Africanism, and the rise and impact of political and social movements mainly in the Anglophone Caribbean.