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UW-Madison Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Faculty Fellows

Portrait image of Falina Enriquez outdoors near a bridge wearing a black shirt and sunglasses
Falina Enriquez
Anthropology; Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies (LACIS), UW-Madison
Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2018-2019)
Musical Scales of Belonging in Recife, Brazil

My book is an ethnography about how a range of musicians, cultural promoters, and bureaucrats, in Recife, Brazil, use music to imagine the social order and their place(s) within it. These processes are especially audible in Recife, a city whose reputation as a musically diverse place has long been perpetuated in popular media and by (inter)national scholarship. Over the past 15 years, state and municipal government institutions have intensified this reputation by sponsoring local music—from folk genres to cosmopolitan pop—to enhance Recife 's economy, promote democracy and multiculturalism, and bolster citizens' pride. By comparing how various actors negotiate the discourses of state sponsorship as they perform, consume, and evaluate music, I reveal music is not only embedded in social life, but it is also a medium through which individuals, groups, and institutions, (re)produce, accommodate, and challenge the structures of power upon which the social order is based. Furthermore, the book reveals how people with varying relationships to state sponsorship and the Brazilian state, more broadly, are using music to redraw social boundaries and fashion new subjectivities. Consequently, these actors are situating themselves within multiple, and often, intersecting musically-mediated scales of belonging, including the local, regional, national, and global.

Falina Enriquez is an assistant professor of Anthropology at UW-Madison. As a cultural and linguistic anthropologist, her research examines artistic and communicative practices as constitutive elements of social life. She received her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Chicago in 2014 and has received grants from organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Program. As a faculty member at UW-Madison since 2015, she has been expanding her research on music and state sponsorship in Recife, Brazil. While in residence at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, she will complete her book manuscript, tentatively entitled, “Musical Scales of Belonging in Recife, Brazil."

Portrait image of Damon Chandru Sajnani wearing a tan/yellow jacket in front of a dark blue wall.
Damon Chandru Sajnani
African Cultural Studies, UW-Madison
Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2018-2019)
The African HipHop Movement: Youth Culture and Democracy in Senegal

The book demonstrates how Senegalese artist-activists are mobilizing HipHop to impact formal politics on an unprecedented scale. My core argument is that Senegalese rappers organically deploy an anticolonial notion of democracy that challenges orthodox democratic theory’s framing of possibilities. Through an emphasis on participatory democracy and global justice, they implicitly challenge the compatibility of democracy with economic liberalism and the contemporary world order. I construct an interdisciplinary account of how Senegalese artist-activists mobilize HipHop’s aesthetic power and association with the Black freedom struggle to contest both narrow nationalist and fatalistic globalization narratives by forging a HipHop Africanity that is simultaneously diasporic and indigenous, racially conscious and anti-essentialist.

Artist, activist, and academic Damon Sajnani is a HipHop polymath. He is Harvard’s inaugural Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow, and assistant professor of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has authored numerous scholarly chapters and articles on global HipHop and social justice and released several critically acclaimed albums under the moniker, “Professor D.” His primary research interests include Africana cultural studies and critical theory, postcolonialism and decolonization, social stratification and political philosophy, and critical HipHop studies. He is currently preparing his tenure manuscript, The African HipHop Movement: Youth Culture and Democracy in Senegal.

Portrait image of Cherene Sherrard-Johnson outdoors
Cherene Sherrard-Johnson
Sally Mead Hands-Bascom Professor of English, UW-Madison
Senior Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2017-2021)
Mapping Blackness: An Intimate Cartography of the Archipelagic Diaspora

I’m researching and writing a trio of essays that consider belonging and global black identity through the theoretical frameworks of Island and Archipelagic American studies. The first follows nineteenth-century abolitionist life-writer Mary Prince’s journey from slavery to emancipation through colonial Bermuda’s archipelagic plantocracies; the second explores the significance of salt as commodity, practice, and pan-Caribbean archetype; the final takes up the notion of sanctuary from an ecological, legal, and experiential perspective. These essays will ultimately fold into a larger book project addressing the flow of insurgency, of anti-colonial thought and action, manifest in the literature of the Americas through the hybridized bodies of black women.Some of the broader questions I address include: how is racial difference elided as we reconfigure the studies of early American literature or Afro-Caribbean literature along transnational lines? Why do particular locations, like Haiti, occupy a fractious space within the global South? In this book, “new world" literary mappings intertwine with personal inquiry and critical investigations about the nature of belonging, identity and indigeneity as I follow an elastic circuit that unveils relationships between fragile environments, dynamic objects, and the human/nonhuman beings that circulate through the archipelagic diaspora.

Cherene Sherrard-Johnson is the Sally Mead Hands-Bascom Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches nineteenth and twentieth century American and African American literature, cultural studies, and feminist theory.  Recent publications include: A Companion to the Harlem Renaissance (Wiley, 2015), Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color (Rutgers, 2012), “Insubordinate Islands and Coastal Chaos: Pauline Hopkins Literary Land/Seascapes” in Archipelagic American Studies (Duke, 2017), and Vixen, a poetry collection (Autumn House Press, 2017).

Portrait image of Rachelle Winkle-Wagner wearing a purple shirt in front of a black and white decorated wall.
Rachelle Winkle-Wagner
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, UW-Madison
Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellow (2018-2019)
A History of Black Women in Higher Education from 1954-2014

During my time in the Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity Fellowship I am finishing a book manuscript which is a historiographical project about how have Black women survived and thrived in and beyond higher education amidst formidable challenges. In the book, entitled, The Chosen We: Black Women’s Oral Histories of Self and Group Empowerment in and Beyond Higher Education, I compare oral histories from 101 Black women who were living in five metropolitan areas in the United States and who graduated college across a 60-year time period, from 1954-2014. I argue that Black women used their individual and collective identities to persevere, amidst significant racism and sexism, through and beyond higher education across multiple decades and geographic spaces.

Rachelle Winkle-Wagner is an Associate Professor in the Education Leadership and Policy Analysis department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on how students of color survive and thrive in college. She is an author or editor of six books including, The Unchosen Me: Race, Gender, and Identity Among Black Women in College (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009) and Diversity and Inclusion on Campus: Supporting Racially and Ethnically Underrepresented Students (with Angela Locks, Routledge Press, 2014). Her work also has been published in journals such as Review of Educational Research, Review of Higher Education, and The Journal of Higher Education.