Melina Abdullahmelina_abdullah_portrait is Professor and Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles and immediate past campus president and current Council for Affirmative Action Chair for the California Faculty Association (the faculty union).  Dr. Abdullah earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Political Science and her B.A. from Howard University in African-American Studies. She was appointed to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission in 2014 and is a recognized expert on race relations.  Abdullah is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, with subjects ranging from political coalition building to womanist mothering.  What binds her research together is a focus on power allocation and societal transformation.  She is currently writing a book manuscript that examines Hip Hop and political mobilization.   Professor Abdullah is a womanist scholar-activist – recognizing that the role that she plays in the academy is intrinsically linked to broader struggles for the liberation of oppressed people. Melina serves on the leadership team for #BlackLivesMatter and is committed to ending state-sponsored and police violence towards all people, and especially Black people.  She has been particularly active in the resistance movement that emerged following the killings of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in California as well as in Ferguson, Missouri.  Professor Abdullah emerged as a national leader in the effort to advance ethnic studies.  She is a member of the California State University Chancellor’s Taskforce for the Advancement of Ethnic Studies.  Dr. Abdullah serves on leadership boards for the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI), Black Community, Clergy and Labor Alliance (BCCLA), Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE) and The Reverence Wellness Salon.  She is active in political and community organizing, and frequently delivers public lectures and contributes to radio news programs, print and on-line media.  Melina is a member of the Beautiful Struggle collective and co-hosts/co-produces a weekly radio show of the same name which airs on KPFK (90.7 FM) and streams worldwide.  She blogs at  Melina is a “soccer mama” of three children and resides in Mid-City Los Angeles.







lalo_alcaraz_landscapeLalo Alcaraz is the creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip, “La Cucaracha.” He has produced editorial cartoons for the L.A. Weekly since 1992 and also creates editorial cartoons in English and Spanish for Universal. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Village Voice, the L.A. Times, and many other publications. Mi Ciudad Magazine named him Best Latino Cartoonist in Los Angeles. Alcaraz is a new faculty member at Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and his books include Migra Mouse: Political Cartoons On Immigration (2004).





Jody_Armour_PortraitJody David Armour is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at the University of Southern California.  He has been a member of the faculty since 1995.  Professor Armour’s expertise ranges from personal injury claims to claims about the relationship between racial justice, criminal justice, and the rule of law.  Professor Armour studies the intersection of race and legal decision making as well as torts and tort reform movements.

A widely published scholar and popular lecturer, Professor Armour is a Soros Justice Senior Fellow of The Open Society Institute’s Center on Crime, Communities and Culture.  He has published articles in Stanford Law Review, California Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Boston College Law Review, Southern California Review of Law and Women’s Studies, University of Colorado Law Review, University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Southwestern University Law Review, and Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.  His book Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism: The Hidden Costs of Being Black in America (New York University Press) addresses three core concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement—namely, racial profiling police brutality, and mass incarceration.  He has recently completed a second book that examines law, language, and moral luck in the criminal justice system.  Professor Armour often appears as a legal analyst on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, KPCC, KCRW, and a variety of other television and radio news programs.  At the request of the US Department of State and European Embassies, Professor Armour has toured major universities in Europe to speak about social justice as well as Hip Hop culture and the law.  His work on the intersection of these topicsgrew into a unique interdisciplinary and multimedia analysis of social justice and linguistics, titled Race, Rap and Redemption, produced by USC alumna J.M. Morris, and featuring performance by Ice Cube, Mayda del Valle, Saul Williams, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Macy Gray Music Academy Orchestra, and Mailon Rivera.




Matt Bors is a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist and editor based in Portland, OR. He is the founder of the comics site The Nib and previously worked at Medium. Bors was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for his political cartoons, which appear regularly in The Nation, Portland Mercury, and on Daily Kos and Foreign Policy.

His work has been published by CNN, The Guardian, The Intercept, Upworthy, Village Voice, and dozens of other print and web publications. He is the author of Life Begins at Incorporation and the graphic novel War Is Boring, a collaboration with journalist David Axe.







steve_brodner_portraitAfter getting his BFA at  Cooper Union in 1976, Steve Brodner became editorial cartoonist at The Hudson Dispatch, in Union City, New Jersey. In 1977 Steven Heller, protean art director of The New York Times Book Review, began tapping him for illustration assignments. Eventually Brodner realized he could survive nicely just doing this without ever having a real job. This is called Freelance Illustration. To this day he is still confused about how this works.

In 1979-82 he published his own journal, The New York Illustrated News which was a little like this Bicycle but using a technique called printing. In 1981 he became a regular contributor to Harper’s magazine with the monthly feature, “Ars Politica”, a name thought up by Lewis Lapham, Harper’s editor. In the late 1980’s, as editors realized that Ronald Reagan was less like an Olympian God and more like a rotting puppet, more magazines asked Brodner to contribute regularly. These included the National Lampoon, Sports Illustrated, Playboy and Spy. In 1988 Esquire brought him in as an unofficial house artist. It was there that he did portrait caricature, art journalism and a back-page political cartoon, “Adversaria”. This all served to convince him that illustration was an important part of the mix of any journalistic enterprise. Well . . . isn’t it?  Since then he has worked for most major publications in the US and Canada.






Sharon_Brous_PortraitSharon Brous is the founding rabbi of IKAR, a laboratory for bold, imaginative Jewish practice. She has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading rabbis by Newsweek/The Daily Beast and among the 50 most influential American Jews by the Forward. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Heritage and REBOOT, and is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary. Rabbi Brous also serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and rabbinic advisory council to American Jewish World Service.








burt_landscapeRichard Burt is Professor of English and Loser Studies at the University of Florida. He is the author of Licensed by Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourses of Censorship (1993) and Unspeakable ShaXXXspeares: Queer Theory and American Kiddie Culture (1999). He is the editor of The Administration of Aesthetics: Censorship, Political Criticism, and the Public Sphere (1994). Burt is the co-author, with Julian Yates, of What’s the Worst Thing You Can Do to Shakespeare? (2013) and the author of Medieval and Early Modern Film and Media (2008). He is also the editor of Shakespeares After Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of the Bard in Mass Media and Popular Culture (2006); Shakespeare After Mass Media (2002); And Burt is the co-editor of Enclosure Acts: Sexuality, Property, and Culture in Early Modern England (1994), Shakespeare the Movie: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, and Video (Routledge, 1997) and Shakespeare the Movie, II: Popularizing the Plays on Film, TV, Video, and DVD (Routledge, 2003). Burt held a Fulbright scholarship in Berlin from 1995–96​ and taught at the Free University and the Humboldt University.








Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at UC Irvine School of Law, with a joint appointment in Political Science. Prior to assuming this  position in 2008, he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and before that was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School from 1983-2004, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science.  He is the author of eight books, including The Case Against the  Supreme Court, published by Viking in 2014, and more than 200 law review articles. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court.  Dean Chemerinsky is a graduate ofNorthwestern University and Harvard Law School.  In 2014, National Jurist magazine named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.





dobson_landscapeWill Dobson is Slate magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief and the author of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy, which looks at the struggle between authoritarian regimes and the people who challenge them. Previously, he served as the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. Earlier in his career, Mr. Dobson served as Newsweek International’s Senior Editor for Asia and as Associate Editor at Foreign Affairs.  The Dictator’s Learning Curve, Mr. Dobson’s first book, was selected as one of the “best books of 2012” by Foreign Affairs, the Atlantic, The Telegraph, and Prospect, and it has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, German, Japanese, and Portuguese. The New York Times called it “intelligent and absorbing” and wrote, “Mr. Dobson’s book, with luck, will find its way into the hands of people who aspire to be free.”

During the height of the Arab Spring, the Washington Post commissioned Mr. Dobson to write daily on modern authoritarianism. While in Cairo, Mr. Dobson reported the first account of the Egyptian military torturing female protestors from Tahrir Square.  Mr. Dobson holds a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Masters degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University. He received his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Middlebury College. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.



Flanagan_portraitCaitlin Flanagan is a contributing editor for the Atlantic and a former staff writer for The New Yorker; her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and a wide variety of magazines. She is the winner of a National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism, and her essays have been widely anthologized, including in the Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Magazine Writing series. She is the author of two books, To Hell With All That and Girl Land. Her subjects have included domestic life, fame, adolescence and education. She is currently at work on a series of essays about the private lives of American college students. Flanagan grew up in Berkeley, attended the University of Virginia, and now lives in Los Angeles. Before becoming a writer, she was an English teacher and college counselor at Harvard-Westlake School.



gellman_landscapeBarton Gellman (@bartongellman), a Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winning writer, is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and visiting research fellow at Princeton. He led coverage of the NSA at The Washington Post, based on a classified archive that Edward Snowden gave him in 2013. He is now writing a book for Penguin Press on surveillance and privacy. Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, his previous book, won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a New York Times Best Book of 2008.

The author of seven books on contemporary social issues, sociologist Barry Glassner is President of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. His book, The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things (Basic Books, 2010), is a national bestseller that was named a “Best Book of the Year” by Knight-Ridder newspapers and by the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Described by The New York Timesas “a master at the art of dissecting research,” Glassner has published research studies in The American Sociological ReviewAmerican Journal of Psychiatry, and other leading journals in the social sciences. His articles and commentaries have appeared in newspapers including The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Los Angeles TimesThe Washington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.






Sherman Jackson, holder of the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, has been named for the second time among the worldÕs 500 most influential Muslims by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.

Sherman Jackson is the King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. His research interests begin in classical Islamic Studies, including law, theology and intellectual history, and extend to placing this legacy in conversation with the realities of modern Islam in the West, most especially Muslim communities in America. He is the author of Initiative to Stop the Violence; Sufism for Non-Sufis; and Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering, among other books.






david_kaye_portraitDavid Kaye is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2014, and a Clinical Professor of Law at UC Irvine School of Law. He has enjoyed a varied career in academics and government. He teaches a clinic in international justice, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law at UCI, which he joined in 2012 after several years at UCLA School of Law as the founding director of its international human rights program. From 1995 to 2005, he was a lawyer in the U.S. State Department, where he was, among other things, a principal staff attorney urging the application of the Geneva Conventions after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and a legal counselor at the American Embassy in The Hague. His research and writing have focused on accountability for serious human rights abuses, IHL, and the international law governing use of force. He has also published essays in such publications as Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and The Los Angeles Times.





arlene_keizer_portraitArlene R. Keizer is Associate Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Black Subjects: Identity Formation in the Contemporary Narrative of Slavery (Cornell UP, 2004), as well as essays and articles in a range of journals including African American Review, American Literature, and PMLA. Her current work addresses black postmodernism in literature, performance, and visual art; African American literature and psychoanalytic theory and practice; and representations of the pursuit of freedom in American literature.





nina_khruscheva_portraitNina Khrushcheva is Professor of International Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy at New School University in New York.  She is senior fellow of World Policy Institute  and contributing editor to Project Syndicate: Association of Newspapers Around the World. After receiving PhD from Princeton University, she had a two-year research appointment at the School of Historical Studies of Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and then served as Deputy Editor of East European Constitutional Review at NYU School of Law. She is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of Great Immigrants: The Pride of America Award from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Her articles have appeared in NewsweekThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalThe Financial Times and other publications. She is the author of Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics (Yale UP, 2008) and The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind (Tate, 2014).



Lalami_PortraitLaila Lalami is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist; and The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, and the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award.The Moor’s Account was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles TimesThe NationThe Guardian, the New York Times, and in many anthologies. She is the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship, and is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.






lim_portraitLouisa Lim is an award-winning journalist and the author of The People’s Republic of Amnesia; Tiananmen Revisited, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize, Britain’s top prize for Political Writing.   She is a former NPR and BBC correspondent, who spent more than a decade reporting from China.   She is currently working as the Howard R.Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan.








palumbo-liu_portraitDavid Palumbo-Liu is the Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford.  He is the author most recently of The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age and co-editor of Immanuel Wallerstein and the Problem of the World: Scale, System, Culture.  He is founder of and directs the international human rights website  His the founder and editor of the e-journal Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities.  He is a contributor to SalonThe Nation, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Truthoutthe Los Angeles Review of Books, and other online venues.







tom_lutz_portraitTom Lutz is the founder and editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. His books — Doing Nothing (American Book Award), Crying (New York Times Notable Book), Cosmopolitan Vistas (Choice Outstanding Academic Title), and American Nervousness, 1903 (New York Times Notable Book) — have been translated into 12 languages and have appeared on NYT and LAT bestseller lists. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in New York TimesLos Angeles TimesNew RepublicChicago TribuneDie ZeitZYZZYVAExquisite CorpseSalon.comBlack Clock, and other newspapers and literary venues, as well as in dozens of books and academic journals. He has taught at Stanford University, University of Iowa, CalArts, University of Copenhagen, and now at UC Riverside.





rebecca_mackinnon_portraitRebecca MacKinnon is director of the Ranking Digital Rights project at the New America Foundation, developing a system to rank the world’s most powerful Internet, telecommunications, and other ICT sector companies on free expression and privacy criteria.

Author of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom (Basic Books, 2012) MacKinnon is co-founder of the citizen media network Global Voices Online. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists and was a founding board member of the Global Network Initiative.  She is also a visiting affiliate at the Annenberg School for Communication’s Center for Global Communications Studies.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, MacKinnon was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief from 1998-2001 and Tokyo Bureau Chief from 2001-2003. Since leaving CNN in 2004 she he has held fellowships at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press and Publicy Policy, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, the Open Society Foundations , Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, and the New America Foundation.  In 2007-08 she taught online journalism and conducted research on Chinese Internet censorship at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre, and was a 2013 adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She received her AB magna cum laude from Harvard University and was a Fullbright scholar in Taiwan.

(Photo credit: Brooke Bready)






saree_makdisi_lanscapeSaree Makdisi received his BA in English and Economics from Wesleyan University in 1987 and his PhD from the Literature Program at Duke University in 1993.

Professor Makdisi’s teaching and research are situated at the crossroads of several different fields, including British Romanticism, imperial culture, colonial and postcolonial theory and criticism, and the cultures of urban modernity, particularly the revision and contestation of charged urban spaces, including London, Beirut and Jerusalem. He has also written extensively on the afterlives of colonialism in the contemporary Arab world, and, in addition to his scholarly articles, has also contributed pieces on current events to a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and the London Review of Books.

His most recent book is Making England Western: Occidentalism, Race, and Imperial Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2014). He is also the author of Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation (Norton, 2010); William Blake and the Impossible History of the 1790s (University of Chicago Press, 2003); and Romantic Imperialism (Cambridge University Press, 1998).   He is presently completing work on Reading William Blake, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in 2015, and has started work on a new project on the mapping and unmapping of London in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.




steve_mumford_landscapeSteve Mumford made his first trip to Iraq in April of 2003 with a press pass from, with the intention of documenting the war through drawing. Since then he’s made 5 more trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan, making drawings for artnet and Harpers Magazine. In 2005 he published a collection of drawings from Iraq, Baghdad Journal (Drawn & Quarterly), Other projects for Harpers Magazine include drawing wounded and recovering soldiers at Walter Reed and the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, making drawings on the gulf coast after the BP oil spill, and drawing the military tribunals at Guantanamo.

Steve’s work is represented by Postmasters Gallery in New York City.  Steve teaches at the New York Academy of Art, and lives with his wife Inka Essenhigh in New York City.






Seder 3/25/2013

David N. Myers is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Professor of Jewish History at UCLA. An alumnus of Yale College (1982), Myers undertook graduate studies at Tel-Aviv and Harvard Universities before receiving his Ph.D with distinction in 1991 in Jewish history from Columbia University. He has written widely in the fields of Jewish intellectual and cultural history. His books include Re-inventing the Jewish Past (Oxford, 1995), Resisting History: The Crisis of Historicism in German-Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2003), and Between Jew and Arab: The Lost Voice of Simon Rawidowicz (Brandeis, 2008). Myers has also edited or co-edited eight books, most recently with Alexander Kaye The Faith of Fallen Jews: Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi and the Writing of Jewish History (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2014). He is completing two books at present: “The Stakes of Jewish History: On the Use and Abuse of Jewish History for Life,” based on the 2014 Franz Rosenzweig Lectures at Yale, and a volume on Jewish history for the Oxford University Press Very Short Introduction series. He is also at work on a monograph, with Nomi Stolzenberg, on the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, New York.







jim_newton_landscapeJim Newton is a writer, editor and teacher. A 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times, he last year founded Blueprint, a UCLA-based magazine that covers policy and research in California. He is the author of two critically acclaimed, best-selling biographies, “Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made” and “Eisenhower: The White House Years.” He also co-authored, with former CIA chief and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Panetta’s autobiography, “Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace,” one of the most talked-about books of 2014. Newton teaches in Communcation Studies and Public Policy at UCLA.














brendan_oneill_portraitBrendan O’Neill is editor of spiked, the London-based online magazine, and is also a writer for the Spectator and the Daily Mail. He writes a column for Reason in the US and for the Big Issue in Britain, for which he was nominated as Columnist of the Year at the Press Publishing Awards. Described by the Daily Telegraph as “one of Britain’s sharpest social commentators”, he has written extensively on freedom and autonomy, and has spoken in favour of free speech at Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh and numerous other British universities. He was banned from speaking about abortion at Oxford in 2014, on the basis that he doesn’t have a uterus; his piece about this experience, titled “The Stepford Students” and published in the Spectator, has helped to shape the debate about campus censorship in the UK. His essay “From No Platform to Safe Space: The Corrosion of Enlightenment” will be published in the book “Unsafe Space: The Crisis of Free Speech on Campus” this year.







barry_siegel_portraitBarry Siegel, a Pulitzer Prize winning former national correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, directs the Literary Journalism Program at UC Irvine, where he is a professor of English. He is the author of seven books, including four volumes of narrative nonfiction and three novels set in imaginary Chumash County on the central coast of California. Most currently, he contributed a chapter, “Judging State Secrets: Who Decides–and How?” to the book After Snowden: Privacy, Secrecy, and Security in the Information Age, published by Thomas Dunne Books in May 2015.









Smith_portraitPaul M. Smith is Chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice and Co-Chair of the Media and First Amendment, and Election Law and Redistricting Practices.  He has had an active Supreme Court practice for three decades, including oral arguments in 17 Supreme Court cases involving matters ranging from free speech and civil rights to civil procedure.  Among his important victories have been Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark gay rights case, and Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, establishing the First Amendment rights of those who produce and sell video games.





Snowden_LandscapeEdward Snowden is a former intelligence officer who served the CIA, NSA, and DIA for nearly a decade as a subject matter expert on technology and cybersecurity. In 2013, he revealed that the NSA was seizing the private records of billions of individuals who had not been suspected of any wrongdoing, resulting in the most significant reforms to US surveillance policy since 1978. He has received awards for courage, integrity, and public service, and was named the top global thinker of 2013 by Foreign Policy magazine. Today, he works on methods of enforcing human rights through the application and development of new technologies. He joined the board of Freedom of the Press Foundation in February 2014.





nomi_stolzenberg_portraitNomi M. Stolzenberg joined the USC Law faculty in 1988. Her research spans a range of interdisciplinary interests, including law and religion, cultural pluralism, law and liberalism, and law and literature. A strong proponent of multidisciplinary research and teaching, she helped establish the USC Center for Law, History and Culture, which involves scholars and students from throughout USC’s campus.

Professor Stolzenberg’s scholarly publications are widely respected. Among them are the frequently cited “He Drew a Circle that Shut Me Out’: Assimilation, Indoctrination, and the Paradox of a Liberal Education” (Harvard Law Review), “The Profanity of Law” (in Law and the Sacred, Stanford University Press) and “Righting the Relationship Between Race and Religion in Law” (Oxford Journal of Legal Studies). Her most recent works focus on issues of religious accommodation (“It’s About Money: The Fundamental Contradiction of Hobby Lobby) and political theology (“Political Theology With a Difference” and “Is There Such a Thing as Non-State Law? Lessons from Kiryas Joel.”) She is currently at work on a book about the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel with David Myers, which explores the conundrum of an anti-secular, anti-modern, anti-liberal religious community flourishing in a modern liberal secular state.





Strossen_LandscapeNadine Strossen, the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School, has written,  lectured and practiced extensively in constitutional law, civil liberties and international human rights. From 1991 through 2008, she served as President of the American Civil Liberties Union, and she is currently a member of the ACLU’s National Advisory Council.  Strossen’s other leadership positions have included serving on the Board and Executive Committee of Human Rights Watch, and the National Advisory Board of EPIC (the Electronic Privacy and Information Center).  TheNational Law Journal has named Strossen one of America=s “100 Most Influential Lawyers.”   She has made thousands of public presentations before diverse forums around the world, including on more than 500 campuses, and on many major TV and radio programs.  Strossen’s more than 300 published writings have appeared in many scholarly and general interest publications.   Her book Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights  was named by the New York Times as a “notable book” of the year. Her co-authored book Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex:  Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties was named an Outstanding Book by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.


telnaes_portraitAnn Telnaes creates animated editorial cartoons and a blog of print cartoons, animated gifs, and sketches for the Washington Post. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001 for her print cartoons.










tippett_portraitKrista Tippett created and hosts the Peabody Award-winning public radio program and podcast, On Being, and the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to new conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. In 2013, Krista took her project out of American Public Media and into independent, non-profit production. In 2014, she received the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of ​every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.” Krista grew up in Oklahoma and attended Brown University. She became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin and later received a Masters of Divinity from Yale University. She’s the author of the New  York Times bestselling Einstein’s God — Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit; and Speaking of Faith – Why Religion Matters and How to Talk about It. Her new book, Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, will be published by Penguin Press in April, 2016.





sandra_tsing_lohSandra Tsing Loh is the author of the THE MADWOMAN IN THE VOLVO: MY YEAR OF RAGING HORMONES (2014, W.W. Norton), which was selected as one of the New York Times’ 100 Most Notable Books. It is based on her Best American Essay 2012 on menopause, originally published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her previous book, MOTHER ON FIRE, was inspired by her hit solo show about Los Angeles public education. During that time, she was named one of the 50 most influential comedians by Variety. Her other solo shows include “Aliens in America” and “Bad Sex With Bud Kemp” (both off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre), “Sugar Plum Fairy” (Geffen Playhouse, Seattle Rep), and “I Worry” (Kennedy Center, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville). Her short story, “My Father’s Chinese Wives,” won a Pushcart Prize in 1996, and is also featured in the Norton Anthology of Modern Literature. Loh’s previous books include A Year in Van Nuys, Aliens in America, Depth Takes a Holiday, and a novel, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now, which was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the 100 best fiction books of 1998. She has been a regular commentator on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and on PRI’s “This American Life” and “Marketplace”; currently, her weekly segment “The Loh Life”” is heard on KPCC. Loh’s education includes a BS in physics from the California Institute of Technology, an institution which granted her a Distinguished Alumna Award, its highest honor, and for whom she was the first alumna to give a now-famous commencement speech. Loh’s combining of her communication and science skills continue with her syndicated daily minute “The Loh Down on Science,” which is heard weekly by 4 million people. Excerpts from her solo piano CD Pianovision has been heard on several NPR shows, and she also scored the music for the 1998 Oscar-winning documentary Breathing Lessons. A Pushcart Prize winner, MacDowell Fellow and three-time National Magazine Award nominee, she is a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly and adjunct professor of visual art and science communication at the University of California, Irvine. Sandra’s stand-up show, The B**** Is Back: An All-Too Intimate Conversation, will run at The Broad Stage in July, 2015. Her multi-character play based on The Madwoman in the Volvo will premiere at South Coast Repertory Theatre in January, 2016.





HeadshotsAZHAR USMAN is a Chicago-based standup comedian, actor, writer, and producer. CNN called him “America’s Funniest Muslim,” and Georgetown University identified him as “one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World.” In 2010, standup icon Dave Chappelle–for whom Azhar has opened over 40 times–commented “Azhar Usman is untouchable.” As the co-founder of the international comedy showcase “Allah Made Me Funny–The Official Muslim Comedy Tour,” he has toured over 20 countries, on five continents. His comedy has been profiled/reviewed by over 100 major world media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, TIME Magazine, Al-Jazeera, USA Today, and Fox News.





GENERIC CAPTION UC Irvine Chancellor's professor Jeff Wasserstrom is the chair of the department of history as well as an expert on Chinese history and culture. photo : Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications

Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History at UC Irvine, where he is also a Professor of Law, by courtesy, and Historical Writing Mentor for the Literary Journalism Program.  His most recent books are, as author, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know (2013) and, as editor, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China (forthcoming 2016).  He has written for many magazines (such as Index on Censorship, Slate, and New Left Review) and a wide variety of newspapers, blogs, and journals of opinion.  He regularly travels to Asia, is on the editorial board of Dissent magazine, and is the advising editor for China for the Los Angeles Review of Books.



zunar_landscapeZunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque) is  a political cartoonist from Malaysia. Through his cartoons, he expose corruption and abuse of power committed by the government of Malaysia. His slogan is “How Can I be Neutral, Even My Pen Has a Stand”.  He is now facing nine charges under Sedition Act and facing possible 43 years jail if found guilty. He was detained and locked behind bars twice – the first time was on September 2010 for two days and recently on the 10th of February 2015 for three days.  Five of his cartoon books have been banned and his office has been raided a few times and thousands of his cartoon books were confiscated.  The printers and bookstores around the country which carry his cartoons have been raided and they have also been warned not to print or carry any of his titles.  Last October, three of his assistants were arrested for selling his latest cartoon books. The webmaster who manages his website and online bookstore was called in by the police for interrogation.



UCI sponsors/participants:

Erwin Chemerinsky, Erika Hayasaki, David Kaye, Arlene Keizer, Barry Siegel, Georges van den Abbeele, Amy Wilentz (, Jeff Wasserstrom

Los Angeles Review of Books sponsor/participant:

Tom Lutz

UCLA sponsor/participant:

David Myers

USC sponsors/participants:

Jody Armour

Sherman Jackson

Nomi Stolzenberg