The academic core of the program is the extraordinary faculty who serve as teachers, mentors, and research partners throughout this journey. They provide advice on curriculum and career choices, and open the door to internships, fellowships, and other academically enriching opportunities.

Mucahit Bilici
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
PhD Sociology, University of Michigan
Expertise: American Islam, social theory, cultural sociology, Muslim intellectual traditions

Mucahit Bilici is a cultural sociologist focusing primarily on Islam and social theory. He works in three main registers: American Islam, social theory, and the Muslim intellectual tradition. His forthcoming book, Finding Mecca in America: American Muslims and Cultural Citizenship (University of Chicago Press, 2012) explores how Islam is articulated as an American religion. His work in social theory is driven by a sense that contemporary sociology is lacking a degree of self-awareness and can be revitalized by reconnecting it with its philosophical presuppositions. Towards this end, he reads widely in both sociology and philosophy, placing particular emphasis on the works of Simmel, Heidegger, and Bourdieu. He also sees great value in exploring the intersections and resonances of Western and Islamic philosophy and social thought. Within the Muslim intellectual tradition, he is interested particularly in the works of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi (1876-1960). Dr. Bilici teaches courses on social theory and seminars on a variety of topics. He has designed and taught graduate- and undergraduate-level courses on Islamophobia, “Rethinking Violence,” and “Social Theory and Islam,” among others.

Ric Curtis
Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology
PhD Anthropology, Columbia University Teachers College
Expertise: Ethnographic Research, Community Justice

Ric Curtis is Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has more than twenty-five years of experience conducting ethnographic research in New York City neighborhoods. At the Vera Institute of Justice in the late 1980s, he was co-author of a study that examined the effectiveness of New York City’s Tactical Narcotics Team. During the 1990s, while at the National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI), he participated in several large studies of injecting drug users and HIV risk networks, and conducted survey and ethnographic research on risk behaviors among young adults in a neighborhood with high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. At John Jay College, he was the Director of the “Heroin in the 21st Century” project, a five-year ethnographic study of heroin users and distributors in New York City funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). He was also the Principal Investigator of the “Lower East Side Trafficking” project, a two-year study funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which examined the developmental trajectories and interactions between markets for different illegal drugs. In the summer of 2000, he conducted a rapid assessment of HIV/AIDS risk in Newark, New Jersey for the Surgeon General’s office. He led a team of researchers in conducting a rapid assessment of shootings and homicides in two Brooklyn police precincts for the District Attorney’s office in the summer of 2003. He is currently working on three projects: a study for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to examine drug injector behaviors in Long Island and New York City; a study of drug dealing and violence in Rochester, New York; and a study of teenage prostitutes in New York City. Dr. Curtis serves on the boards  of several local social service organizations, including Family Services Network, The After Hours Project in Brooklyn, and CitiWide Harm Reduction in the Bronx.

James DiGiovanna
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
PhD Philosophy, State University of New York at Stony Brook
Expertise: Personal Identity/Metaphysics of Self , Epistemology with a focus on understanding and epistemic virtue

Assistant Professor James DiGiovanna received his BA from Wesleyan University and his PhD from Stony Brook. His research interests include the epistemological problem of understanding, the ethics and aesthetics of self-creation, and the aesthetics and ontology of fictional worlds. His philosophical work has appeared in International Journal of Arts in Society, High Noon on the Electronic Frontier, Watchmen and Philosophy, and other publications. His fiction has appeared in Spork Press, Blue Moon Review and 20X18. He is also an award-winning playwright, filmmaker, and film critic.

Hernando Estevez
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
PhD Philosophy, DePaul University
Expertise: Latin American philosophy, 20th Century continental philosophy, social political philosophy

Hernando received his PhD from DePaul University. His primary interest is Latin American philosophy. He teaches and conducts research in the areas of 20th century continental philosophy and social political philosophy. He is interested in the ways in which the notion of political identity during the formation of the state in 19th century Latin American countries contributes to the idea of citizenry. He is also interested in the political tensions created by the junction of cultural identity and contemporary political theory. He is currently conducting research in the rhetoric of Latin American literature and its relation to perennial problems of philosophy

Catherine Kemp
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
PhD Philosophy, State University of New York at Stony Brook
JD The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas
Expertise: Law and Modern Philosophy, David Hume

Professor Kemp joins the John Jay community from Brooklyn College, where she spent 3 years as Associate Professor of philosophy. She was previously Assistant Professor at Penn State and at the University of Colorado at Denver. She specializes in Philosophy of Law and Modern Philosophy, especially David Hume. She received her M.A. and PhD in philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook and her J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law. At Brooklyn College, she received the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellowship for Outstanding Teaching in 2010, having previously been awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Colorado at Denver, in 2001.

Evan Mandery
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Criminal Justice
JD Harvard Law School
Expertise: Capital Punishment

Evan Mandery is the chairperson of the department of criminal justice and an expert on the death penalty. A former capital litigator, he is the author of fifteen law review articles on the subject and a textbook currently in its second edition. He is currently writing a history of the two seminal Supreme Court cases, Furman v. Georgia and Gregg v. Georgia, which will be published by Delphinium Books in 2012. He has also written three novels. His most recent, Q, was published in 2011 by HarperCollins.

John T. Matteson
Distinguished Professor, Department of English
JD Harvard Law School
PhD English, Columbia University

John T. Matteson has an A.B. in history from Princeton University and a PhD in English from Columbia University. He also holds a J.D. from Harvard and has practiced as a litigation attorney in California and North Carolina. His work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; The Harvard Theological Review; New England Quarterly; Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies; and other publications. His 2007 book, Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Professor Matteson is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society and Associate Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography. He has received the Distinguished Faculty Award of the John Jay College Alumni Association and the Dean's Award for Distinguished Achievement by a PhD Alumnus of the Columbia University School of Arts and Sciences. His latest book, The Lives of Margaret Fuller: A Biography, was published by W.W. Norton and Company in January 2012.

Mark McBeth
Associate Professor, Department of English
PhD Rhetoric and Composition, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Expertise: Rhetoric and Composition, Queer Theory, Pedagogy
 
Mark McBeth studies the intersections between language (composition and rhetoric), queer theory, and pedagogy. The broad and far-reaching possibilities of this trio of interrelated scholarship has inspired him to research the sociolinguists of gay men’s language, the history of pedagogy in both the UK and US, and the role of divergent desires in the classroom. His co-authored book, “Teacher Training at Cambridge: The Initiatives of Oscar Browning and Elizabeth Hughes,” recovers the story of nineteenth-century teacher training at Cambridge University. His biographical profile of Oscar Browning shows this unconventional leader’s role in the education of the under-prepared and undervalued students (women and working-class men) of that era. Subsequent archival work has explored the administrative leadership roles of Mina Shaughnessy during the Open Admissions era at CUNY. Informed by Austin’s performativity as well as current performance studies, McBeth’s present work investigates moments in higher education when normative customs and practices undermine the potentials for more expansive learning.

John Pittman
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
PhD Philosophy, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Expertise: African American philosophy, Marxism

Professor Pittman’s scholarly interests are quite broad; his philosophical orientation could be termed historical and humanist. He enjoys teaching in the Justice Studies program and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (formerly Thematic Studies), as well as in the Department of Philosophy. His publications have been on African American philosophy and Marxism. An anthology, African-American Perspectives and Philosophical Traditions appeared in 1997. The Blackwell Companion to African-American Philosophy, coedited with Professor Tommy Lott, appeared in 2003. Dr. Pittman holds a CUNY PhD, awarded in 1989 for a dissertation on Marx's Capital and Ethical Theory. Before that he earned a BA at City College in math (started in physics, but balked at the lab work). He attended the Fiorello LaGuardia High School when it was just 'Music & Art,' perched atop Harlem at 135th street. His mother is proud of his public education; so is he.

Alisse Waterston
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
PhD Anthropology, Graduate Center of the City University of New York
Expertise: Urban Ethnography; Multiculturalism; Poverty and Homelessness; Diasporic Communities

Alisse Waterston’s work focuses on the human consequences of structural and systemic violence and inequality. Her areas of specialty are urban poverty and policy issues in the U.S. related to destitution, homelessness and substance abuse, health, welfare and criminal justice. Her applied work includes policy-related research and writing. Professor Waterston is currently working on two research projects: an intimate ethnography of her own father, and a classic ethnography of Polish-Christian immigrants from northeastern Poland now living in New York. With a focus on the socio-cultural, political-economic and psychological aspects of displacement, diaspora and structural violence, these studies shed light on systemic processes of history, the legacies of culture, and the workings of memory. They also provide insight on the processes and aftermaths of genocidal violence, ethnic and religious tension, survival, adaptation, remembering, cultural trauma and identity formation, issues of enormous importance today, as we struggle in a world marked by the shadows of war and genocide.