Ethnic & Gender Studies Faculty & Staff

Dr. Shoba Rajgopal, Chair of Ethnic & Gender Studies

Dr. Shoba Sharad Rajgopal, Chair
Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies

Ph.D. in Communication (Media Studies) and an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and 2 Master’s Degrees, in English and Communication respectively, and with 5 languages under her belt. She has also served for 3 years as the Coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program at Westfield State University and is one of the founding faculty of the EGST Dept. Her research and teaching areas are in postcolonial and transnational feminist theories, Asian queer movements and media representation, South Asian cinema, and globalization, religion, and gender conflicts.  Dr. Rajgopal has worked as a TV News Correspondent based in Bombay (Mumbai), India, for the Indian TV networks and won plaudits for her news reportage. She has also done in-depth news reports for Indian TV and CNN International on political and social issues in India, focusing on the rights of women and indigenous communities.

H. Zahra Caldwell
Assistant Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
Mod Building 100-D

She is an educator and cultural historian who teaches in the fields of History, Black Studies, and Women’s Studies. Her professional and academic work is focused on unpacking and expanding the definition of resistance as discussed within the long struggle for African American freedom, particularly as it relates to African American women, culture, representation, and image construction. Her research interests include African American women’s history, media representations of African Americans and women, as well as twentieth-century Black radicalism. 

Dr. C. Margot Hennessy
Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies
Mod Building 100-F

Dr.  C. Margot Hennessy became the Coordinator of the Multicultural and Ethnic Studies Program at Westfield State in 2002. Before coming to Westfield she taught at Clark University in English and Women’s Studies as well as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  She has led the development of Ethnic Studies and Gender studies along with many colleagues to its present exciting state as a department with a proposed major.  Her research is in African American and postcolonial literature, theory, history, and culture, with particular attention to the works of women of color in the U.S. and globally.  She has also written and presented extensively on anti-oppressive pedagogies and the construction of whiteness.  She is very interested in the current debate about interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary educational practices and is forever fascinated by the relationship between theory and practice. She has taught courses focusing on postcolonial literature and theory, whiteness studies, African American studies, Gay and Lesbian and Queer Studies, and the School to Prison Pipeline.

Dr. Elizabeth Stassinos
Professor of Criminal Justice & Ethnic & Gender Studies

She is a founding member of our EGST department and our Anthropology Minor as well as teaching 50% of her courses in Criminal Justice with a focus on race, class, gender, and ethnicity intersectionality.  She used her 2006 STARS semester award to work with the local creative writing group "Voices from Inside" that works with women in Massachusetts prisons.  She continues to work with this group today bringing speakers and their creative writing to Westfield State so that students can learn from these local authors about social justice and the transformative effects of literacy and arts education.  Her areas of interest are cultural anthropology, intersectional ethnography, deviance studies, and the use of arts education in social justice programs.

Dr. Enrique Morales-Diaz
(On Leave - Dean of Faculty - Spring 2018)

Professor of Spanish and Ethnic & Gender Studies

Dr. Kamal Ali
Faculty Emeritus
Associate Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies

Dr. Ali was hired as Westfield State University’s Director of Minority Affairs in 1981 after completing doctoral studies in the Center for International Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  In this capacity, he served as director of the college’s Urban Education program as well as the federally funded Student Support Services program.  While maintaining these responsibilities he was named Associate Dean of Multicultural Development in 1993, assuming the planning and implementing of the college’s multicultural agenda and initiating innovative programs in multicultural studies and minority leadership in business.

He has taught a series of courses in Islamic and multicultural studies at Westfield State University and local colleges, including Springfield College, American International College, and Western New England College as a faculty adjunct since 1982 before joining the college’s Department of World Languages, Multicultural, and Gender Studies in 2006 and then the Department of Ethnic and Gender studies in 2009.

He currently serves diverse college and community interests as a founder and Vice President of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts; as a Corporator at the Hartford Seminary; as Director of the Bridge Project, a tripartite agreement between the Dunbar Community Center in Springfield, the college, and MassMutual Financial Group offering WSU courses in the Mason Square neighborhood; as Imam/Chaplain for Muslim inmates at the Hampden County House of Corrections; and as Director of Research and Development of the Canadian Dawah Association.

Dr. Ali’s current research, in addition to editing and reviewing Islamic texts for various Muslim scholars in the United States and Saudi Arabia, and helping to develop the college’s student/faculty exchange program with Cape Coast University in Ghana, West Africa, is in completing work on a collection entitled “The Dar ul-Islam Movement,” an indigenous Muslim revivalist movement, for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City.

Tara Conant
Erin Judge
Cynara Robinson
Julie Skogsbergh, Ph.D.

Ron'na J'Q Lytle, M.Ed.
Administrative Assistant
Mod Building 104
413-579-3120 Fax