2019 Speaker Biographies: Body & Identity

Alex Locust is counselor, community organizer, and champion of disability justice. Armed with bombastic charm, whimsical humor, and a sharp wit, Alex synthesizes professional insight with lived experience to create engaging workshops grounded in cultural humility, intersectionality, and fostering empathetic, holistic views of marginalized communities. Alex specializes in work supporting people with disabilities and is passionately committed to raising awareness of the disability justice movement. He hopes to continue facilitating candid dialogues in a broad spectrum of environments in order to promote more cross movement solidarity. 

Carolyn Martin Shaw retired from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she was a professor of anthropology, Chair of the department, Provost of Kresge College, and was active in the academic senate where faculty share governance with the UC administration.  Her research is on women and social change in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Her most recent book is Women and Power in Zimbabwe: Promises of Feminism. Her courses in social anthropology included Kinship, Sexuality in Cross-cultural Perspective, Peoples and Cultures of Africa, and Communities.

Lawrence Cohen is a Professor of Anthropology and of South & Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California Berkeley, where he co-directs the Medical Anthropology Program and formerly directed both the Center for the Study of Sexual Cultures and the Institute for South Asia Studies. His research has focused on contemporary India, in many areas, but with a focus on medicine, health, and aging, on the politics of transplant surgery, and on gender and sexuality. He is the author of the multiply award-winning No Aging in India: Alzheimer's, The Bad Family, and Other Modern Things, and co-editor of Thinking about Dementia.  He has written many articles on sexuality and gender. 

Lesdi Goussen Robleto

Katherine Kinkopf is a Ph.D. candidate in the anthropology at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation examines the intersections inequalities, skeletal biology, and bodily difference in the Italian peninsula during the Medieval period (1200-1450 AD) through a Disability-centered framework. Katie's broader research explores issues of Disability, identity, and chronic disease in archaeological and historic contexts. 

Dr. Victor Pineda is the President of World ENABLED, Chancellor’s Research Fellow, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a leading global expert on disability rights, policy, planning and design and has worked closely with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, World Bank, United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF, and cabinet level officials in the UAE, Qatar, Venezuela, and Serbia among others to develop policies and programs that include persons with disabilities as equal stakeholders in development. Dr. Pineda is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) innovative research grant, a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, the Thomas Jefferson Award, the Tom Clausen Fellowship for Business and Policy, and the Paul G. Hearne Award. Dr. Pineda holds a Ph.D. from the Luskin School for Public Affairs at the University of California at Los Angeles and a Master’s in City and Regional Planning, a B.A. in Political Economy, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

Melissa S. Dale, PhD, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Asia Pacific Studies since August 2012. Prior to joining the faculty and staff at USF, she served as Associate Director of International Relations and Assistant Director for Strategic Planning at the Institute of East Asian Studies, both at UC Berkeley. She previously worked at USF as the Associate Director of Research at the Center’s Ricci Institute for Chinese-Western Cultural History. Dr. Dale is currently Executive Director and Associate Professor at the Center for Asia Pacific Studies. Her research interests focus on the social history of late imperial China including Qing dynasty court life, eunuchs, Chinese-Western medical exchange, and gender studies. She has taught courses at Georgetown University, Santa Clara University, and UC Santa Cruz, guest lectured at UC Berkeley, and led the Cal Alumni tour to China.

Dr. Samar Habib is the leading expert of international standing in her field, with unparalleled publications on same-sex love and desire among women in the Arab world. Some publishers of her academic works include E.J. Brill, Oxford University Press, and Routledge. Her books include the now seminal Female Homosexuality in the Middle East, and Islam and Homosexuality. She is regularly called on to share her expertise in encyclopedias, national newspapers and at some of the best universities in the world, including Yale, Brown, Columbia and Stanford, among others.

Tamara C. Ho is core faculty in the Queer Studies (formerly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersexual, and Transgender (LGBIT) studies) program; the Southeast Asia: Text, Ritual, and Performance (SEATRiP) program; the Speculative Fiction and Cultures of Science (SFCS) program; the Medical and Health Humanities program; as well as cooperating faculty in Comparative Literature. Ho's areas of specialization include contemporary American literature, Anglophone postcoloniality, and Southeast Asian diasporas. Her research focuses on transnational feminisms, religion (transgendered shamanism, Burmese Theravada Buddhism), and intersections of race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Her work has been published in the journals PMLA, Discourse, and Signs and in various collections in Asian American studies. Ho’s book  Romancing Human Rights: Gender, Intimacy, and Power Between Burma and the West  (2015) is published by University of Hawai’i Press. She was also a co-curator of AALR's "Open in Emergency: A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health" box. Ho is honored to serve as the Director of California Center for Native Nations (CCNN) at UCR (2018-2021). 

Brian James Baer is a Professor of Russian and Translation Studies at Kent State University and has written extensively on issues of sex and sexuality in contemporary Russia. His monograph Other Russias: Homosexuality and the Crisis of Post-Soviet Identity was selected as a Choice Academic Title by the American Library Association in 2011.

Marc Epprecht is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Global Development Studies at Queen's University. He has published extensively on the history of gender and sexuality in Africa including Hungochani: The history of a dissident sexuality in southern Africa (winner of the 2006 Joel Gregory Prize – best book on Africa published in Canada), Heterosexual Africa? and Sexuality and Social Justice in Africa.  Marc lived on the continent off and on since the 1980s and has also taught at the U. of Zimbabwe, U. of KwaZulu-Natal, and U. of Basel.