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Gender, Feminist, and Women’s Studies Faculty


Piya ChatterjeePiya Chatterjee
Dorothy Cruickshank Backstrand Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Scripps College

Piya Chatterjee is a historical anthropologist by training. She is interested women’s labor, colonial and post-colonial history, and feminist ethnographic writing and is currently involved with a Paulo Freire inspired, anti-violence political literacy project led by rural women in eastern India which has been funded by the Global Fund for Women.


Jih-Fei ChengJih-Fei Cheng
Assistant Professor of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Scripps College
Jih-Fei Cheng’s research examines the intersections between science, technology, media representations, and social movements. He utilizes interdisciplinary feminist and queer of color approaches, including visual, textual, and historical methods, to study activist uses of media to document, mobilize action, and leverage the survival chances of communities made vulnerable to illness through systemized health and economic disparities.



Kyla Wazana TompkinsKyla Wazana Tompkins
Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies; On leave for the 2022-2023 academic year (GWS, Pomona). Kyla is a former food writer and restaurant critic. Today, as a scholar of 19th-century U.S. literature with a continuing interest in the relationship between food and culture, she writes about the connections between literature and a wide range of topics: food, eating, sexuality, race, culture, film and dance. Her 2012 book, Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century, received the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize from the American Studies Association and tied for the Best Book in Food Studies Award, presented by the Association for the Study of Food and Society.


Portrait of Aimee BahngAimee Bahng Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS, Pomona). Aimee is the author of Migrant Futures: Decolonizing Speculation in Financial Times (Duke University Press, 2018) and co-editor of the “Transpacific Futurities” special issue of Journal of Asian American Studies (2017). She has published articles on transnational Asian/American speculative fiction and financialization in Journal of American Studies (2015)Techno-Orientalism (Rutgers University Press, 2015), and MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the U.S. (2008). Her second book project, Transpacific Ecologies, is currently underway, bringing decolonial, queer and feminist thought to bear on the environment, knowledge production, and dis/ability at the site of the Pacific Ocean, which has long served as a proving ground for scientific experimentation and biopolitical securitization. Aimee is also writing a number of articles about science fiction writer Octavia Butler, whose papers are held at the Huntington Library in San Marino. One essay, titled “Plasmodial Improprieties: Octavia E. Butler, Slime Molds, and Imagining a Femi-Queer Commons,” appears in the Queer Feminist Science Studies Reader (University of Washington Press, 2017). Aimee has also published an article co-authored by Reena Goldthree in Radical Teacher on “#BlackLivesMatter and Feminist Pedagogy.”


April J. Mayes Professor of History; Coordinator of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS, Pomona). April focuses her research on the Dominican Republic and teaches courses in Colonial Latin American history, Afro-Latin American history, women’s and gender studies, and Africana studies. A graduate of Pomona College, Mayes was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship she used to examine Protestant women’s social justice movements in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Ecuador. Afterwards, she attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she earned a Ph.D. in history (2003), with an emphasis in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, gender, ethnicity and race in the Americas, comparative post-emancipation studies and anthro/history. While at the University of Michigan,  Mayes received the Dean’s Mellon Award and a Rockefeller Grant to pursue research at the Dominican Studies Institute at City College (CUNY) in New York City. During her tenure at Pomona College, Mayes received a Fulbright Research-Teaching Fellowship (2009-2010) for research in the Dominican Republic and raised over $30,000 from the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy to support major scholarly initiatives in the Dominican Republic, including the first Transnational Hispaniola Conference and the symposium, Intercambiando Historias: Género y Política en la República Dominicana.

Esther Hernández-Medina Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS, Pomona).  Esther is a feminist academic, public policy expert and activist from the Dominican Republic, with a particular interest in how historically marginalized groups such as women, racial, ethnic and sexual minorities are able (if at all) to change and influence public policy in their favor. She has done research on this topic in Mexico, Brazil and her own country by looking at citizen participation in urban policies in São Paulo and Mexico City, the history of and recent achievements by the Dominican feminist movement, and the participatory budgeting model in the Dominican Republic and São Paulo.


Stefan Torralba Visiting Instructor of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS, Pomona).