Workshop on “Social Movements and Global Crisis:
Coalition & Conflict in Contemporary Social Movements”

Biographies of Participants

Oyatunde Amakisi is an activist, artist, businesswoman, and founder of the Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival. As a dedicated activist for over twenty years she has worked to empower youth and women, environmental justice, prisoner's rights, affirmative action, and education. She has advocated for political prisoners and prisoners of war, while challenging police brutality and working with the anti war/peace movement. Oya was the Detroit Local Organizing Representative and Co-chair of the Program and Culture Working Group of the United States Social Forum. She also was Co-chair of Detroit Expanded, connecting live coverage of the United States Social Forum to hubs throughout the world. She was a member of the Detroit to Dakar Delegation at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal in 2011. Oya is a contributor to the Think Like a Woman and Shetroit Blogs. She is currently working with local organizations to create neighborhood gardens that utilize food justice, art and holistic living to heal and empower the community. Oya continues to work with organizers and artists nationally and internationally to use art as a tool of social justice.

Mohammed Bamyeh is a professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and the editor of the International Sociology Review of Books (ISRB). His research focus is on Islamic studies, political and cultural globalization, civil society and social movements, and comparative social and political theory. He is currently involved in studying the Arab revolutions, about which he lectured widely and published several articles since January 2011. His publications include Islam and Society: Social Movements, Global Structures, Social Critique (forthcoming); Intellectuals and Civil Society in the Middle East; Anarchy as Order: The History and future of Civic Humanity; Of Death and Dominion: The Existential Foundations of Governance; andThe Social Origins of Islam: Mind, Economy, Discourse; Palestine America (editor, special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, 2003). He has further organized a number of community-oriented film series on the Arab World, and participated in organizing two larger scale Arab film festivals in Minneapolis.

Rose M. Brewer is a scholar and activist. She is the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of African American & African Studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. She worked as a core organizer for the United States Social Forums in Atlanta and Detroit, and is a co-editor of The United States Social Forum: Perspectives of a Movement, Chicago: Change Maker Publications, 2010. Her involvement as a member of the USSF WSF Palestine organizing committee has been fueled by a long time commitment to ending racism, imperialism, and economic exploitation in the U.S. and globally. The struggle, then, for her is fundamental to social transformation.

Janet Conway, Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at Brock University, has been a social movement activist since the late 1980s when she worked in Canada’s women’s movement to decriminialize abortion. Through the early 1990s, she worked in a series of urban anti-poverty coalitions in Toronto before co-founding and serving as elected leader of the Metro Network for Social Justice (MNSJ), which is the subject of her book, Identity, Place, Knowledge: Social Movements Contesting Globalization. This book analyzes coalition dynamics, internal tensions, power imbalances, race, class and gender dynamics, the role of the labour movement relative to other sectors, and a major conflict between prioritizing popular education or street activism. Janet’s recent work focuses on the World Social Forum process at the world scale and at various sites and scales in the Americas. Her newest book, Edges of Global Justice: the World Social Forum and Its ‘Others’ focuses on the positionality of feminist and Indigenous movements in the politics of the ‘global left.’ Conway was co-founder and chair of the Toronto Social Forum 2002-04, active in the Toronto-based Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty and in the 2008 coalition to free Bob Lovelace and the KI Six (indigenous leaders from two Ontario First Nations jailed for resisting mining on their land). In addition to the two books mentioned, “Transnational feminisms building anti-globalization solidarities” is a recent relevant article (Globalizations 9:3 (2012) 367-381).

William Copeland is an organizer and cultural worker from Detroit. He works as EMEAC's Stand Up Speak Out Youth Director. He is a founding adult ally for the Young Educators Alliance (YEA). He served as one of the local coordinators for the 2010 US Social Forum and participated in the 2011 Detroit 2 Dakar Delegation to the World Social Forum held in Dakar, Senegal. He is also currently working on creating the D.Blair Theater Space and LightBox Youth Media Productions in the space of the Cass Corridor Commons and has significant affiliations with the healing justice movements in Detroit and nationwide.

Nicole Doerr is a postdoctoral fellow at the Free University of Berlin and grew up as the oldest of two daughters on a farm in a remote village in central Germany. Since her childhood, Nicole noted that in her family, village and town social roles, gender and different languages divided the powerful from those without power. After becoming active in the global justice movement and in queer, feminist and intercultural media projects, she started to study democracy within social movements and became a researcher. Her current book project is called “Democracy in Translation,” which explores how global justice groups, precarious workers, local community organizers, unionists, and immigrant rights’ groups in Europe, the US and South Africa try to work together across boundaries of power, language, race, class, and gender.

Mary Margaret Fonow is director of the School of Social Transformation and professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University. She is a feminist scholar of transnational social movements and has published extensively about alliances and coalitions between the women’s movement and the labor movement. She has published with Suzanne Franzway, Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances between Women and Labor ( Illinois, 2011), and Union Women: Forging Feminism in the United Steelworkers of America (Minnesota, 2003) and co-edited with Valentine Moghadam and Suzanne Franzway, Making Globalization Work for Women: Social Rights and Trade Union Leadership (SUNY 2011). She was raised in the steel producing region of Ohio (now known euphemistically as the rust belt) and has worked closely with women activists in the United Steelworkers of America and the International Metalworkers Federation. More recently her work has focuses on how trade union feminist use the labor advocacy networks of their unions to advance the social rights of women around the globe. She attended the 2005 World Social Forum and participated in an ILO pre-forum workshop on unions and globalization. Her students are serving internships with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union in Phoenix.

Michael Goodhart is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh, where he holds secondary appointments in Philosophy and Women’s Studies ( He is the author of Democracy as Human Rights: Freedom and Equality in the Age of Globalization (Routledge 2005) and of numerous articles and chapters on democracy, democratization, and human rights in the context of globalization. His current research focuses on global injustice. From 2010-2012, Goodhart chaired the APSA Presidential Task Force on Democracy, Economic Security, and Social Justice in a Volatile World. He was lead author of the Task Force report, “Democratic Imperatives: Innovations in Rights, Participation, and Economic Citizenship,” available online at He has been active with the Outreach Working group of Occupy Pittsburgh and is president of Global Solutions Pittsburgh, a non-profit organization providing education on global political and human rights issues in the Pittsburgh region.

Sami Hermez is a Visiting Professor of Contemporary International Issues at the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for International Studies. Previous to this he has held posts as Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Mt. Holyoke College, and as a fellow at the Centre for Lebanese Studies, St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. He obtained his doctorate degree in January 2011 from the Department of Anthropology at Princeton University. His is currently working on his manuscript, “The War is Coming: Living Everyday in Anticipation of Violence in Lebanon,” which explores how society in Lebanon lives in an environment of constant anticipation of political violence. During his fieldwork, Sami was involved in various war relief initiatives and worked closely with several social movements. His research is concerned with questions of political violence, social movements, the state, memory, security and human rights in the Arab World. His publications include "Activism as Part-Time Activity: Searching for Commitment and Solidarity in Lebanon," and "On Dignity and Clientelism: Lebanon in the Context of the 2011 Arab Revolutions."Sami is a Steering Committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

Darryl Jordan has worked as an organizer for more than 30 years, most recently in the capacity as Director of the American Friends Service Committee's Third World Coalition. He has served on the USSF National Planning Committee and is currently a member of the USSF WSF Palestine organizing committee. His organizing experience encompasses work with union/labor; community; peace and justice; and people of color communities.

Jeffrey Juris is Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California Berkeley, and is the author of Networking Futures: the Movements against Corporate Globalization (Duke University Press, 2008), Global Democracy and the World Social Forums (co-author, Paradigm Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on social movements, transnational networks, new media, and political protest in Spain/Catalonia, Mexico, and the U.S. His co-edited volume, Insurgent Encounters: Transnational Activism, Ethnography, and the Political, is forthcoming with Duke University Press, and he is currently working on a new book about free media and autonomy in Mexico. He has also conducted ethnographic research on Occupy Boston, and has a recent article in American Ethnologist called "Reflections on #Occupy Everywhere: Social Media, Public Space, and Emerging Logics of Aggregation." In terms of his organizing work, Juris has been a long-time global justice activist, and has most recently participated in Occupy Boston and the Boston Freedom Rides mobilization to the 2010 U.S. Social Forum.

Walda Katz-Fishman, a scholar activist, popular educator and author, and professor of sociology at Howard University since 1970, was a founding member and former board chair of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide. She serves on the National Planning Committee of the U.S. Social Forum, the Executive Committee of Sociologists without Borders-USA, is active in Grassroots Global Justice and other social justice movement organizations, including the League of Revolutionaries for a New America. She is author/co-author of numerous chapters and articles, and a contributing editor to popular education toolkits and books including The United States Social Forum: Perspectives of a Movement, The Roots of Terror, Today's Globalization, The Critical Classroom and Readings in Humanist Sociology. She was co-recipient of the American Sociological Association 2004 Award for the Public Understanding of Sociology.

Bonnie Young Laing is associate professor of social work at Youngstown State University. She is native of the Hill District and has served as a community organizer with One Hill Community Benefits Coalition and the Hill District Consensus Group. She has played a role in promoting equitable and inclusionary community planning and development in the Hill District. She has published work in the areas of community organizing, labor/community partnerships, community development in African American communities and culturally competent macro practice. She is the proud wife of Justin Laing and mother of Kufere, Etana and Adeyemi.

Jules Lobel, University of Pittsburgh School of Law & Center for Constitutional Rights

Alice Mattoni is a Postdoctoral Associate Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. She has a Master of Research and a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute. She is the co-convenor of the standing group “participation and mobilization” of the European Consortium of Political Research (ECPR) and one of the co-editors of “Interface: a journal for and about social movements”. Her research focuses on activist media practices and precarious workers movements. Amongst her recent publications are Media Practices and Protest Politics. How Precarious Workers Mobilise (Ashgate 2012) and Mediation and Protest Movements, co-edited with Bart Cammaerts and Patrick McCurdy (Intellect 2012 in press).

Jennifer Mogannum is the international Research and Development Coordinator for the transnational Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and a doctoral student of Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego. She has been involved in community organizing and movement building for several years in Palestinian and Arab communities on and off different campuses both in the Bay Area and in the Arab World. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon and has spent several years in the Arab world building with Arab youth. Her main research focuses today have touched on the alliance between the PLO and Lebanese National Movement as well as on the socio-economic transformations and elite formations in the West Bank post-Oslo.

Valentine Moghadam joined Northeastern University in Boston as Director of the International Affairs Program, and Professor of Sociology, in January 2012. She was previously at Purdue University. Born in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Moghadam received her higher education in Canada and the U.S. In addition to her academic career, she has been a senior research fellow at UNU/WIDER in Helsinki, Finland (1990-95), and a section chief at UNESCO in Paris (2004-06). Dr. Moghadam’s areas of research are globalization, transnational feminist networks, civil society and citizenship, and gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Among her many publications are Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East (1993, 2003, third edition expected in 2013), Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks (2005), and Globalization and Social Movements: Islamism, Feminism, and the Global Justice Movement (2009, updated second edition 2012).

Paul Nelson is Associate Professor and director of the international development program at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh.. Before joining the university in 1998 he worked as policy analyst for several non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He is the author of The World Bank and Non-Governmental Organizations: The Limits of Apolitical Development (St. Martin’s, 1995), and coauthor, with Ellen Dorsey, of New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs (Georgetown University Press, 2008). His other publications include articles, chapters and reports on NGOs, transparency in international organizations, the World Bank, the Millennium Development Goals, and human rights and development. He is currently engaged in research on "Religious Institutions and Voices in International Development" funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. He serves on the US board of the international microfinance organization Oikocredit, and of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Corinne Ogrodnik is a doctoral student of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and holds an M.S. in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. A Pittsburgh native, Corinne has focused her energies in the community on linking local foods initiatives with anti-hunger efforts. She recently co-led a team of nine students at Carnegie Mellon University to develop a plan to integrate Electronic Benefits Transfers (food stamps) into Pittsburgh farmer’s markets. This project aimed to create a working partnership between the City of Pittsburgh, anti-hunger groups, and area farmers and residents. In 2010, Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services Office of Data Analysis, Research, and Evaluation published the proposal, Integrating Food Stamps Benefits into Pittsburgh Farmer’s Markets, and groups are still working to build a partnership strong enough to implement the plan. Corinne’s current research interests include the intersection of food security and politics, and the global food sovereignty movement.

​Sylvia Orduño is a community activist with over 25 years experience in labor, student and anti-poverty organizing and education. She works actively with several groups, including the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) National Planning Committee, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, and the Assembly to End Poverty. She holds a M.A. in Sociology (and is A.B.D.) from the The University of Michigan and has done participatory research with economic justice activists in the welfare rights movement. Sylvia is an organizer with the Housing Is a Human Rights Coalition, a Detroit-based network that takes over bank-abandoned houses for homeless families; and served as national co-coordinator for USSF II in Detroit, 2010.

Carl Redwood, Jr. serves as convener of the Hill District Consensus Group and was Chairperson of the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement Coalition. Carl is a social worker and has participated in various community organizing efforts on the local, national and international levels. During the 1970’s he worked as an organizer with the Pittsburgh chapter of the African Liberation Support Committee, the Third World Peoples Coalition and the Black Action Society at Pitt. During the 1980’s he worked as an organizer with the Homestead Unemployed Center / Rainbow Kitchen, the Garfield Rowhouse Tenant’s Association and he served as Campaign Coordinator for the 1984 Jesse Jackson for President Campaign. During the 1990’s he served as Associate Director of Hill House and later served as Program Director at Kingsley House. He was a supporter of forming the Hill District Consensus Group and he supported the development of community computer labs and Internet access centers in Pittsburgh area neighborhoods. He has taught Community Organizing at the Pitt School of Social Work since 1991.

Assata Richards is a native of Houston, Texas and received much of her education in a small community in East Texas, County Line. She earned a Master’s and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in Sociology with concentration on political and community participation, research methods and mass incarceration. After serving as a faculty member at University of Pittsburgh, she has returned to her community in Houston, Texas, where she is living and working with Project Row Houses, a non-profit arts organization established by African-American artists & community activists in Houston's historic Third Ward. PRH is founded on the principle that art-and the community it creates-can be the foundation for revitalizing depressed inner-city neighborhoods for the mutual good of existing and future residents. She serves as the vice chair of the Houston Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. Assata is dedicating herself to the creation of the Sankofa Research Institute, whose mission is to utilize research to identify, develop and advance innovative strategies for building effective communities through supporting intellectual engagement by a diverse set of individuals.

Roger Rouse is associate teaching professor of global studies, anthropology, and history at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. His research has focused on the struggles of people involved in migration between Mexico and the United States and more recently on the cultural politics of capitalist restructuring in the United States since the 1980s. He is a cofounder and coorganizer of Occupy Your Mind, Pittsburgh and has previously been active in supporting union campaigns for service workers and graduate instructors at the University of California, organizing teach-ins on 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq, and working with movements addressing the legal and political needs of migrant workers.

Jerome Scott, a labor organizer in the auto plants of Detroit in the 1960s-70s, and a community organizer, popular educator and author in the South since the 1970s, was a founding member and former director of Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty & Genocide in Atlanta, GA. He serves on the National Planning Committee of the U.S. Social Forum, is active in Grassroots Global Justice and other social justice movement organizations, including the League of Revolutionaries for a New America. He is author/co-author of numerous chapters and articles on race, class, movement building and the revolutionary process, and is a contributing editor to four popular education toolkits including The Roots of Terror and Today's Globalization. He was co-recipient of the American Sociological Association’s 2004 Award for the Public Understanding of Sociology.

Jackie Smith is professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, co-facilitator of Occupy Pittsburgh’s Outreach working group, and a member of the US Social Forum’s National Planning Committee representing Sociologists without Borders. She worked with a local Jobs with Justice coalition prior to moving to Pittsburgh, where she teaches and does research on transnational activism. Her publications related to social movement coalitions include “Occupy Pittsburgh and the Challenges of Participatory Democracy” (Social Movement Studies, September 2012, co-authored with Bob Glidden), Social Movements for Global Democracy, Coalitions Across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neoliberal Order(co-edited with Joe Bandy), and Social Movements in the World-System: The Politics of Crisis and Transformation (with Dawn Wiest).

Suzanne Staggenborg is Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work includes Social Movements (Oxford University Press, 2011), Methods of Social Movement Research (co-edited with Bert Klandermans, University of Minnesota Press, 2002), Gender, Family and Social Movements (Pine Forge Press, 1998), The Pro-Choice Movement (Oxford University Press, 1991), and a number of articles about social movements. Her current research focuses on the grassroots environmental movement. She has been active, both as a participant observer and as a supporter, in the women’s and environmental movements.

Nella Van Dyke is associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced. She has been active with the social justice movement, LGBT rights, and the women's movement. While living in Pullman, WA, she helped lead a campaign against the opening of a Super WalMart. Her research focuses on social movements and hate crime. Publications related to coalitions include, Strategic Alliances: Coalition Building and Social Movements, edited with Holly McCammon (2010); “Political Opportunities and Collective Identity in Ohio’s Gay and Lesbian Movement, 1970-2000” (with Rhonda Cress, 2006, Sociological Perspectives 49: 503-526); and “Crossing Movement Boundaries: Factors That Facilitate Coalition Protest by American College Students, 1930-1990” (2003, Social Problems 50(2): 226-250).

Cindy Wiesner is a queer working class Latina born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She has been a community organizer and activist for more than 20 years. She has organized with HERE Local 2850, POWER, GenerationFIVE, and the Miami Workers Center. Since 2007, she worked as the political coordinator for Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ). Recently, Cindy became the National Coordinator of GGJ. She represents the alliance on the National Planning Committee of the US Social Forum, UNITY, the Hemispheric Council of the Americas Social Forum, and the International Council of the World Social Forum. She lives in Miami, FL with her partner.

Lesley Wood is Associate Professor of Sociology at York University, a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the Blackfly Sustainable Living and Education Cooperative. She helped to build a coalition between grassroots community groups in response to the economic crisis, a body that then morphed into the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, a network that supported the G20 protests, and has since become Toronto’s Stop the Cuts Network. She is currently researching the temporary coalitions between Occupy and other movements for the May 1, 2012 mobilizations. Her publications related to social movement coalitions include: “Communities Converging: A Story and a Strategy of the G20 protests in Toronto”, (Upping the Anti 10); “Bridging the Chasms: The Case of People’s Global Action” in Coalitions Across Borders: Transnational Protest and the Neo-Liberal Order; and Direct Action, Deliberation and Diffusion: Collective Action After the WTO Protests in Seattle (Cambridge University Press).