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Meet Your Faculty

Daniel Morales, 

Daniel Morales is an Assistant Professor of History in the Department of History where he teaches courses in Latino history, Immigration, and United States and Latin American history. He earned his B.A. at the University of Chicago in 2008, and M.A., M.Phill., and Ph.D. at Columbia University in 2016.

Growing up in Azusa, California in an immigrant household, Daniel is keenly aware of the issues that concern first-generation students. In teaching issues of migration, race and ethnicity, politics and nation, he emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and seeking understanding of difficult sociopolitical issues in our time.

Daniel is a member of the JMU Latino Caucus and Latin American, Latinx, and Carribbean Studies minor faculty and is working to build the Immigrant Harrisonburg project.

Carlos Alemán, 

Carlos Alemán grew up in a large Mexican-American family, in a small migrant farm town in California. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees at CSU Fresno, and his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He is an associate professor at JMU’s School of Communication Studies, and a JMU Professor in Residence at Harrisonburg City Public Schools.
For 21 years, Carlos has sought opportunities to serve Harrisonburg’s growing immigrant community and cultivate multiculturalism and inclusivity on the JMU campus. Of these efforts, he is most proud of the Shenandoah Valley Scholars’ Latino Initiative (, a non-profit organization he helped found that provides sustained academic and leadership opportunities to local, under-resourced Latinx high school students.
Carlos teaches undergraduate courses in communication, culture and identity. He is also a graduate faculty member for the master’s degree in Advocacy, where he teaches seminars in critical intercultural communication, and interpersonal communication and advocacy. He has published work on such topics as facework in interpersonal encounters, critical vulnerability in college teaching, and identity in multicultural family storytelling. His current work collaborates with his life-partner, Melissa Alemán, and uses ethnographic and narrative methodologies to explore how stories of property loss and attainment present particular family histories while hiding others, with implications for contesting identities in multicultural and multiracial families. He sees this work as particularly relevant at a time when the lives immigrant families can be upended through deportation and forced removal.

Eric Trinka,

Eric Trinka is a biblical scholar who works at the intersections of the topics of religion and migration in both the ancient and modern world. As a biblical scholar, he applies social scientific research to the study of biblical texts, particularly findings from the fields of migration studies, geography, critical spatial theory, the sociology of religion, and archaeology. 

His most recent research projects explore the elasticity of religious experience in contexts of human movement as seen in the phenomenon of internal religious pluralism. He is particularly interested in applying findings in this area to better understand the compositional histories of biblical texts. 

He has authored several articles and book chapters on this range of topics and has presented his research in academic and public forums around the world. 

Shaun Wright,

Shaun Wright has over 15 years of production and post-production experience and has worked on projects for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Discovery Docs, Animal Planet, TLC, History Channel and HGTV.

Wright earned his MFA in film and electronic media from American University in Washington, D.C. Before coming to JMU, Wright was a Lecturer at Towson University where he was also the director of the Media Active Film Festival.

Becca Howes-Mischel,

Becca Howes-Mischel is an associate professor of Anthropology, she researches and writes about the complicated politics of reproductive health. At CFI she leads Finish Your Writing Project groups and consults with faculty members about scholarly writing practices including research design, argument development, and building a supportive writing community.

Allison Fagan,

Dr. Allison Fagan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, where she teaches courses in contemporary Latina/o and African American literature. She researches and teaches about the challenges writers of color meet in the publishing industry, and her book on Chicana/o border literature focuses specifically on the publishing histories of contemporary Mexican American writers whose work explores the U.S.-Mexico border. She is the current chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program.

Christina Kilby,

Christina Kilby’s research specialization is Tibetan Buddhism. She is also developing new research and courses on the intersections between religion and refugees, such as religious ethics of hospitality, religious meaning ascribed to migration experience, policies of inclusion and exclusion based on religious affiliation, and the role of faith-based refugee relief and resettlement organizations. 

Other Faculty Contributors

Lisa Porter,

David Trouille,

Megan Tracy,