Go to the U of M home page
25 Years

Teaching Faculty & Visiting Scholars

Teaching Faculty

Brown, Karen

Teaching Faculty 

Director, ICGC

Director of Graduate Studies and Senior Lecturer, Development Studies and Social Change Graduate Minor Program

MDP Program Co-Chair

Email Karen

Karen Brown is Director of the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC), where she directs a number of international and interdisciplinary education and research programs including the ICGC Scholar and Mellon Scholars fellowship programs and a partnership with the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.  Dr. Brown co-chairs the Master of Development Practice degree program in international development studies with the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, serves as the Director of Graduate Studies and teaches in the ICGC Development Studies and Social Change (DSSC) Ph.D. minor program, and also serves as a Graduate Faculty member in Feminist Studies, the Human Rights Program, and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Her past positions include Assistant Vice President for International Scholarship (2012-2015) in which she directed the University’s system-wide Global Spotlight grants program to support international and interdisciplinary research and Special Assistant for International Scholarship in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance. Dr. Brown earned her Ph.D. in Political Science (University of Minnesota) with concentrations in International Relations and Comparative Politics. She also earned an M.A. in East Asian Studies (University of Minnesota) and a B.S. in Chinese (Georgetown University). Her academic interests focus on gender and public policy in global context, international women's and children's human rights, girls in international policy, and international research ethics and methods.

Selected publications:

“Gender and International Relations.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. Sandy Maisel, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

“The Rise of Interdisciplinarity:  Implications for Promoting Advanced Specialized Knowledge at Public Research Universities,” with Karri Holley, in Re-Envisioning the 21st Century Public Research University. Robert H. Bruininks, Robert J. Jones, Andrew Furco and Kateryna Kent, eds. New York:  Routledge, forthcoming.

“Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” in Restructuring World Politics:  Transnational Social Movements, Networks and Norms.  Sanjeev Khagram, James V. Riker, and Kathryn Sikkink, eds. University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Courses taught:

Global Survey of Gender and Public Policy

Doctoral Research Workshop

Scholarship and Public Responsibility

Gender and Citizenship

Research Interest: feminist international relations, gender and politics, international human rights, international research ethics

Grossman, Julie

Teaching Faculty 

Assistant Professor

Email Julie
Research Interest: Organic Agriculture; Soil Nutrient Cycling; Legume Cover Crops; Rhizobia Ecology; Biological Nitrogen Fixation

Johnstone, Christopher

Teaching Faculty 

Research Interest: Inclusive education, development internationalization of higher education, intersection of diversity, equity, and internationalization

Nagar, Richa

Teaching Faculty 

Research Interest: critical development studies, transnational feminist praxis, politics of knowledge production

Sumida Huaman, Elizabeth

Teaching Faculty 

Associate Professor

Email Elizabeth
Research Interest: Comparative Indigenous education research, indigenous knowledge systems, nature-mediated education/place-based education/decolonial education,i ndigenous women’s narratives and transformative human rights

Wilsey, David

Teaching Faculty 

Program Director, MDP Program

Email David

David Wilsey is the Program Director for the Master in Development Practice (MDP) program, which is co-administered by ICGC and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Dr. Wilsey’s research and practice focus on development of integrated natural resource conservation and livelihood programs, generally focusing on forest-and farm-based livelihood systems. He is particularly interested in the role of non-timber forest products in food and livelihood systems and the development of market-based interventions to support livelihood and lifestyle goals.

Dr. Wilsey joined the MDP program in 2013 as the program coordinator and a lecturer. Prior to joining the program, he spent five years as an associate Extension professor & educator with the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences. His Extension work focused on three themes: natural resource based livelihood systems, non-timber forest products, and cross cultural program development. Dr. Wilsey was situated within the forestry program area, his work extended to other areas and he established productive collaborations with the small farms team, community vitality and economics, family resource management, and the American Indian leadership team, of which he was an active member. Though his interests are broad ranging, over the course of his career Dr. Wilsey primarily worked with forest–based and forest–oriented groups in the Americas: in Minnesota, several states in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. He finds the opportunity to expand this portfolio to include other themes and regions to be a great privilege of working with the MDP program.

Research Interest: Sustainable livelihood systems, integrated conservation and development strategies, non-timber forest products, and food systems research

Visiting Scholars

Dutta, Sohini

Visiting Scholar

Email Sohini

Sohini Dutta is a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at ICGC. She is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), Mumbai, India. For her doctoral research, she examines the negotiations and/or disruptions by women with the state, through social and political movements, thereby framing an interrelationship between gender and democracy. For this, she engages in an ethnographic research with the women political activists and party members of the political parties, across caste, class and religious specificities, within the state of West Bengal, India.

After receiving her masters degree in English from The English and Foreign Languages University (2013-2015), Ms. Dutta earned her M.Phil. in Social Sciences from the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (CSSSC) (2015-2017). Her M.Phil. thesis explores and critiques the existing pedagogical structure within the Indian school classroom through the oral narratives of women school dropouts from West Bengal, India. As a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at ICGC, Ms. Dutta aims to formulate a research framework in order to chart the multiple voices of resistance, of the minorities and women across the world but most particularly in the U.S. and in India, in the field of Gender and Politics on one hand and Resistance and Performance on another.

Sohini is in residence with ICGC until early December 2021. 

Liu, Esther

Visiting Scholar

Email Esther

Esther moved to Minnesota three years ago from New York City to work with Dakota communities on Indigenous food sovereignty and decarbonizing infrastructure. Her past research, entitled a "Decolonoscopy", took place at ICGC's partner university, University of the Western Cape. Now she is pursuing a PhD in Anthropology with a minor in American Indian Studies, and researching reciprocity and kinship relations, between horses, humans, and hay (soil/place/land) in the Northern Plains. She is a farmer, a florist, a forager, and a feisty Leo.

Sharma Pathak, Jaan

Visiting Scholar

Email Jaan

Jaan Sharma Pathak is an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellow (IDF) at the ICGC. He is a PhD student at the Department of Geography, Environment and Society at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities). As part of his doctoral research, he is studying floods in Assam (India) with a focus on the social and ecological impact of flood control measures. He plans to carry out fieldwork amongst government functionaries, experts, and riverine communities to understand how social, biophysical, technical, and political processes interact and produce flood landscapes. He will also focus on the role of infrastructure like dams and embankments in producing hazardscapes and unevenly distributing the risks associated with floods.


Jaan completed B. A (Hons) in History from St. Stephens College (University of Delhi, 2010-13). He also has a master’s degree in International History from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. During and after his master’s, Jaan worked with NGOs and other organizations on social and environmental issues like wetland conservations and the rehabilitation and resettlement of communities displaced by mining in India. Prior to commencing his PhD at UMN, Jaan worked for three years at Ashoka University (Sonepat) as a Critical Thinking and Writing Instructor.

See a list of Past Visiting Scholars.