Jigna Desai
desai003@umn.edu 612-624-0363

Jigna Desai is Professor in the Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies and the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Minnesota.  She has written extensively on issues of race, gender, and sexuality in media as well as issues of racial and gender disparities and social justice. Desai’s current research is on the social meaning of autism and the impact of neuroscience on our society. She has long been an advocate for underrepresented students and students of color within higher education.

Affiliations: Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Asian American Studies Program, American Studies, Asian Languages and Literatures, Liberal Arts: Moving Image Studies Graduate Minor


Tracey Deutsch
tdeutsch@umn.edu 612-624-8547

Tracey Deutsch: I teach, research, and write about gender and women’s history, the history of capitalism, critical food studies, and modern US history. I particularly enjoy looking at sites in which capitalism and gender systems intersect. My current project uses the life of Julia Child to ask how and why food, especially gourmet food, became so central to mid-20th century American life and politics. I have also written about the emergence of supermarkets (Building a Housewife’s Paradise: Gender, Government, and American Grocery Stores, 1919-1968) and have published essays on food and labor in The Oxford Handbook of Food History and in the Radical History Review. Although a committed historian, much of my work is informed by interdisciplinary collaborative endeavors. I, along with George Henderson (Geography) and Karen Ho (Anthropology), created the “Markets in Time” collaborative for studies of capitalism. More recently I have come to study food and agriculture through the AgriFood Collaborative and the Graduate Group in Food Studies. I have particular interests in the uses of historical narratives in contemporary food politics and in robust publicly engaged scholarship around issues of food justice.

Building a Housewife’s Paradise: Gender, Politics, and American Grocery Stores in the Twentieth Century

Affiliations: History, American Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Greg Donofrio
donofrio@umn.edu 612-626-1107

Greg Donofrio teaches in and is the director of the Master’s of Science in Architecture, Heritage Conservation and Preservation graduate program. His research explores the history, theory, economics, and feasibility of historic preservation in the United States. He also has strong academic interests in the history of food system planning, social equity, and diversity and inclusion. His research into the history of food system planning is building toward a larger book-length publication on the functional preservation of historic food markets—the subject of his doctoral dissertation.

Professor Donofrio also has experience as a preservation practitioner and volunteer. His prior positions include: Director of Research at Preservation Design Works (PVN) from 2012 to 2015, Board of Directors for the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota from 2009 to 2014, and Conservation Intern at Jablonski Berkowitz Conservation, Inc. in 1999. From 2000 to 2003, Donofrio worked at the New York State Historic Preservation Office where he reviewed New York City building restoration and rehabilitation projects for compliance with state and federal historic preservation laws. He also coordinated the federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program for New York City including the exterior restoration of Gordon Bunshaft’s Lever House and Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict Building, among many others.


Cornell University—College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Ithaca, NY
Ph.D. City and Regional Planning, 2009

Cornell University—College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Ithaca, NY
Master of Arts in Historic Preservation Planning, 2001

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Bachelor of Arts with departmental honors; thesis with distinction, 1998
Major: History of Science & Technology; Minor: American History

Research Expertise
  • History and Theory of Historic Preservation
  • Historic Preservation Policy, United States
  • 20th Century US Urban Planning History
  • Financial Incentives for Historic Preservation
  • Community Engaged Historic Preservation
  • “Feeding the City,” republication in Vol. IV of Urban Landscape: Critical Concepts in the Built Environment, edited by Anita Berrizbeitia (London: Routledge, 2015), 270-287.
  • “Attacking Distribution: Obsolescence and Efficiency of Food Markets in the Age of Urban Renewal,” Journal of Planning History 13, no. 2 (October 21, 2013): 136-159.
  • Greg Donofrio and Meghan Elliott, “Understanding the ‘World’s Largest’ All Reinforced-Concrete Office Building,” APT Bulletin: Journal of Preservation Technology 44, no. 2-3 (2013): 23-33.
  • “Feeding the City,” republication in “The Best of Gastronomica,” Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture 13, no. 1 (spring 2013): 54-65.
  • “Gender Realignment: The Design and Marketing of Gas Stations for Women,” in The Rise of Marketing and Market Research, edited by Hartmut Berghoff, Philip Scranton, and Uwe Spiekermann (Palgave Macmillan, Nov., 2012).
  • “Preservation by Adaptation: Is it Sustainable?” Change over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment 2, no. 2 (fall 2012): 106-131.
  • “Urban Planning, the Natural Environment, and Public Health,” invited submission with Nancy Wells, Ph.D. (Cornell University), Encyclopedia of Environmental Health, edited by Jerome Nriagu, Elsevier, 2011

rhanson2@d.umn.edu (218) 726-6889

Randy Hanson: I am trained in American Environmental Studies with a broad interest in sustainability, regional food and agricultural systems, global ecology and its regional manifestations, and institutional change/stability in relation to the global climate and ecological crisis.

I teach in the Department of Geography, Urban, Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  I am a Fellow at the Institute on the Environment; I am also the 2017-2018 Senior Fellow, Endowed Chair in Agricultural Systems (both at the University of Minnesota, TC).  I founded and direct the UMD Land Lab and SAP Farm, a thirty acre landscape scale farm/lab devoted to distributed food, water, energy and biodiversity action research (www.umdlandlab.org).

Currently my research follows two interrelated strands. First, I am examining theoretical and practical aspirations related to building regionally integrated foodsheds in the Western Lake Superior bioregion.  Much of this work is reflected in the UMD Land Lab, whose broad goal is to leverage the social, cultural and scientific resources of UMD to reclaim agriculture as a key driver of regional sustainability, as a response to global ecological change, and as a synergistic way to address key regional social and ecological challenges of our time.

Secondly, I am interested in ways that global social ecological changes, often encapsulated in the concept of the Anthropocene, are manifesting in conflicts and conversations at various scales related to natural resources, sustainability, and emerging social and political movements.  Responses to the Anthropocene on the part of diverse constituencies oscillate between a proverbial ‘race for what’s left’ (of a carbon fueled industrial praxis) and a ‘race for what’s next’ (decentralized post carbon futures).

Earlier in my career I focused on the politics of nuclear waste as shifting political economies of a post Cold War framework confronted the interminable waste of the American Century.

Lorena Muñoz
lmunoz@umn.edu 612-624-2191

Lorena Muñoz’s Affiliations are in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, American Studies, Chicano & Latino Studies, and Geography, Environment and Society

Educational Background: PhD: Geography, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2008.




  • Food, Health and Labor: (Im)migrant Agency in the Production of Informal Economic Systems in Colombia, Mexico and the United States: University of Minnesota- Global Spotlight Faculty International Research Major Grant, 2012 – 2014
  • Queer, Gendered and Brown: (Re)Producing Latina/o Immigrant Informal Work in Los Angeles: University of Minnesota:IDEA-Multicultural Research Proposal, 2012 – 2013
  • Grant in Aid: Recovering Public Space: Violence, Migration and Informal Vending in Bogota, Colombia., 2015 – 2016
  • IMAGINE grant: Recetas de Familia: Food, ‘Place’ and Race in a U.S. Female Federal Prison., 2016 – 2017
  • Munoz, L. (2016). Entangled Sidewalks: Queer Street Vendors in Los Angeles. Professional Geographer, 68(2), 302-308. DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2015.1069126
  • Munoz, L. (2016). Agency, Choice and Restrictions in Producing Latina/o Street Vending Landscapes in Los Angeles. Area. DOI: 12266
  • Munoz, L. (2016). Bar Tasco: Latina Immigrant Vendor’s Mestiza Consciousness. Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, 16(1).
  • Munoz, L. (2015). Selling Memory and Nostalgia in the Barrio: Mexican and Central American Women (Re)Create Street Vending Spaces in Los Angeles. In Street Vending in the Neoliberal City: A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy . (pp. 101-117). Berghahn Books.
  • Muñoz, L. (2013). From street child care to drive-throughs: Latinas reconfigure and negotiate street vending spaces in Los Angeles. In Immigrant Women Workers in the Neoliberal Age. (pp. 133-143). University of Illinois Press.
  • Munoz, Lorena (2012) “Latina Immigrants Street Vendors: Photo-documenting Sidewalks from Back “˜Home’.“ SRO Journal 17 (2) 21.
  • Munoz, Lorena (2010) “Brown, Queer and Gendered: Queering the Latina/o ‘Street-Scapes’ in Los Angeles“ in Queer Methods and Methodologies Edited by Kath Browne and Catherine J. Nash. Ashgate Press, UK.


Virajita Singh is a Senior Research Fellow in the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture, College of Design. She leads CSBR’s sustainable design assistance program that engages students from the College of Design to help communities, non-profits and local governments interested in implementing sustainable goals. Virajita had been awarded two fellowships for the year 2009 – 2010. Through the Buckman Fellowship in Leadership and Philanthropy Virajita is working to raise funds for communities that need sustainable design services. Through the Multicultural Teaching and Learning Fellowship, Virajita is developing ways to deepen the integration social, economic and environmental sustainability in CSBR’s sustainable design assistance work. Virajita’s vision is to partner in, assist and help accelerate the transformation currently underway of Minnesota’s communities towards sustainability, one community at a time.

Virajita has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Mumbai, India, a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota and is a LEED accredited professional. Outside research and teaching in architecture and sustainability, Virajita passion lies in areas of social justice, culture, sacred spaces, and the arts. She volunteers regularly at a local homeless shelter with her spiritual community. Virajita is a Collection-in-Focus Guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for the museum’s Arts of China collection and pursues her own emerging art practice.

Catherine Squires

Catherine R. Squires is Professor of Communication Studies and Director of the Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality Studies Initiative (RIGS) at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Squires’ work investigates the interactions between social identities, media discourses, and publics. She is the author of Dispatches from the Color Line (SUNY, 2007) and African Americans and the Media (Polity, 2009). Her most recent book, The Post-racial Mystique (NYU Press, 2014), explores how a variety of media—the news, network television, and online, independent media—debate, define and deploy the term “post-racial” in their representations of American politics and society.

Dr. Squires is also a member of the UROC Generation NEXT Fellows, a team of faculty working on practical, locally-grounded ways to address educational inequity in Minnesota.  Visit UROC’s website for more information.

She is also engaged in a long-term partnership with Gordon Parks High School in St. Paul, where she and teams of U of M students work with teachers and students to create publicly-oriented media that explores the history and future development of the Frogtown and Rondo neighborhoods. Visit the Minnesota Historical Society website for more information.

Transitions–University Project with GPHS & MNHS

Affiliations: Communication Studies, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, African American & African Studies, Journalism and Mass Communication, School of, and Liberal Arts: RIGS