New senate faculty 2022

Three senate faculty have joined the UCI School of Humanities this fall with appointments in the Departments of Art History, History and Comparative Literature. Their research topics include modern design in South Korea, transnational social movements, and native traditions in colonial Mexico.

Please join us in welcoming:

Gabrielle Jung, assistant professor, Department of Art History

Seungyeon Gabrielle Jung joins us from Stanford University, where she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities and a lecturer in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Jung's research examines the politics and aesthetics of design, particularly the confluence of modernism and developmentalism in the postwar Korean context. Her reading of design objects and practices challenges the widely accepted understanding of “design as problem-solving,” which envisions the developing world as a series of problems to be “solved” by Western methods. She is currently working on her first book, “Toward a Utopia Without Revolution,” in which she looks at the political and aesthetic problems that modern design created in South Korea. Jung also writes on the issue of feminism and design for the Korean audience. 

Jung received her Ph.D. in modern culture and media from Brown University. Before Brown, she earned an M.A. and B.A. in English, as well as a B.F.A. in visual information design from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea.

Fun fact: Gabrielle believes grumpy old cats are the perfect beings and she lives with one.

Kevan Aguilar, assistant professor, Department of History

Kevan Antonio Aguilar joins us from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History. He is currently working on his book manuscript, “Revolutionary Encounters: Race, Ideology, and Exile in Mexico and Spain,” which explores the proliferation of transnational communitarian traditions between Mexico’s laboring classes and political refugees of the Spanish Civil War. His research interests include transnational social movements, race formation, migration and working-class culture in 20th century Mexico. He is also working on a second book-length project that chronicles interactions between Mexican and Mexican American anarchists from the 1920s through the 1970s. Aguilar’s research has received support from the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Social Science Research Council and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His work has been published in the Journal of Latin American Studies, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mexican History and Culture (Oxford University Press, 2018), and the edited volume Wobblies of the World: A Global History of the IWW (Pluto Press, 2017).

Aguilar received his Ph.D. in Latin American history and M.A. in Latin American studies from the University of California, San Diego. Prior to graduate school, he received his B.A. in history from California State University after transferring from Riverside City College.

Fun fact: Kevan has played in punk bands in the Southern California area for over 20 years. His current band, Vacancy, recently released a new record in April 2022.

David Colmenares, assistant professor, Department of Comparative Literature

David Horacio Colmenares, born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, joins us from Boston University, where he was a Moorman Simon assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American studies. His work investigates the intersections of early modern European antiquarianism, Spanish humanism and native traditions in colonial Mexico. More broadly, he is interested in the circulation of knowledge and visual culture between colonial Mexico and other Iberian territories and the role of Indigenous elites in the interpretation of the pre-Columbian past. Recently, he has also turned his attention to the study of largely forgotten, 19th century Indigenous intellectuals in Mexico. He is currently working on two book projects: a hermeneutical history of Aztec pantheon in the 16th and 17th centuries and a study of the reception of Aztec poetry in the 19th century. His publications have appeared in the Colonial Latin American Review and the Hispanic American Historical Review. In addition, he is a member of the international research project “Itineraries Around an Artifact: the Vatican Codex 3738 and the Intellectual Spheres of the Sixteenth Century” (UNAM / La Sapienza), the first meeting of which will take place at the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

After living and studying in Spain and Belgium, where he earned an M.A. in philosophy, Colmenares earned his Ph.D. in Latin American and Iberian studies from Columbia University.

Fun Fact: Shortly prior to starting graduate school in New York, David did a short stint as a TV screenwriter at an advertising firm in Mexico City. One of his TV commercials, which promoted the use of reliable statistics by showcasing popular (and dubious) home remedies in Mexico, was awarded best ad of the year. Unfortunately, the producer kept his plastic trophy.

Art History
Comparative Literature