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Shonna Trinch, Ph.D., Professor, is a sociolinguist in the Department of Anthropology at John Jay College. Her research has examined social justice issues at the intersection of language law, and gender violence. Her first book, Latinas’ Narratives of Domestic Abuse: Discrepant Versions of Violence, examines how women and sociolegal professionals collaborate and conflict in the construction of legally and linguistically viable narratives in their pursuit of justice. She has published this work in various top-tiered journals. Currently, her focus on violence against women (and others) has been directed towards this engaged public anthropology project, Seeing Rape. This collaborative work with her friend and colleague, Barbara Cassidy celebrates John Jay College students’ writing and creativity by bringing what they learn about sexualized violence to the stage. Seeing Rape has been seen by more than 8,500 people in the theater, and it has more than 100,000 views online. The program has promoted the work of more than 160 John Jay College undergraduates. This year will be its 11th production. Recently, Professor Trinch published an award-winning book with Professor Edward Snajdr called, What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification and Place-Making in Brooklyn (Vanderbilt University Press). This book is based on their extensive research on the changes Brooklyn has undergone over the past two decades, and it was funded by the National Science Foundation. In their book, they examine how race, class, gender, ethnicity, privilege, and justice get deployed in the language and design of Brooklyn’s commercial storefronts, and the larger contexts of gentrification, urban redevelopment and placemaking in cities.


Barbara Cassidy received her MFA Playwriting from Brooklyn College. Her play, Interim, (nominated for the Barrie Stavis Award) premiered at SMU (Dallas) in March 2012, and is published in the anthology, New Downtown Now. Her work has been seen in New York at The Flea Theatre, Playwrights’ Horizons, Little Theatre at Dixon Place, The New York International Fringe Festival, JACK and Bric Studios. She is a 2015 MacDowell Fellow and was a 2010-2011 LMCC Workspace Artist. She has received grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, is an affiliated artist with New Georges, and teaches as an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She teaches the class Seeing Rape with Shonna Trinch which looks at ideas, actions, uses, and depictions of rape in our world.

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