Ideas and Futures:  A Collaborative for Just and Vibrant Societies is a non-profit dedicated to fostering collaborative, international intellectual and creative approaches to contemporary crises of polity, society, democracy and imagination in relation to ongoing struggles for dignity, freedom and sustainability.  We believe that the humanities are vital to these discussions and advocate vigorously for their capacity to contribute to the most pressing social questions, urgencies and debates.  We value and encourage experimental work that crosses boundaries of media, discipline and nations.

We hold seminars on a variety of topics spanning the arts and literature, social transformation, migration, international cooperation, labor and the quality of life, as well as environmental and economic sustainability.  We also foster collaborative research groups comprising academics, artists, activists and anyone who wants to think collaboratively on a number of themes especially social justice, equality, citizenship and the role of arts and humanities in society, and enable collaborations between national and international scholars, artists, activists and thinkers.  We are proud to be part of a large group of advisors and collaborators committed to such work.

The Ideas and Futures e-platform is open-source dedicated to making such work available to all.



a group of American and international scholars, subject specialists, activists, writers and artists.

Ayad Akhtar (Writer)

Photograph Credit: Vincent Tullo

Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. His work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Ayad is the author of Homeland Elegies (Little, Brown & Co.), which The Washington Post called “a tour de force” and The New York Times selected as a Top 10 Book of 2020, calling it “pitch-perfect…virtuosic.” His first novel, American Dervish (Little, Brown & Co.), was published in over 20 languages. As a playwright, he has written Junk (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Kennedy Prize for American Drama, Tony nomination); Disgraced (Lincoln Center, Broadway; Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony nomination); The Who & The What (Lincoln Center); and The Invisible Hand (NYTW; Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, Olivier, and Evening Standard nominations). Among other honors, Akhtar is the recipient of the Steinberg Playwrighting Award, the Nestroy Award, the Erwin Piscator Award, as well as fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, MacDowell, the Sundance Institute, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. Additionally, Ayad is a Board Trustee at New York Theatre Workshop and PEN America, where he serves as President.

Osseina D. Alidou (Rutgers University-New Brunswick)

Ousseina D. Alidou is Professor in the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University. She is a theoretical linguist and cultural critic. Her books include: Engaging Modernity: Muslim Women and the Politics of Agency in Postcolonial Niger (a runner-up Aidoo-Schneider Book Prize of Women's Caucus of the Association of African Studies); Muslim Women in Postcolonial Kenya: Leadership, Representation, Political and Social Change; Writing through the Visual and Virtual: Inscribing Language, Literature, and Culture in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean co-edited with Renée Larrier; Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Africa with Ahmed Sikainga and A Thousand Flowers: Social Struggles Against Structural Adjustment in African Universities, co-edited with Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis. Professor Alidou is the recipient of several national and international scholarly and service awards and currently serves as ASA Vice President. Her other previous appointments and services include: Chair of the All African Studies Programs (USA) (2009-2011) and Director of the Center for African Studies at Rutgers University (2009-Spring2015). She currently serves as a Senior Faculty Advisor to UNESCO BREDA’s Gender and Transformative Leadership Curriculum Design for African Universities and Civil Society.

Paul Amar (UCSB)

Director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies and Professor at the Department of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a political scientist and anthropologist who speaks seven languages and has published in nine languages. He holds affiliate appointments in Feminist Studies, Sociology, Comparative Literature, Middle East Studies, and Latin American & Iberian Studies, and has been awarded two Fulbright Fellowships in the past. Before he began his academic career, he worked as a journalist in Cairo, a police reformer and sexuality-rights activist in Rio de Janeiro, and as a conflict-resolution and economic development specialist at the United Nations. His books include: Cairo Cosmopolitan (2006); New Racial Missions of Policing (2010); Global South to the Rescue (2011); Dispatches from the Arab Spring (2013); and The Middle East and Brazil (2014). His book The Security Archipelago was awarded the Charles Taylor Award for "Best Book of the Year" in 2014 by the American Political Science Association.

Nancy Cantor (Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark)

Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Rutgers University–Newark, is recognized nationally and internationally for emphasizing the role of universities as anchor institutions in their communities, especially by forging diverse, cross-sector collaboratives and leveraging publicly engaged scholarship to advance racial equity and equitable growth. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and member of the National Academy of Medicine, she previously led Syracuse University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and was provost at the University of Michigan, where she was closely involved in the defense of affirmative action in 2003 Supreme Court cases Grutter and Gratz.

Belinda Davis (Rutgers University-New Brunswick)

Belinda Davis is professor of History and Director of the Rutgers Center for European Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is author or co-editor of four books, including her forthcoming The Internal Life of Politics: Extraparliamentary Opposition in West Germany, 1962-1983 (CUP), and several dozen articles, on themes including popular politics and social movements; conceptions of democracy and how change takes place; gender; history of everyday life; oral history, memory, and emotion; urban history; transnational history; policing, violence, and terror; and consumption. Her graduate students have completed or are completing dissertations on topics ranging from Turkish “guestworkers” in West Germany, to identities in German-Polish and German-Czech borderlands, to sexualities in twentieth-century Germany and Hungary, to Holocaust survivors’ memory and resettlement, to “lived ideologies” (antifascism, socialism) in the postwar Germanies and Europe. She is currently co-editing the anthology Social Movements After ’68: West Germany and Beyond (under revision for Berghahn Press) and working on the collection of interviews Precarity and Change: Poverty and Homelessness in COVID Philadelphia.

Niilofur Farrukh

Niilofur Farrukh is a Karachi based art interventionist whose work has expanded the space for art publication, curation and public art in Pakistan. Primarily motivated by issues of decolonization and the interactivity between political ideology and visual narrative, her writing has focused on interdisciplinary connections that keep getting lost in Pakistan’s tangled cultural and political matrix. Her books include A Beautiful Despair - The Art and Life Of Meher Afroz and Pioneering Perspectives, and the co-edited Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade: An Informal Cultural History of the 1970s. Her columns have appeared in the Pakistani Critical Space (Gallery, Daily Dawn) and Art Speak (Newsline) and Herald. She has served on the Board of the International Art Critics Association as Vice President and is currently Managing Trustee of Karachi Biennale Trust and CEO of the Karachi Biennale.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. (Writer and Activist)

Bill Fletcher, Jr. has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice; and the author of ‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions. Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

Laura Harris (NYU)

Laura Harris is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and Art & Public Policy. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University, an M.A. from the New School for Social Research, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Harris’s research interests include film, media and visual studies, hemispheric American studies, black studies, and feminist and queer studies. She is the author of Experiments in Exile: C. L. R. James, Hélio Oiticica and the Aesthetic Sociality of Blackness . She has also published in Social Text, Women & Performance, Criticism, The South Atlantic Quarterly and other journals.

Bilal Hashmi (University of Toronto)

Bilal Hashmi is Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream) of Urdu at the University of Toronto, where he obtained his BA and MA in English before pursuing advanced studies in comparative literature at New York University. He is the Executive Director and Publisher of Quattro Books (Toronto). President of the Literary Translators’ Association of Canada / Association des traducteurs et traductrices littéraires du Canada, he also serves as translators’ representative on the Public Lending Rights Commision of Canada. Since 2018, he has been a member of the editorial board of the bilingual literary translation magazine, ellipse. His annotated English translation of Aziz Ahmad’s modernist Urdu novel Flight (Gurez; 1945) is forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s University Press. Current translation projects include a selection of Kabir’s Hindi poetry, as well as an experimental novel each by Jacques Godbout and Reza Baraheni (from the French and Persian, respectively).

Hasan Karrar (LUMS)

Hasan Karrar is an Associate Professor in the humanities and social sciences program at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan. He trained as a specialist of China and Central Asia, and in recent years has been building expertise on the Karakoram mountain region of north Pakistan. Hasan’s recent research appears in relevant peer-reviewed journals and is variously focused on new spatial configurations and changing connectivity, particularly in Asia; development, infrastructure, and securitization; small traders and bazaars. His earlier work had appeared as The New Silk Road Diplomacy: China’s Central Asian Foreign Policy since the Cold War from UBC Press in 2010.

John Keene (Rutgers University-Newark)

John Keene is the author and co-author of a handful of books, including the award-winning collection Counternarratives and the forthcoming collection Punks, and has received many honors, including a 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize and a 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. His translation projects include poetry, fiction and essays from Portuguese, French and Spanish, among them the Brazilian writer Hilda Hilst's novel Letters from a Seducer. He chairs the Department of African American and African Studies, is Distinguished Professor of English and African American Studies, and also teaches in the Rutgers-Newark MFA in Creative Writing Program, at Rutgers University-Newark.

Biju Matthew (Rider University, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, India Civil Watch)

Biju is Secretary, National Taxi Workers Alliance (AFLCIO), a co-founder of India Civil Watch International (New York) and Lamakaan (Hyderabad). His political and intellectual work follows three vectors — neoliberalism, especially its four decades of reorganization of work, diasporic right wings, especially Hindu nationalism and finally questions of internationalism, new left movements and political strategy. He is author of Taxi! Cabs and Capitalism in New York City (Cornell, 2008) and several other popular and academic essays. He is Associate Professor of Information Systems and American Studies at Rider University, NJ.

Mora McLean (Independent Historian)

Mora McLean is an independent historian and program strategist and president emerita of the Africa-America Institute (AAI), a non-profit that promotes education for and about Africa and the worldwide African Diaspora. She is editor of West African Youth Challenges and Opportunity Pathways (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), a collection that examines obstacles that impede, and potential pathways to improve, the material and psychological well-being of youth in and from West Africa. Her research explores the projection of American cultural and ideological understandings of “progress” and “development” onto the Caribbean and the African continent through the eighteenth and twentieth centuries.

Fred Moten (NYU)

Fred Moten is Professor in the Department of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts. He teaches courses and conducts research in black studies, performance studies, poetics and critical theory. He is author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition; Hughson’s Tavern; B. Jenkins; The Feel Trio; The Little Edges; The Service Porch and a three-volume collection of essays whose general title is consent not to be a single being and All that Beauty). He is co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study and A Poetics of the Undercommons and, with Wu Tsang, of Who touched me?. He has served on several editorial boards and as a member of the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine and on the board of directors of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, CUNY. He is winner of the MacArthur Genius Award.

Andrew Perrin (UNC, Chapel Hill)

Andrew J. Perrin, Ph.D., is a cultural and political sociologist focusing on culture and technology in US politics. His research considers the construction of public opinion, political deliberation, and media. He is author, coauthor, or translator of five books, including most recently American Democracy: From Tocqueville to Town Halls to Twitter (Polity, 2014). He is currently Ruel W. Tyson Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dimitris Plantzos (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

Dimitris Plantzos is Professor of classical archaeology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. His research interests include Greek art and archaeology, archaeological theory, and classical reception. He has authored numerous books and articles, including Hellenistic Engraved Gems and, more recently, Greek Art and Archaeology, 1200-30 BC and The Art of Painting in Ancient Greece. He was co-editor of the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Greek Art. He is director of the Argos Orestikon Excavation Project and an associate editor for the Journal of Greek Media and Culture.

Samah Selim (Rutgers University, New Brunswick)

Samah Selim is a scholar and award-winning translator of Arabic literature based between the United States and Egypt. She is the author of Popular Fiction, Translation and the Nahda in Egypt (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019). Her most recent translation is Arwa Salih’s The Stillborn: Notebooks of a Woman from the Student Movement Generation in Egypt (Seagull Books, 2018). In 2018 Selim won a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Grant to translate Jordanian author Ghalib Halasa’s semi-autobiographical novel Sultana (1987) into English. During the Egyptian uprising of 2011 Selim was a member of the Mosireen video collective translators’ unit and she is a founding member of the Cairo-based Turjoman translators’ collective. She currently teaches at Rutgers University’s Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures.

Phevos Simeonidis (Disinfaux Collective, Refugee Activist)

Phevos Simeonidis is a researcher and human rights activist from Athens, Greece. Since 2015 he has been involved in the refugee solidarity struggles in the Balkans. He also is an MA graduate from the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London) where he also completed his internship with Forensic Architecture. He is currently the acting director of the Disinfaux Collective with his work focusing on far/alt-right narrative creation and performativity online, militarized border regimes, and human rights violations in the external borders of the EU.

Soili Smith (Rutgers University-Newark)

Soili Smith is a PhD Candidate in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Her research concerns neoliberalism, refugees, and the aesthetic dimensions and state performance of ‘refuge’ in settler colonies. She is also a writer of fiction and poetry, with publications in Ideas & Futures, Joyland, Minola Review, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers University-Newark, a BA in Literature and Creative Writing from Concordia University in Montreal, and a BSc in Biology from the University of Northern British Columbia. In the academic off-season she lives in northern BC, where she works in forestry and silviculture.

Eleni Takou (Human Rights 360)

Eleni Takou is co-founder and Deputy Director of the Greek NGO HumanRights360 She has worked in the Advocacy and Programs sector of several NGOs. During 2015, she served as Chief of Staff of the Minister for Migration Policy in Greece. Prior to this, she has been coordinating the Racist Violence Recording Network, a coalition of CSOs under the auspices of the UNHCR Office in Greece and the Greek National Commission for Human Rights. She has also been a consultant on issues of statelessness for UNHCR Greece. Her work is focused on refugee protection, migration, hate crime, strategic communication and anti racism advocacy. She is co-writer of the book Persistent Myths about Migration in Greece and co-editor of the book X Them Out - The Black Map of Racist Violence