Mneesha Gellman



B.A. Bard College
M.A. University of Queensland
Ph.D. Northwestern University

Contact Information

Office: Walker 414B
Phone: 617-824-3869
mneesha_gellman [at] (E-Mail »)

Mneesha Gellman is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, at Emerson College, Boston, USA. Her research interests include comparative democratization, cultural rights movements, memory politics, and citizen formation in the Global South and the United States. 

Gellman's current research looks at how citizens are formed in the formal education sector and in community-run spaces organized around mother tongue and heritage language learning. She is beginning to work with statekholders in Northern California and Mexico to develop a five year study that will follow cohorts of students enrolled in Yurok, Spanish, Zapotec, and Huichol language classes at local high schools and community organizations in order to assess the effects of language learning on student experiences of civic, cultural, and political participation. 

Gellman's recent book, Democratization and Memories of Violence: Ethnic Minority Social Movements in Mexico, Turkey, and El Salvador (Routledge 2017) examined how ethnic minority communities use memories of violence in mobilizations for cultural rights, particularly the right to mother tongue education. She argues that violence-affected communities use memory-based narratives in order to shame states into cooperating with claims for cultural rights protections, and she shows that shaming and claiming is a social movement tactic that binds historic violence to contemporary citizenship.

Gellman's other earlier work investigated how museums and memorials serve as spaces that can integrate marginalized memories and identities into mainstream vernaculars. For example, her 2015 article in Third World Quarterly looked at the role of peace museums as alternative educational spaces in El Salvador and Sierra Leone (Spanish translation is available on the publications tab of this website).

Prior to joining the faculty at Emerson College, Gellman was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Käte Hamburger Kolleg, University of Duisburg-Essen, in Duisburg, Germany. She has published in journals such as Democratization, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, Asian Perspective, and Development in Practice. Gellman holds a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University, USA, and an MA in International Studies/Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland, Australia. She has lived, worked, and studied on six continents, and may skip Antarctica in this lifetime.

At Emerson, Gellman teaches the following courses in the Political Science, Global and Postcolonial Studies, and Latin American and LatinX Studies Minors:
PL223 The United States and Latin America
PL222 Human Rights
PL322 Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation
IN210 Introduction to Global Studies

(Photo credit: ©KHK/GCR21)

Global & Civic Engagement

  • 2016
  • Mneesha Gellman is the Director of the Emerson Prison Initiative, which is beginning to establish college-level educational programming at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord, a medium-security men's facility outside of Boston, in collaboration with the Bard Prison Initiative.


Human Rights
Intercultural Studies
International Politics
Latin American Politics
Political Science
Post-Conflict Reconstruction
Postcolonial Studies
Research Methodology
Turkish Politics