Leadership and Staff

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Interim Director

Stephen Small
small [at] berkeley.edu

Stephen SmallStephen Small is Interim Director of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues and Professor of African American Studies. He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology at UC Berkeley, where he was a graduate student trainee in what is now ISSI’s Graduate Fellows Program. His teaching focuses primarily on African Americans in the post-Civil Rights period, but he necessarily makes comparisons with earlier periods and with other racial and ethnic groups in the contemporary period. His current research is organized around the social scientific analysis of contemporary racial formations and addresses links between historical structures and contemporary manifestations of racial formations in the United States and elsewhere in the African Diaspora. Axes of stratification shaped by gender, gender/race intersections, and by class and nation are central to his work. His publications include numerous journal articles and chapters in edited volumes. He is co-editor of Global Mixed RaceNew Perspectives on Slavery and Colonialism in the Caribbean, and Black Europe and the African Diaspora. His most recent book, 20 Questions and Answers on Black Europe, was published January, 2018. His next book is tentatively entitled: “Inside the Shadows of the Big House: 21st Century Antebellum Slave Cabins and Heritage Tourism in Louisiana”, to be published in 2021.  He is currently co-writing a book (with Dr. Kwame Nimako) on Public History, Museums and Slavery in England and the Netherlands.


Associate Director

Deborah Freedman Lustig
dlustig [at] berkeley.edu

Deborah Freedman LustigDeborah Freedman Lustig is a cultural anthropologist whose research has focused on gender and education in the United States and Kenya, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2004-5. Lustig earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. Her articles about teenage mothers have been published in the journals Anthropology and Education Quarterly and Childhood and in the edited volume Childhood, Youth, and Social Work in Transformation:  Implications for Policy and Practice (Columbia University Press, 2009). Her recent research on risk and violence among young adults coming of age in Oakland, California has been published in Children and Youth Services Review and in the edited volume Education and the Risk Society: Theories, Discourse, and Risk Identities in Education Contexts (Sense Publishers 2012) and is available here. From 2006-2011 Lustig coordinated the research and training activities of the Center on Culture, Immigration, and Youth Violence Prevention, a project of the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. In addition to helping direct the overall research mission of the Institute, she is the Academic Coordinator for the ISSI research centers, as well one of the Co-Directors of the Graduate Fellows Program.  To read more about Dr. Lustig click here.


Administrative Manager

Maxwell Vanderwarker
maxwellvan [at] berkeley.edu

Photo of Maxwell VanderwarkerMaxwell Vanderwarker is the Administrative Manager for ISSI. He received his BA in English from UC Berkeley, where he was involved in LGBT+ leadership with Oscar Wilde House as Network Manager and Social Coordinator.  After graduation, he moved into Human Resources and worked with different small tech startups in the Bay Area. He most recently was an HR Generalist for Berkeley Regional Services and College of Natural Resources. He is the Technical Coordinator for LavenderCal, the LGBT staff and faculty organization, and lives with his husband and cat in Oakland. 






Graduate Fellows Program Co-Director

David Minkus
minkus [at] berkeley.edu

David MinkusDavid Minkus has been a Research Associate and Co-Director of the Graduate Fellows Program at the Institute for more than three decades. He is currently engaged in preliminary research on access to employment and training within the informal economies of Latino ethnic enclaves.  Over the past fifteen years he has worked in research, training and consultant positions involved in design and evaluation of programs targeting at-risk youth and their families in school, after school, and community settings. He completed a one-year study of “Best Practices among Youth Serving Programs in Berkeley (2003-04),” for the City of Berkeley.  David is also the principal author (with Michael Omi) of an Evaluation of the Young Entrepreneurs at Haas School of Business’ (YEAH) Program for Bay Area high school students. David has also engaged in extensive research on travel behavior and social impacts of transportation systems within the Bay Area.  He was principal author of a variety of studies of travel behavior patterns and barriers to use of public transportation.  These include studies of the impacts of BART on Bay Area lifestyles and social institutions; the Golden Gate Park Users Transportation Surveys; and the San Francisco Downtown Shoppers Survey.  He was also principal author of the market feasibility study for the MUNI Market Street Historic Railcars.

Computer Specialist

Charles Brown  
captcb [at] berkeley.edu

Student Assistants

Amy Vuong, Events Assistant

Tiffany Wong, Communications Assistant

Karla Zamora

Advisory Board

Jane Mauldon (Chair), Associate Professor of Public Policy, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley

Neil Fligstein, Class of 1939 Chancellor's Professor of Sociology

Amani M. Allen (formerly Nuru-Jeter), Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Community Health Sciences

Michael Omi, Associate Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies

In addition to the Advisory Board, ISSI relies on the Faculty Leadership Council, listed here.


Photos of Deborah Lustig and David Minkus by Keegan Houser

Institute for the Study of Societal Issues
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