Liam Mayes

Liam Mayes is Assistant Director of the Center for Transcultural Studies (Chicago and New York).

His research interests are firmly rooted in the humanities and include the conceptual and representational history of poverty, social and economic inequality, and the fantasy of meritocracy. His current book-length project, “The Broken Hermeneutics of American Poverty,” examines twentieth-century American ethnographies and argues that poverty, once a powerful means for understanding social and economic inequality, has lost its capacity to make the lives of those living on the lowest rungs of the socioeconomic ladder visible to those higher up.

Dr. Mayes has organized over 50 national and international conferences and symposia, most recently coordinating and teaching graduate courses at the 2023 It Takes a Movement summer school at the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). His multidisciplinary artwork has been exhibited in the U.S. and Germany.

Dr. Mayes was previously Visiting Assistant Professor in Communication and English at Tulane University. He earned his Ph.D. in the Rhetoric and Public Culture program at Northwestern University, where he was awarded the Best Graduate Dissertation Award and was the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award by the School of Communication. He also holds an M.A. in Art History and Communication Studies and a B.A. in Women's Studies and History from McGill University.

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