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Tara Mock

Dr. Tara Mock

Dr. Tara Mock is an Assistant Professor in the Honor’s College at the University of Alabama (UA). Professor Mock joined UA from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Africana Studies and an affiliated faculty member in Asian Studies. Tara earned her PhD in African American and African Studies at Michigan State University (MSU) in 2018 where her research focused on Modern Africa, Africa-China relations, diaspora studies and public diplomacy. Prior to MSU, Professor Mock studied international Business at H.E.C. Paris, received a MALD in International Communication and International Political Economy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and earned a BA in the History of non-Western Developing Nations at Louisiana State University.

Dr. Mock is currently working on a book combining multimodal research methods with theories of diaspora, imagined community, and cultural political economy to situate her investigation into conceptualizations of selfhood and other between African and Chinese people within an Africana Studies framework. Dr. Mock is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana.


Varsha KoduvayurVarsha Koduvayur

I am currently a senior research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan research institute in Washington, D.C. focusing on foreign policy and national security, where I cover the Gulf States. Prior to coming to FDD, I was a researcher in the Middle East practice at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, and a junior fellow in the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In all three roles, I have used my Arabic language skills extensively, from reading Arabic books and articles to watching Arabic TV shows and mining Arabic-language social media. And FLAS made my Arabic language training possible, providing funding for the immersion year I spent in Meknes, Morocco. Indeed, FLAS funding was essential to making my capstone year in Morocco a reality, and the skills I gained from my study abroad – coupled with the education I received from James Madison College – have been essential to my career as a Middle East analyst.

I will always be grateful to MSU for the many opportunities it provided me, and to all of my wonderful professors and mentors for the support they gave me. And though DC may be far from the Mitten, the thriving DC Spartans community offers a home away from home and a chance to reminisce and rejoice about Michigan State. Go Green!