SHORT BIO (academic)
Celina Su is the Marilyn J. Gittell Chair in Urban Studies and a Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York. Her publications include Streetwise for Book Smarts: Grassroots Organizing and Education Reform in the Bronx (Cornell University Press) and pieces in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, n+1, and elsewhere. Her work focuses on everyday struggles for collective governance, centering economic democracy and racial justice. She has received several distinguished fellowships, including a Berlin Prize and a Whiting Award for Excellence in Teaching.
SHORT BIO (poetry)
Celina Su was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and lives in Brooklyn, part of unceded Lenapehoking. Her first book of poetry, Landia, was published by Belladonna* in 2018. Her writing includes two poetry chapbooks, three books on the politics of social policy and civil society, and pieces in the New York Times Magazine, n+1, Harper’s, and elsewhere. Su is the Marilyn J. Gittell Chair in Urban Studies and a Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York.
Celina Su is the inaugural Marilyn J. Gittell Chair in Urban Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, as well as Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College. Her academic, pedagogical, and creative work focuses on everyday struggles for collective governance, centering economic democracy and racial justice. Grounded in specific struggles and with specific communities (e.g., in education organizing in the South Bronx, refugee public health in northwest Thailand, and participatory budgeting in New York City), Celina's work seeks to engage critical, bottom-up perspectives across geographical locales and disciplinary lines.
As an engaged scholar, Celina has published three books, including Streetwise for Book Smarts: Grassroots Organizing and Education Reform in the Bronx (Cornell University Press) and Our Schools Suck: Youth Talk Back to a Segregation Nation on the Failures of Urban Education (co-authored, NYU Press). She has been interviewed by media outlets such as NPR, PBS, the BBC, and The Nation, and her writing on political participation has appeared in venues such as Harper's Magazine and the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog. From 2015 to 2018, she served as Lead Co-Chair of the URBAN Research Network, a coalition of 1,800+ scholars and activists committed to community-based research, social change, and democratizing knowledge production. Celina has received several distinguished fellowships, including a Berlin Prize and a Whiting Award for Excellence in Teaching. She has served on NYC's participatory budgeting Steering Committee since its inception in 2011.
As a writer, Celina's debut full-length collection of poetry, Landia, was published by Belladonna* in 2018. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, n+1, Boston Review, and other journals. She has received numerous fellowships, including grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and Jerome Fund/ Community of Literary Magazines and Presses, and residencies at or scholarships from Ucross, Millay Colony, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and Bread Loaf. She is also the author of two poetry chapbooks, Plurality Decree (MIEL Books, 2015) and Beyond Relief (with Ariana Reines, Belladonna* Series, 2013).
She also co-founded Kwah Dao, the Burmese Refugee Project in 2000, and served first as Executive Director and then board member until 2016. Using a participatory model of community development, the Project helps over 200 Shan refugees in northwest Thailand access education, health, and legal services. She is especially proud that, as of 2020, some of the original Burmese refugee "kids" served by Kwah Dao now serve as Executive Director, Treasurer, and Lead Teacher.
Celina received a Ph.D. in Urban Studies from MIT. She was born in São Paulo, moved to the US in middle school, and lives with her family in Brooklyn, part of unceded Lenapehoking. She is fond of sending out new year's cards, talking to strangers, and cutting up paper.