Project Team

Andrew Urban is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His forthcoming book, Brokering Servitude (NYU Press, 2018), examines how immigration policies shaped labor markets for domestic service. His next project will explore the history of Seabrook Farms, a frozen foods agribusiness and company town in southern New Jersey that recruited interned Japanese Americans, guestworkers from the British West Indies, and European refugees during the 1940s. Andy’s writing has appeared in the Journal of Asian American Studies, Journal of Policy History, Gender and History, and American Studies.

As a teacher and practitioner of the digital and public humanities, Andy has been involved in a number of curatorial projects at Rutgers. His exhibit, Chinese Exclusion in New Jersey: Immigration Law in the Past and Present, curated with Rutgers undergraduates in an immigration history course, uses original records from the National Archives to examine how restrictive policies had an impact on Chinese communities in New Jersey. Under Andy’s leadership, Rutgers has been a founding member and participant in the Guantánamo Public Memory Project and its successor, the Humanities Action Lab (HAL). Most recently, Andy worked with the Rutgers Libraries and the New Jersey Digital Highway to curate the digital exhibition: “Invisible Restraints: Life and Labor at Seabrook Farms,” which was completed as part of the States of Incarceration project that HAL organized. Andy has led and guest lectured at the New Jersey Council for the Humanities summer teacher workshops, and has overseen a number of pedagogical projects focused on using local historic sites to tell global histories.

Beth Shalom Hessel is the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia, the national archives for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). She holds a PhD in History from Texas Christian University. Her dissertation focused on church-state issues in the WWII federal Japanese American incarceration camps. She has published articles, blogs, and primary document essays on this topic and is currently working on a short history of American Presbyterianism and another on Presbyterian missions for Westminster John Knox as well as a manuscript based on her doctoral research.

Rachel Feinmark is a historian of 20th century US labor, religion, and human rights. Currently the Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, she works to bring the personal stories and struggles of immigrants and refugees – both past and present – to the national stage. She holds an MPhil in anthropology from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in American History from the University of Chicago. She is currently at work on her first book, “Belabored Justice: American Labor, American Jews, and the Search for Human Rights.”


Justin Jackson is a historian of the United States, the United States in the World, and global history. He teaches courses introducing students to historical thought and methods and American and global history, and has taught previously at New York University. His book, The Work of Empire: The U.S. Army and the Making of American Colonialisms in Cuba and the Philippines, is currently under contract with University of North Carolina Press. His writings have appeared in Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, the International Labor and Working-Class History Review, and On Coerced Labor: Work and Compulsion After Slavery (Brill, 2016), a volume edited by Marcel van der Linden and Magaly Rodriguez.

Kayo Denda is the Head of the Margery Somers Foster Center and Women’s Studies Librarian at Rutgers University Libraries.  She is the liaison librarian to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department and affiliated institutes and centers. Her research interests are in collection development of ephemera, archives of immigrant women and women’s education. Her co-authored book Douglass Century: Transformation of the Women’s College at Rutgers University will be published by Rutgers University Press in 2018. She has MLS and MA in women’s and gender studies from Rutgers University and BS in architecture and urbanism from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.