Melissa M. Valle is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology and the Department of African American & African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. She is also a core faculty member in the Global Urban Studies program. Her current book project is an ethnography exploring how people determine who is worthy of occupying contested space in a gentrifying neighborhood in Cartagena, Colombia. She has also conducted research on Afro-descendants living in Santiago, Chile, exploring the mechanisms that lead to reduced life chances for marginalized groups and how such groups negotiate stigma perspectives that suggest their identities have been devalued. Her broad research interests include: race and ethnicity, urban and spatial sociology, visual culture and cultural sociology, value and evaluation, the African diaspora (with a focus on Latin America), ethnographic and visual methods, social movements, and sexual labor. Prior to completing her Ph.D., Melissa spent ten years working with youth in various capacities, most recently as a New York City Teaching Fellow on the Lower East Side. She has also worked in the field of public policy and community development in Harlem and has served on the board of the afrolatin@ forum since 2011. For more information visit melissavalle.com.