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Naliyah Kaya (TOTUS Spoken Word Experience Instructor) is a faculty member of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House at UMD and an Associate Professor of Sociology at Montgomery College. She previously served as the Coordinator for Multiracial & Native/Indigenous Student Involvement in the MICA Office at UMD (2013 – 2018) where she began facilitating the TOTUS Spoken Word Experience Program in 2014 and established a partnership with the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. TOTUS utilizes the medium of performance poetry to promote a greater understanding of social justice by examining self and society in relation to systems of power and oppression.  As a “poetic public sociologist,” Dr. Kaya infuses poetry and photography into her sociological work and courses. She began facilitating poetry classes as a volunteer in a local prison during college while also running an open mic in the greater Seattle area with friends. Dr. Kaya has hosted, planned, and facilitated numerous poetry events, courses, and workshops as well as presented and performed at conferences such as Split This Rock Poetry Festival, National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE), and Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS). 




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