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Rakhshanda Saleem

Professor, Counseling and Psychology

Headshot of Rakhshanda Saleem

Rakhshanda’s scholarship and pedagogy is informed by a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective with a focus on the impact of structural and systemic violence. Her philosophical frameworks are embedded in decolonial, liberatory, and the emancipatory consciousness and the potential of grassroots and community-engaged movements. She is invested in solidarity organizing aimed at dismantling oppressive sociopolitical structural determinants of harm to individual and communal wellbeing and radical reimagining of alternatives to neoliberal and depoliticized theoretical models and wellness industry.  

Examples of her most recent scholarship include understanding issues facing disenfranchised migrant communities and learning about solidarity from the perspectives of impacted community members, activist, and organizers, exploring structural violence and its impact on “undocumented” Latinos (as) immigrants, Muslims (immigrants and non-immigrants), and LGBTQIA+ persons who have experienced incarceration, and identifying pre and post migration factors impacting the wellbeing of South Asian immigrant women.  Another area of interest and a developing project is exploring the trajectory of individuals involved in grassroot movements and community organizing in solidarity and resistance to systemic and structural violence to further understand consciousness raising and change occurs at an individual level.  

Rakhshanda is a licensed psychologist and a clinical neuropsychologist. Her work as a Harvard Medical School clinical instructor included assessment and clinical care for patients with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds needing linguistic and culture specific assessment and care.


Selected Publications:

Book Chapter (Invited co-author)

Ballou, M.,  Saleem, R. & Roffman, E. (2016) History of Feminist Psychology. Handbook of Counseling Women. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.


Saleem, R., Li, Peiwei. (2022). Bearing Witness to Structural Violence Against migrants and Envisioning Transnational Solidary. American Journal of Community Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12592 

Saleem, R., Morrill, Z., & Pagan-Ortiz, M. (2020). "Oppression and Resistance: An Analysis of Muslims’ Experiences of Structural Violence." Journal of Community Psychology. American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22588 

Saleem, R., Pagan-Ortiz, M. E., Morrill, Z., Brodt, M., & Andrade, L. (2020). “I thought it would be different”: Experiences of structural violence in the lives of undocumented Latinas. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 26(2), 171–180.  

Saleem, R., Morrill, Z., & Karter, J. (Ed.). (2019). Radical Humanism, Critical Consciousness, and Social Change. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. American Psychological Association.  

Saleem, R. et. al., (2016).  The effects of Structural Violence on the Well-being of Marginalized Communities in the United States.  The Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism and Practice. Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.

Motulsky, S.L., Gere, S. H., Saleem, R., Trantham, S.M. (2014). Teaching Social Justice in   Counseling Psychology. The Counseling Psychologist, 42 (8), 1058-1083. doi:10.1177/0011000014553855

Saleem, R. et al., (2011).  Report on the Trafficking of Women and Girls.  Society for the Psychology of Womenhttp://www.apadivisions.org/division-35/news-events/news/2011/trafficking-report.aspx

Submitted Book Chapter & Articles

Saleem, R., & Morrill, Z. (2018).  South and West Asian Girls. Girls Like Us. American
Psychological Association.

Saleem, R. (2018). Colonialism by any other Names: “Saving” Brown and Black Women as “Humanitarianism.” Sex Roles. Springer

National & International Presentations:


Saleem, R., & Li, Peiwei. (2021). Bearing Witness to Structural Violence and Envisioning Transnational Solidarity. The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, American Psychological Association. Livestreamed.  

Lamb, S., & Saleem, R. (2021). Intention and Impact: Examining Race, Class, and Power through an incident at Smith College. 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Moral Education. Live streamed. 

Tanjeem, N., Saleem, R., & Siddiqi, D. (2021). Decolonizing Development Studies: On “Experimental Exuberance” and Unsettling the Narratives of Progress.” National Women's Studies Association Annual conference. Livestreamed. 

Saleem, R. & Li, P. (2020). Transnational Perspectives on Structural Violence against Immigrants and Liberatory Solidarity. Global and Transnational Perspectives of the 21st Century Migration Crisis and Counter-Movements of Solidarity and Resistance. Invited panel for the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) inaugural Virtual Salon series. Livestreamed. 

Saleem, R. & Li, P.  (2020). Bearing witness, structural violence and solidarity: Grassroot organizers and activists’ experiences in the movement of immigration rights. Society of Psychological Studies of Social Issues. American Psychological Association. Denver, CO. 

Llera, D., Li, P., Roffman, E. & Saleem, R., (2019). Journeys toward Transnational Feminism: Border Crossing and Commitment to Solidarity. Association for Women in Psychology, Newport, RI. 

Saleem, R. (2018). Feminism and its Discontents: Moral and civic engagement or a “handmaiden of Imperialism.” 44th Annual Association for Moral Education Conference, Barcelona, Spain.  

Saleem, R. (2018). The impact of structural violence on marginalized identities. The Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood Conference, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. 

Saleem, R. (2018). Decolonizing Solidarity against Structural Violence by Incorporating Community Narratives.  Thirteenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Granada, Spain. 

Incorporating the voices of Muslim women and their experiences of structural violence in America; Implications toward decolonizing feminist movements (2018). 35th Annual Winter Roundtable on Cultural Psychology and Education. Teacher’s College, Columbia University, NY.

Resistance in the face of structural violence: A community-engaged inquiry into the impact of structural oppression (2018). Still I Rise. Resistance, Resilience and Resolve in Feminism, Association for Women in Psychology, Philadelphia, PA.

Violence of Class: A Feminist-Activist Analysis of Access to Resources and Well Being in Marginalized Groups (2017). Association for Women in Psychology Conference.Milwaukee, WI.

Feminism and its Discontents: Has feminism become the “handmaiden of U.S. Imperialism?” (2017). Association for Women in Psychology Conference. Milwaukee, WI.

APA & The Hoffman Report: Moral Accountability, Gender, and Race (2016).Association of  Moral Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

Impact of Structural Violence on the Wellbeing of Undocumented Latina Women (2016).   American Psychological Association Annual Convention. Denver, Colorado.

Addressing Impact of Imperialism and Global Realities on Struggles for Equality: Incorporating  Transnational  Feminism (2016). Association of Women in Psychology Conference. Pittsburgh, PA

Transnational Feminist solidarity: Incorporating indigenous feminist activism to combat cultural racism & oppression (2015). From International to Transnational: Transforming the Psychology of Women. Society for the Psychology of Women International Summit, Toronto, Canada.

Indigenous and Feminist Responses to Cultural Racism (2014). Society for the Psychology of Women, American Psychological Association Annual Convention. Washington, DC

Feminist Responses to Islamophobia and Gendered Politics (2013). Society for the Psychology of  Women, American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Corruption and Capitalism in Bangladesh and Pakistan (2012). Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

Selected Lesley University Panel Participant & co-organized  

McMindfulness: Neoliberal Self-Care Industrial Complex. (2021). Community of Scholars Day, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. 

Women of Color Navigating Space in PWIs. (2020). Women of Color in the Academy Conference, Northeastern University, Boston, MA.  

Decolonizing Solidarity. (2020). Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.  

Neoliberal Exploitation of Food Chain Workers & the Path to Resistance. (2019). Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. 

Linking Oppressions: A Transnational Perspective on Structural Violence (2015). Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. 

Trauma, Religion, and Imagination: Futures in Creative Peacemaking (2015). Public Lectures in Interdisciplinary Innovation. Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. 

Challenging Institutional Racism: A Dialogue on Eric Garner and Ferguson (2014). Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. 

Select Appointments (Current/ Past):

  • Representative Member: Committee on Ethnic Minorities, American Psychological Association.                                                                                                                          
  • Chair: Global Perspectives Committee, Society for the Psychology of Women, American Psychological Association
  • Research Affiliate: Center for Antiracism Research at Boston University

  • President : Psychologists for Social Responsibility


Postdoctoral: Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance
Ph.D., Colorado State University
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder

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