Meet the Dismantle Team

Dismantle editors, Elise and Sara. Two women in orange and green dresses from mid-1960s
Elise (left) and Sara (right) playing ’60s dress-up in grad school

About the Co-Founders

When Sara Tatyana Bernstein and Elise M. Chatelain were working towards their PhD’s in Cultural Studies at UC Davis, they had this weird habit of collaborating on all of their projects, and looking for ways to move from ideas to action. One beloved feminist theory professor dubbed them the “endearing oddballs” of her seminar because they insisted on doing everything together, and on—err—creatively interpreting their assignments. Upon earning their doctorates they quickly realized that, though they were passionate about the potential for critical studies in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to produce real social change, they would always be oddballs in academia. 

So, they started imagining different ways to do cultural studies—ways that would reach beyond the university to wider communities, that would help dismantle the cultural barriers many learners face when navigating new ideas, and hopefully along the way would create an organization that remunerated creative and intellectual labor. 

Their dream of a truly collaborative, supportive space for critical explorations of fashion and culture now exists. They’ve worked with more than 65 writers, scholars, artists and activists on over 200 articles and reached tens of thousands of readers.

They still do their best work together. In addition to creating Dismantle, the two of them have worked together on numerous research projects and publications. 

Questions? Comments? You can get in touch at Dismantlemedia AT gmail DOT com.

Elise Chatelain in a black sweater

Elise M. Chatelain, PhD. Editor and Co-Founder: Elise is an educator, writer and researcher. A few years ago, she transitioned from full time university teaching to develop other avenues for creative education and outreach. With a background in sociology and years of experience in the restaurant and bar business, she brings to Dismantle insights from social research methods, marketing and organizational management. A Louisiana native, Elise splits her time between New Orleans and Merida, Mexico, with her long-time partner and their very sweet dog, Peligrosa. To see articles by Elise, go here.

Sara Tatyana Bernstein, PhD. Editor and Co-founder: Sara is a freelance writer whose work has been published in Longreads, Hippocampus Magazine, Vox, BuzzFeed ReaderCatapult, The Outline, Inside Higher Ed, Full Stop, and more. Her scholarly publications include Fashion, Style and Popular Culture Journal, Critical Studies in Fashion and Beauty, Dress, and several collections of scholarly essays. After spending 15 years circling the U.S., working strange jobs and collecting advanced degrees, she landed back where she started—in Portland, Oregon. In addition to writing, she teaches and leads the fashion studies minor at Pacific Northwest College of Art. With her steady fella of many, many years, likes to ride bikes and invent new toys for their cats. To learn more about Sara, visit her website here. To see her Dismantle articles, go here.

Heaven Leigh Carey close up with a dog

hvnly, Editorial Intern: hvnly is a recent graduate living in the PNW. Her work allows her to justify reading and watching science fiction of all kinds, and her passion for the genre and its ability to help sculpt the future gives her plenty to think and write about. Bored with hopeless pessimism, hvnly advocates for radical community care as a tonic necessary for change. She lives with a small goblin. 

Amber Brown

Amber M. Brown, Creative Consultant: Amber is an emerging writer, and artist. When she’s not working her 9-5, she’s gigging as a freelance creative consultant focused on women-owned and operated small businesses. Ask her, and she’ll tell you everything you need to know about the best shelf-stable cheeses for at-home movie nachos. She often daydreams about publishing a memoir that touches on her experiences with death, grief, and forgiveness. 

Amber holds a B.A. from The University of Michigan-Dearborn in Humanities, with a focus on Gender Studies and Art History. She spends her personal time rewatching 90’s rom-coms, documenting her daily life and travels through iPhone photography, and volunteering to help end food insecurity in her community. Amber lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband, and their two (adorably opposite) gray cats.