Announcing the 2020 Lyman Fellowship Recipient

20 Feb, 2020

Announcing the 2020 Lyman Fellowship Recipient

BCNM is excited to announce Anushah Hossain (Energy and Resources Group) has been awarded this year’s 2020 Peter Lyman Fellowship for her dissertation on a multi-lingual internet.

The Peter Lyman Graduate Fellowship in new media, established in the memory of esteemed UC Berkeley Professor Peter Lyman, provides a stipend to a UC Berkeley Ph.D. candidate to support the writing of his or her Ph.D. dissertation on a topic related to new media. The fellowship is supported by donations from Professor Barrie Thorne, Sage Publications and many individual friends and faculty.

Anushah asks how we came to have a multi-lingual internet and seeks to answer the question through a historical and ethnographic study of the tools and peoples that helped construct it in South Asia. Beginning in the mid-1990s, a group of Bangladeshi activists formed, whose mission it was to “bring Bangla into the digital age.” Their fervor for their language from the liberation war fought in 1971 over the right to speak Bangla in what used to be Pakistan translated directly into a vision for a digital environment in their own language. Anushah’s dissertation traces how the twin motivations of nationalism and techno-optimism in the hands of this Bangladeshi community laid the foundation for a Bangla computing stack.

Anushah’s historical study highlights the various technologies that were actively constructed by Bangladeshi people while her ethnographic study shows how these actors conceived of their place in a globalizing world. Few histories have taken such a transnational approach. Anushah’s work is therefore critical as it fills large gaps in the history of technology, enabling us to complicate our social theories by learning from regions from where alternate understandings of digital participation may emerge.

With the Lyman Fellowship, Anushah will be able to collect additional oral histories and review archival materials from Bangla computing mailing lists, regional conferences, code repositories, and social media platforms, to complete her research.