Announcing the 2023 Lyman Recipient

23 Feb, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Lyman Recipient

BCNM is excited to announce Rashad Arman Timmons (Ph.D. Candidate in African American Studies) has been awarded this year’s 2023 Peter Lyman Fellowship for his dissertation on 'Brutal Traffic | Pedestrian Acts: Blackness, Geography, and Performances of Infrastructural Violence'!

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.

Rashad’s dissertation explores infrastructures as sites of racial subjection and black radical possibility across time in Ferguson, Missouri. He investigates how the city’s railway, roadway, and media infrastructures have intersected with projects of race-making and geographic domination from the mid-nineteenth century forward. Using archival, geographic, and textual analyses, Rashad interrogates how these infrastructures produce the experiences of social terror, corporeal vulnerability, and premature death historically wed to blackness. He also examines how black subjects disrupt these relations through everyday performances of political refusal. Tracing this dynamic, Rashad introduces “traffic” to name patterns of infrastructural violence that codify gendered racial difference, naturalize uneven geographies, foreclose black mobility, and mediate black bodily injury. Conversely, he interrogates how black subjects impede infrastructural violence, or stop traffic, through “pedestrian acts.” These are practices of infrastructural interference that affect contraventions of racial and spatial order. By examining the palimpsestic violence of traffic and the emancipatory potential of pedestrian acts, Rashad’s dissertation illuminates how infrastructures in Ferguson stage intensive struggles over race, space, and power.