AADHum Scholars: Inaugural Class, 2017-2018

After reviewing an impressive and competitive pool of applications, the AADHum leadership team is proud to announce our 2017–2018 AADHum Scholars! Spanning disciplines, career stages, and institutional affiliations, the 6 scholars that comprise our first cohort of AADHum Scholars are:

Hazim Abdullah-Smith

Ph.D. student, Department of American Studies, UMD College Park

Read Hazim’s blog post here.

Hazim Abdullah is a second-year Ph.D. student in American Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. His research broadly concerns the ways Black cultural production documents the relationship between Black life, space and identity formation. An overarching question he asks is, how do space and place inform Black queer identities? He brings together Black queer studies, cultural geography, digital humanist methods and pieces of Black queer expressive culture—like Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight—to theorize a Black queer sense of place. Hazim is also earning a certificate in Digital Studies in the Arts and Humanities. He earned his bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and a certificate in Civic Engagement from Northwestern University.

Richard Bell, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of History, UMD College Park

Read Richard’s blog post here.

Richard Bell is an Associate Professor of History at UMCP specializing in African American history and culture, and will use this opportunity to build a set of digital products (eg. GIS maps, a digital image database, a project website) to support his current research and writing project. That book, The Lost Boys: A Story of Slavery and Justice on the Reverse Underground Railroad, is to be published by Simon & Schuster in Spring 2019. It tells the little-known story of the miraculous escape of four free black children from the clutches of post-revolutionary America’s most fearsome gang of kidnappers and enslavers. The Lost Boys offers a revisionist account of the role of kidnapping in the domestic slave trade in the decades immediately following the American Revolution. It situates black persons at the center of analysis, up-ends simple racial and gender dichotomies, and argues that the kidnapping of free black people into slavery in this critical period was vastly more frequent, pernicious, and politically significant than we have previously supposed.

Dr. Bell is new to the field of digital humanities and will use this opportunity to learn more about the possibilities that digital humanities tools can offer to illuminate, complicate, and disseminate historical scholarship. He hopes that these possibilities might include the capability to make GIS-supported maps of key locales in Philadelphia, Delmarva, the Upper South, and early Mississippi. Dr. Bell also hopes to use digital tools to create an online repository and display platform for relevant images (woodcuts, historical maps, cartoons etc) and to construct a website that can support the book project, and present visitors with additional resources.

Brandi Brimmer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of History and Geography, Morgan State University

Read Brandi’s blog post here.

Brandi Brimmer is a historian of the United States with particular interests in the history of women and gender, African American political culture, and the long-term impact of slavery and racism in shaping gendered constructions of citizenship, welfare, and forms of political activism. Brimmer has studied these questions through a close analysis of black women’s relationship to the law and governmental institutions in the post-emancipation South. She completed her Ph.D. in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles and worked as an assistant editor at the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland, College Park. In 2014, Brimmer joined the faculty at Morgan State University, where she teaches course in African-American, African-American women’s, and United States history in the Department of History and Geography.

Brimmer has received numerous awards and fellowships for her research. These include research grants from the Office of the Provost at Morgan State, the Institute of American Cultures at UCLA, an Archie K. Miller Fellowship from the North Caroliniana Society, a Mary Lily research grant from the Sallie Bingham Research Center at Duke University, and postdoctoral fellowships from the Ford Foundation and Case Western University. Her articles have recently appeared in the Journal of the Civil War Era and the Journal of Southern History.

Alyson Farzad-Phillips

Ph.D. student, Department of Communication, UMD College Park

Read Alyson’s blog post here.

Alyson Farzad-Phillips is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Communication. She studies rhetoric and political culture, and she is especially interested in examining the rhetoric of place and protest. Alyson’s scholarship typically analyzes the ways in which space and rhetoric are strategically utilized during social movement organizing.

As an AADHum Scholar, Alyson utilizes digital mapping techniques to create counter-maps that serve as rhetorical artifacts for analysis. Her project, “Huddles or Hurdles? Racial and Economic Barriers to Collective Gathering in the Aftermath of the Women’s March” examines the Women’s March “Huddles” initiative to interrogate the use of space by our contemporary feminist movement. The project currently looks at the distribution of Washington D.C. based “Huddle” events to determine how access to coalition-designated places for feminist minded people played out over the spatial arrangement of the nation’s capital. The digital counter-map provides rhetorical evidence that feminist movements in 2017 have already indicated patterns of racial and economic exclusion in the ways that they have collectively organized and gathered.

When not writing, reading, and participating in both the AADHum and Communication scholarly communities, Alyson spends her time teaching public speaking for her department. She is currently developing a service-learning course-section of COMM 107 as part of the Oral Communication Program, and she hopes to continue strengthening her service-learning pedagogy during her time with the University of Maryland.

Leticia Ridley

Ph.D. student, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, UMD College Park

Read Leticia’s blog post here.

Leticia Ridley is a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow and a first-year doctoral student in the Theatre and Performance Studies Program at the University of Maryland. She is a scholar, playwright, and dramaturg whose research interests include Black Theatre and Performance, American Popular Culture, and Black Feminism. Broadly, Leticia’s research focuses on African American representation and performance in theatre and popular culture, with particular attention paid to the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Leticia’s current digital project employs a Black Feminist methodology that focuses on how musical artist Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, television showrunner Shonda Rhimes, and tennis superstar Serena Williams activate dialogue and theorization in digital spaces by everyday Black women. In her current research project, Leticia conceives of the digital as a place of encounter between Black women who utilize it as a site of performance, a location of resistance, and a place where Black radical joy manifests. Leticia’s dissertation project will underscore how these women cannot be “written off” as mere entertainers, but rather it will highlight how their work must be recognized as contributing to the agency and self-defining expressions for and by Black women in America.

Tyechia Thompson, Ph.D.

Lecturer, Department of English, Howard University

Read Tyechia’s blog post here.

Tyechia L. Thompson is a lecturer at Howard University. Her research areas are 20th and 21st Century African American literary and cultural studies and digital humanities. Her current work focuses on African-American writers in Paris, post-1960, and user interface design. Recently, she has published in the College Language Association Journal and Fire!: The Multimedia Journal of Black Studies. Currently, she is recreating a digital chapter from her dissertation with Afro-Publishing Without Walls.