My work engages several themes, including racial oppression, resistance, imperialism, colonialism, and neoliberalism. I utilize various analytical frameworks to address overarching structures of domination. My dissertation project reflects on the geopolitical and historical manifestations of U.S. power. Geopolitically, I am concerned with the interrelated strategies the U.S. uses to export racial oppression while simultaneously importing the violent machinations of its global empire. The project considers the U.S.’s involvement in and response to various domestic and global events, movements, and processes from 1959 to 1980. These include the Cuban Revolution, the sixties era urban rebellions, the Viet Nam War, and the Black Power Movement, among others. Historically, my work theorizes how we have arrived at our present moment despite the pathbreaking resistance movements of the sixties and seventies. I analyze the moves and countermoves between oppressive and resistant forces to trace how the U.S. national security state evolved over time. The project makes sense of the national security state’s historical adaptations by referencing how these contextual maneuvers culminated in the state’s present configuration.
Beyond the dissertation, I am also working on several smaller projects, whose topics include: the U.S. and UN occupations of Haiti; the racially coded relationship between the 1850 Fugitive Act and the 2001 Patriot Act; the Black Panther Party’s political evolution; and revolutionary movements in Iran, Zimbabwe, and Egypt during the neoliberal era. I also write shorter pieces about race and current events on overthecolorline.com during my spare time.
“Williams, Rhonda Y. Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century”
(Book Review, Journal of African American Studies, June 2017)
“State Repression and the Black Panther Party: Analyzing Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin’s Black against Empire”
(Book Review Essay, Journal of African American Studies, April 2017)
African Civilizations, 1870-Present