Cultural Studies alumna awarded national grant to investigate municipal funding

by Anne Reynolds

Cultural Studies alumna awarded national grant to investigate municipal funding
Tauheeda Yasin, PhD Cultural Studies '20

Tauheeda Yasin, PhD Cultural Studies ’20, is headed to Austin, Texas, for the fall semester of 2022, to begin an appointment as the Community Engaged Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas (UT), Austin.

Sponsored by a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Emerging Voices Fellowship, her research will examine the rapid expansion in traffic ticketing which, along with fees, fines, and penalties, have had the effect of bolstering municipal budgets rather than improving public safety. Moreover, the impact of these practices has disproportionately landed on residents with lower incomes, least able to afford these encounters with the legal system.

“We are incredibly proud that Tauheeda was selected as one of only 40 scholars nationwide for this prestigious fellowship,” commented the college's associate dean of graduate academic affairs, Marguerite Rippy. “Her research has far-ranging implications for the field, and this fellowship establishes her as one of the most promising new voices in her discipline.” 

“I became more interested in thinking about the issue not so much in individual institutions of policing, but really about how cities fund themselves and how we fund and think about law enforcement and public safety,” said Yasin. “Not just about the individual encounters…for me it became a way to think about innovative solutions that would maybe stop some of the predatory behavior.” 

Yasin was nominated for the ACLS grant by Roger Lancaster, then the director of the Cultural Studies program and the major professor for her doctoral dissertation. During work on her doctoral program, Yasin studied data and digital humanities, including a data visualization course with Lincoln Mullen, associate professor in the Department of History and Art History, and director of computational history at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Data visualization is a strong element of Yasin’s forthcoming work at UT. 

“I’m going to be part of the Criminal Legal System Research Interest Group,” she said. “I’m going to be housed within the Population Research Center, which has so many resources related to data, and innovation, and many initiatives related to data usage.” 

During her two-year appointment, Yasin will be teaching one class each academic year, working on a book project on her research, and creating data that she will be able to share broadly. “I want people to see my data, and be able to play with it, and I want it to have an impact on policy,” she said. 

She also looks forward to the interdisciplinarity of the program in which she will be working. “We need all the voices in the room to come up with solutions, because sometimes we only see a sliver of it. Data, we need it because it informs our thinking, for those of us who are working in the humanities. I think we all need to work together to think through the big, big, issues in the country right now. All of us need to be in the building and at the table.”