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2016 Doctoral/Postdoctoral Fellows

Read our press release on the 2016 Doctoral Fellows here.

Ayobami Laniyonu, ABF/NSF/LSA Doctoral Fellow (2016-2018)

Ayobami Laniyonu is a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Laniyonu’s research interests center around state practices of social control and political behavior. His work primarily focuses on the political determinants of criminal justice policies, the political outcomes that those policies generate, and the implications that these two relationships have for understanding American democracy. His dissertation explores the impact that policing practices and strategies have on political participation. It attempts to reconcile apparently contradictory evidence, which has suggested on one hand that frequent and punitive police-citizen contact reduces the likelihood of citizens to engage in politics, while simultaneously noting that instances of police violence and abuse can motivate significant levels of political mobilization and protest. Using newly available datasets on police behavior and police-citizen contact, official records of citizen voter-turnout and registration, and qualitative evidence from local and elite level interviews, my dissertation attempts to characterize how day-to-day policing in some communities can negatively affect participation, the conditions in which we might observe political mobilization, and the long-lasting consequences of both for American democracy.

Jeffrey Omari, ABF/NSF/LSA Doctoral Fellow (2016-2018)

Jeffrey Omari is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Omari’s research examines the political, legal, and cultural implications of Internet governance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  His dissertation, “Democracy Through Technology? Internet Governance and Urban Development in Rio de Janeiro,” will use ethnographic research to examine how governmental policies intended to expand Internet inclusion are key contemporary efforts to redefine the relationship between the Brazilian state and Rio de Janeiro’s urban poor communities.  This study will argue that the simultaneous moves to control Rio’s slums more comprehensively and to extend the assumed benefits of Internet participation, benefits that are linked to unforeseen consequences, constitute jointly a kind of social force field within which new meanings of connectivity, power, and social transformation are being contested.  Omari’s work is inspired by an abiding interest in the impact of emergent technologies on notions of democracy. His background in entertainment law, which he practiced in both Atlanta and Los Angeles, informs his research as an anthropologist.  He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Morehouse College. 

Emma Shakeshaft, ABF Doctoral Fellow (2016-2017)

Emma Shakeshaft is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and is currently a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. She received her M.S. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her B.A. in Sociology and International Relations from the University of Southern California. Her dissertation research analyzes the legal interpretations and procedures of judges, lawyers, and governmental actors by examining legal resource allocation and case outcomes based on gender, nationality, and race. She also investigates decision-making patterns within different legal and governmental institutions in order to determine if these decision-making processes are based on certain understandings and definitions of race. Specifically, her dissertation examines transracial adoption case law, human trafficking case law, and data from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) related to the allocation of two nonimmigrant visas, U-Visas and T-Visas. Shakeshaft's broader research interests include race and ethnicity, specifically the social construction of race through law, critical race theory, criminal justice, immigration law, and family law.

David McElhattan, ABF/NU Doctoral Fellow (2016-2017)

David McElhattan is a doctoral candidate in sociology at Northwestern University. McElhattan’s research examines the collateral consequences of criminal conviction, the social organization of risk, and the ways in which race operates in a variety of American legal institutions.  His dissertation explores the use of criminal records by non-criminal justice actors, tracing how the availability of criminal history information dramatically expanded in the United States over the past three decades. Using archival sources and a time series data set containing the universe of statutes that authorize criminal background checks, he analyzes the relationship between state-level racialized punitiveness and the dissemination of criminal history information. Drawing from interviews with human resource professionals, he examines the dimensions of demand for criminal records, including doctrinal developments in negligence liability and their articulation through institutional environments. His research shows that alongside the extraordinary growth in punishment wrought by mass incarceration, an accompanying movement increased the social consequences of criminal records by making them more widely available. McElhattan received his M.A. in Sociology from Northwestern University and his B.A. in Sociology and Philosophy from Boston University.

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