Jacome, Rhadigan and Johnston Win Dissertation Awards

The Program in Critical Theory will support three Designated Emphasis students’ dissertation projects in 2019-2020. Veronica Jacome and Ryan Rhadigan will receive semester-long Critical Theory Dissertation Fellowships, while Taylor Johnston has won a Critical Theory Research Grant.

Support for this year’s awardees is generously provided by the Magistretti Graduate Fellowship Fund, through the UC Berkeley College of Letters and Sciences, the Dean of Arts and Humanities, and the Class of 1936 First Professor of Political Science.

Veronica Jacome, Energy and Resources Group

Veronica Jacome

Veronica Jacome is a human geographer and Ph.D. Candidate with the Energy and Resources Group (ERG). She studies energy development and environmental justice through the lens of resource geography and political economy. Her dissertation investigates the presumptions and precarity imbedded in electricity systems today by applying critical theory, social science research methods, and electric power systems monitoring. Prior to joining ERG, Veronica served as the Director of Development for Imagine Science and Films, and taught A-level physics in Tanzania.

Chateaubriand Fellow, Art Rosenfeld Award, NSF Graduate Fellow, Foreign Language Academic Scholarship

Ryan Rhadigan, Rhetoric

Ryan Rhadigan

Ryan is a PhD candidate in the Department of Rhetoric with a designated emphasis in Critical Theory. He received an MA in American Indian Studies from UCLA. In 2017-2019 he was a graduate fellow at the UC Berkeley Institute for the Study of Societal Issues. Ryan’s research combines methods from Native American and Indigenous studies, science and technology studies, and critical theory, in order to explore how archival technics shape Indigenous communities’ collective efforts to transform and democratize scientific practices. His dissertation project, “Salvage Constellations: The Archival Logics of Dispossession and Indigenous Recollection” investigates how Indigenous people in northern California are represented in ethnological archives, and how such archival entanglements work to consolidate, displace, and transduce present acts of cultural knowledge production and political exchange. 


Taylor Johnston, Comparative Literature

Taylor Johnston

Taylor Johnston is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature and an M.A. in English at UC Berkeley, where she works on postmodern and contemporary American fiction, the African-American novel, literary realism, and critical whiteness studies. Her recent work appears in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction (2017) and is forthcoming in Arizona Quarterly (2019). Her dissertation project, “Postmodern Realism and That Class Which is Not One”, explores the social and epistemological significance of realist description in white lower-middle-class fiction of the American seventies and eighties.

In the Department of Comparative Literature, she has taught nine courses on American and European literature and film, including two interdisciplinary Mellon-funded courses on the intersections of literature and live performance, a collaboration with Cal Performances.

Originally from San Diego, she received a B.A. in English and American Literature (2007) and an M.A. in Italian Studies (2010) from Middlebury College. Before beginning her graduate studies at Berkeley, she taught English at the Luca Pacioli Technical Institute in Lombardy (2007-8) and Italian at “La Scuola” International School, San Francisco (2008-12), as part of their early childhood education program.