“A Different Type of Time”: Modernity, Mobility, and Quiet Violence in the Black Atlantic


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




This project asks how the technological innovations of modernity, fueled by the structures of racial capitalism, have transformed physical, affective and political movement culture through a multimodal ethnographic exploration of the annual Penn Relays Carnival at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. First run in 1895, the meet is the oldest and largest track and field event in the United States, thus offering a unique opportunity to chart the physical, spatial, and affective dimensions of the “prep-to-pro” pipeline. Through participant observation in Philadelphia, USA and Kingston, Jamaica with meet organizers, coaches and athletes, this project addresses the eerie reality of how the logics of modern sport mimic colonial structures of administration and surveillance, and plantation practices of domination and extraction; it ultimately suggests that the “quiet violence” of modernity (ie. innovations in standardized distance and time) structures Black life, and contributes to broader understandings of Blackness, gender, performance and racial capitalism.