LGS PhD Candidate | William Boose Wins a Fulbright

By Karina Antenucci

William Boose

William Boose, Laney Graduate School PhD candidate in Anthropology, has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for the 2023-2024 academic year to study in Peru.

"More than just being a game changer for my research, winning Fulbright has enabled me to stay in the game. I honestly wilted with a sense of relief that my family and I would be able to afford for me to finish out my doctoral program. As a grad student and father of two, that aspect was very uncertain until that moment. After that initial wave of relief, I felt pride in having made it work out, and gratitude for my committee, colleagues, and family who supported me," said Boose.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the U.S. and partner countries around the world. More than 2,000 diverse U.S. students, artists, and early career professionals in more than 100 different fields of study receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards annually to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas.

In his Fulbright-funded dissertation research in Peru, titled "Motorcycle Taxis and Urban Modernity: A Comparative Study in Lima and Iquitos," Boose will critically study the governance of mototaxis (motorcycle taxis) as situated within broader notions of urban ";modernity" and "0;development" in two cities.

Boose's research centrally asks: why do officials and elites tend to consider mototaxis as a threat to "modernity" in Lima and Iquitos, and how does this affect mototaxistas' work and lives in each city? In asking this question, William builds on existing scholarship that includes urban anthropology, the anthropology of infrastructure, and the global literature on motorcycle taxis.

"My research and thinking with mototaxistas in two Peruvian cities is urgent and timely… This incredibly important profession is increasingly under threat throughout much of the world, and I want to help understand why this is happening, what it means for broader urban 'development' projects, and how the drivers themselves feel about the governance of their profession," said Boose.

While in Perú and while writing up his findings, Boose will collaborate with a broad array of Peruvian colleagues. His dissertation committee member and mentor, Dr. Pablo Vega Centeno, has arranged for William to have a research affiliation at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) located in Lima. Boose intends to work closely and write with colleagues both at the PUCP and at the more grassroots, Iquitos-based Escuela de Artes y Culturas Amazónicas. In both cities, Boose will think extensively with independent and unionized mototaxistas alike.

Read more about Boose's research and education