Sylvia Ryerson

Sylvia Ryerson's picture
Graduate Student

Sylvia Ryerson received her B.A. from Wesleyan University with High Honors in American Studies and Music. Prior to graduate school she worked as an independent radio producer and as the director of public affairs programming for Appalshop, a media arts and education center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. There she co-directed Appalshop/WMMT-FM’s Hip Hop from the Hilltop & Calls from Home, a nationally recognized weekly radio program broadcasting music and toll-free phone messages from family members to their loved ones incarcerated and Making Connections News, a multimedia storytelling project documenting efforts for a just transition from coal extraction. Her research questions build from this work, and are rooted at the intersection of scholarship, activism and art. In collaboration with community organizer and artist Luis Luna, she currently co-produces Melting the ICE / Derritiendo el Hielo, a bilingual radio show/podcast sharing testimonies and strategies against ICE detention and deportation. The show broadcasts locally on WPKN-FM 89.5 and WKCR-FM 89.9, reaching four of the largest ICE detention centers in New Jersey. Her work has appeared in American Quarterly, the Boston Review, The Marshall Project, Critical Resistance’s The Abolitionist newspaper, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, on NPR, the BBC, and other outlets. She is a founding member of the Racial Capitalism and the Carceral State working group at Yale and is a member of the American Studies Association’s Critical Prison Studies Caucus.

Racial Capitalism, Histories of U.S. Empire, the Carceral State, Sound Studies, Appalachian Studies, Public Humanities