Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Miguel Tinker-Salas

Reader 2

Lily Geismer

Reader 3

Cindy Forster

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Julia Thomas


Public spaces—particularly buses, which often carry a larger proportion of low-income to middle class individuals and people of color—serve as shared places for recreation, travel, and labor, and are theoretically created with the intention of being an “omnibus,” or a public resource for all. While buses have been the sites of intense state control and segregation across the world, they have also been places in which groups have organized bus boycotts, commandeered control of transportation, ridden across state lines, and taken over spaces that allow them to express power by occupying a significant area. Buses have become spaces of exchange and power for the people who have, in some cases, been marginalized by ruling private interests and institutionalized racism to ride in masses on particular routes. From the turn of twentieth century to 1968 in Mexico, the Civil Rights movement in the mid twentieth century United States, to the contemporary era in the U.S. and Mexico, public spaces have been historically reclaimed as key instruments in social movements. By analyzing these moments, this thesis explores the complex relations over power on buses for riders—university students in in Mexico, and African Americans in the U.S.—and show how they have been both key vehicles in mobilization and resistance against state oppression and the sites of targeted violence and racism.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.