Race and Policing in the Americas Seminar Series
This online international seminar series, hosted by the Centre for the Americas and The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast – in conjunction with the Cultures of War research group at New York University – examines the complex relationship between race, class and policing in the Americas. One jumping off point is the police killings of black men and women in the contemporary US and Brazil which in turn brings into focus the legacies and consequences of this violence and its centrality to historical understandings of the state. Another is the various strategies of resistance employed by activists at a local, national and global level. Participants will explore these issues as a set of contemporary phenomena tied to the militarization and privatization of policing and/or as part of a longer historical continuum linked to the founding of the state and the consolidation of modern capitalism. These contributions will focus exclusively on individual states and regions or offer comparative, transnational perspectives. As well as exploring the complex entanglements between race, class, policing, capital and the state historically and in the contemporary, participants may explore the representation of these entanglements in fiction and non-fiction and consider how effectively particular genres can interrogate the problem of racialised policing and agitate for wider social justice and political change.
The seminar series will be hosted online using Zoom webinar. Please sign up to the panels using the EVENTBRITE links below. You will be contacted with Zoom login details a few days prior to the events.
Thursday 7 October 4pm BST time (UK); 11am EST
Myisha is Assistant Professor of African American History at the University of South Carolina. Her research explores Black legal culture in the face of white-on-Black violence under Jim Crow and Black civil litigation’s impact on civil law. Her activism and interest in social justice drives this research, which focuses on the ways that oppressed persons, particularly African Americans, use their legal imaginations. Her book on the subject is tentatively titled Litigating in Black and White: Black Legal Culture, White Violence, Jim Crow, and Their Legacies.
Justin is Assistant Professor of History at Texas State University. Specializing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. social and political history, his primary research concerns the intersection of policing and inequality in the rural American South. His first book, Mississippi Law: The Long Crisis of Policing and Reform in America's Black Countryside, is under advance contract with the University of North Carolina Press.
Christopher is a civil rights attorney in Columbia, South Carolina. He has twenty-five years of experience handling criminal defense, police misconduct, and class action suits against adult and juvenile correctional systems. He does public presentations on these and related topics, including an upcoming seminar on the current state of policing for the South Carolina Bar Association in January 2022.
Chair: Keira Williams (Queen’s University Belfast)
Wednesday 20 October 7pm BST time (UK); 2pm EST
The Shape of the Whole, Or, the There There.
Micol Seigel (Indiana University)
Recent work on policing has shifted the focus of carceral studies from prisons to the mechanisms that fill them. Abolitionist scholar-activists now include police in their sights as a matter of course. Seigel takes this broadening of vision a step farther to look at another isle of the carceral archipelago—or a submerged crag of the iceberg—that too often evades critical focus.
is Professor of American Studies and History at Indiana University Bloomington. She is the author of Uneven Encounters: Making Race and Nation in Brazil and the United States
(Duke UP 2009) and editor of Panic, Transnational Cultural Studies, and the Affective Contours of Power
(Routledge 2018). In her most recent book, Violence Works: State Power and the Limits of the Police
(Duke UP 2018) she offers a new theorization of the quintessential incarnation of state power: the police. Foregrounding the interdependence of policing, the state, and global capital, Seigel redefines policing as “violence work,” showing how it is shaped by its role of channeling state violence.
Chair: Andrew Pepper (Queen’s University Belfast)
Available to watch from 2- to 27 October
Police Killing (Auto de Resistência) is a 2018 Brazilian documentary, directed by Natasha Neri and Lula Carvalho, about homicides committed by on duty police officers in Rio de Janeiro, in situations initially considered as legitimate self-defense. The dead person is accused of being a drug dealer and having fired against the police.
However, the officers' account is confronted by the emergence of videos and the fight of mothers who try to prove their sons were innocent. The film portrays the clash of versions in court hearings, the backstage of police investigations and the State Parliamentary Inquiry Committee established to investigate the high rates of homicides during police operations.
The film won the prize for best feature at the It's All True - International Documentary Film Festival in 2018 as well as being nominated for the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA)’s Amsterdam Human Rights Award.
A link to watch the film (in Portuguese with English subtitles) will be sent to your email address on 20 October 2021. The film can be watched online until 27 October.
On October 27 at 4pm UK time the film's director Natasha Neri will take part in a panel discussion on 'Perspectives on Police Violence in Brazil: Data, Documentary, Ethnography' with other speakers.
Wednesday 27 October 4pm BST (UK); 11am EST; 12noon Rio/São Paulo
is Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work examines engendered anti-Black state violence and Black community responses to it in Brazil and the Americas. Her book, Afro-Paradise: Blackness, Violence, Performance in Brazil
(U of Illinois Press 2016), uses the lens of performance to examine the immediate and long-term impact of police violence on the Black population of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and the grassroots movement to denounce and end this violence. Her more recent, comparative work examines the lingering, deadly impact of police violence on black women
in Brazil and the U.S.
is a journalist, filmmaker and researcher in the areas of criminal justice and human rights. Together with Lula Carvalho she directed the documentary Auto de Resistência
(in English, Police Killing
) which won the prize for best feature at the It's All True - International Documentary Film Festival in 2018 as well as being nominated for the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA)’s Amsterdam Human Rights Award. Currently a researcher for the Association for Prevention of Torture (APT), she has previously worked for Amnesty International Brazil, ISER (Institute of Studies on Religion), and NECVU/UFRJ (Centre for the Study of Citizenship, Conflict and Urban Violence, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). She is involved in and supports movements for de-incarceration, anti-violence, and relatives of victims of state violence in Rio de Janeiro.
Pedro Paulo da Silva
holds a B.A. In International Relations from the Pontiical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio),
where he is currently pursuing a master's degree in the same field of study. He is part of the research team at the Centre for Security and Citizenship Studies (CESeC) and the research coordinator of LabJaca – the Laboratory of Data and Narratives from Jacarezinho, a favela in Rio de Janeiro. His main research interests are the relation between race and racism and public/global security, policing and anti-radicalism, and the citizen generation of data.
Chair: Tori Holmes (Queen’s University Belfast)
Crime Fiction, Policing and Racial Injustice
Wednesday 10 November 6pm BST (UK); 1pm EST; 10 Pacific.
Frankie is Professor of Criminal Justice in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs at SUNY Albany. As well as being a prolific academic whose work explores the intersections of crime, social history and popular culture, including Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters Crime and Detective Fiction (1991), she is the author of two separate crime fiction series, including one set in the near-future police procedural series: The Red Queen Dies (2013) and What the Fly Saw (2015).
David is Associate Professor of English at SUNY Buffalo. His research focuses on Americans’ unusual fascination with murder and murderers and the development of the popular culture of true crime in the U.S. He is the author of the book Natural Born Celebrities: Serial Killers in American Culture (U of Chicago Press 2005) as well as numerous edited books, anthologies and essays on crime fiction, urban studies, horror and masculinity.
Steph is the author of Your House Will Pay (2019), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She is a critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology.
Chair: Andrew Pepper (Queen’s University Belfast)
Steph Cha will read from and answer questions about Your House Will Pay at the end of the roundtable discussion.
Race and Policing in the Americas Seminar Series Closing Roundtable
Mid-November, time and date tbc.
Nikhil is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and History and Faculty Director of NYU’s Prison Education Program. A historian of race, empire, and culture in the 20th-century United States, Singh is the author of Race and America’s Long War (U of California Press 2017) and the award-winning, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard UP 2004). A new book Exceptional Empire: Race, Colonialism and the Origins of US Globalism is in-progress, and forthcoming from Harvard University Press.
Sonia is Associate Professor of Linguistic Anthropology at New York University and Co-Editor-In-Chief of the flagship Journal of Linguistic Anthropology. She is the author of Linguistic Rivalries: Tamil Migrants and Anglo-Franco Conflicts (Oxford UP 2016), a study of the migration and diasporic experiences of Tamil-speaking Indians and Sri Lankans since the 1840s. Her current research examines how the big data of body-worn camera and predictive policing perpetuates racial inequities in U.S. law enforcement.
Gabriella I. Johnson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English at NYU, where her research and teaching focuses on African American literature, Black feminist theories, and prison abolitionist thought. She is currently writing her dissertation on 20th-century African American women's fiction as a prison abolitionist imagination.
Stuart is Associate Research Professor in the Center for Africana Studies and the Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship. He is the author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (U of California Press, 2019) which looks at the relationship between US projections of power overseas and the rise of the carceral state at home. His new project examines the political activities of police in the United States since the 1960s, via professional organizations and unions.
Hosted by the Cultures of War research group at NYU.
Chair: Patrick Deer (NYU)
It is our hope to run a special postgraduate session looking at themes emerging from the seminar series in early December.
The organisers – Tori Holmes, Keira Williams and Andrew Pepper (all QUB) and Patrick Deer (NYU) – would like to thank the School of Arts, English and Languages and The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice (both QUB) and the Department of English (NYU) for the financial assistance that has made this seminar series possible.