Announcements

New book series, Police/Worlds: studies in security, crime and governance

When we started this blog over 8 years (!) ago, part of the motivation was that those of us working on issues of policing from within the discipline of anthropology felt relatively disjointed and in need of a common forum to figure out just where we could go with our research as a collective project.

One of the benefits of entering the “Associate Professor” stage of one’s career, I suppose, is that you get to start seeing some of your long term goals for the discipline take form: I’m happy to announce the launch of Police/Worlds: studies in security, crime and governance, a new monograph series for Cornell University Press edited by myself, Ilana Feldman, William Garriott and Sameena Mulla (all of whom will be familiar to dedicated readers of this blog).  Everyone involved with Police/Worlds is hoping that it become a forum in which new approaches to studying police can find space and talk to each other.

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Announcements, Call for papers

CFP: Anthropology of Police: Techno-politics, Reform, and Questions of Violence #AAA2017

Call for Papers for AAA 2017 Meeting in Washington, DC2017_meeting_250

Session Title: Anthropology of Police: Techno-politics, Reform, and Questions of Violence

Organizer: Hayal Akarsu

Discussant: Kevin G. Karpiak Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus Project, Week 12: Kevin G. Karpiak on the critical potential of an anthropology of police

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to present the latest entry in on ongoing series The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, which will mobilize anthropological work as a pedagogical exercise addressing the confluence of race, policing and justice.  You can see a growing bibliography of resources via our Mendeley feed.   In this entry, Kevin G. Karpiak discusses the critical, pedagogical and political potential of the anthropology of police. 
On Tuesday Sept. 20, around 9 a.m. graffiti was found on the outer wall of EMU's King Hall depicting hate speech. Picture taken after some writing was removed. (photo credit: Shayler Barnes Jr. / The Eastern Echo)

On Tuesday Sept. 20, around 9 a.m. graffiti was found on the outer wall of EMU’s King Hall depicting hate speech. Picture taken after some writing was removed. (photo credit: Shayler Barnes Jr. / The Eastern Echo)

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Call for papers

CFP: Police Un/Bound: new ethnographies of policing at #AAA2016

Organizers: Victor Kumar (Johns Hopkins U) and Amrita Ibrahim (Georgetown U)

At a time when many aspects of law enforcement are coming under increased scrutiny, anthropologists have a renewed opportunity to investigate questions around police and policing. What can anthropology bring to an area of research whose terms, methods, and theories have traditionally been set by the disciplines of sociology and criminal justice? What approaches allow us to navigate this contested domain and understand its forms and effects inside and out, from those “on the beat,” to the recipients of police terror, from activists calling for justice to those whose radical alterity renders them “no-bodies” (Silva 2009)? How does an anthropologist’s loyalty to the state (our law-abidingness) affect the ways they take up our positions with respect to policing? One answer suggested by some anthropologists of police (Garriott 2013, Karpiak 2016) is that investigations are directed at the boundaries of police as a field of inquiry. Rather than assuming the police to be a bounded field site, it can be understood instead as a refractive lens that extends beyond policing as an official institution and reverberates in response to broader social phenomena. Others have argued that we should seek to develop new lexicons to describe, denounce, and theorize racialized policing practices and put them in the context of a broader security-knowledge system that informs subjugation at large (James 2006, Alves and Vargas 2015). In this panel, we seek new critical perspectives on longstanding issues involving police: violence, the body, community, citizenship, and rights. We are interested in exploring how issues such as racial and sexualized violence are positioned across the permeable boundaries between the police and subjects of enforcement without discarding critiques coming out of both the popular and scholarly spheres that have identified forms of structural violence in police work. Whether dropping the notion of a clear and fixed boundary (a “thin blue line”) or reanalyzing the police as operating within regimes of domination, ethnography has the potential to show how policing is both continuous and distinct from the broader social contexts in which it is embedded and attend to the diverse forms of life that fall under the heading of police. We argue that such modes of anthropological understanding can ultimately contribute greatly to projects of police reform or abolition.​

Please submit your abstract of 250 words to Amrita Ibrahim at amritaibrahim@gmail.com and Victor Kumar at victorakumar@gmail.com by [UPDATE] April 13, 2016

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Call for papers

CFP for a Special Issue: Thinking through police, producing theory: the new anthropology of police as mode of critical thought

Abstracts are currently being solicited for a special issue of the journal Theoretical Criminology on the theme “the new anthropology of police as a mode of critical thought” (see full description below). Send abstracts for consideration by August 1st 2015 to kkarpiak@emich.edu. Full drafts should be ready to submit for peer review by September 15th, 2015.

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Conferences

Conference Report: Global Policing at Oxford

Conference on Global Policing, Oxford UK (23 and 24 April 2015)

Recently several of us here at Anthropoliteia were able to participate in a conference organized by Ian Loader, Ben Bradford, Jonny Steinberg and our own Beatrice Jauregui in preparation for a volume they are editing, the SAGE Handbook of Global Policing.  Kate West, has a nice summary of (only a small portion of) some of the papers over at the Criminology at Oxford Blog.  Here is an excerpt that may be of particular interest to our readers:

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DragNet

DragNet: April 20 – May 3, 2015

"I think you have to have a shared collective memory of the past to recognize another human being," writes Lawrence Jackson. His post, On Becoming More Human, examines the recent protests against police violence in Baltimore from his perspective as an African American man.

“I think you have to have a shared collective memory of the past to recognize another human being,” writes Lawrence Jackson. His post, On Becoming More Human, examines the recent protests against police violence in Baltimore from his perspective as an African American man.

I was happy to see Illana Feldman’s new book, Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza Under Egyptian Rule, make the rounds on our twitter feed last month. In it, my former Anthropology professor at George Washington University discusses the topics of surveillance, control and police violence in Gaza during the period of Egyptian rule. Disclaimer: you’ll want to block off a few hours to tap into this one…it’s addictive from the start!

“I think you have to have a shared collective memory of the past to recognize another human being,” writes Lawrence Jackson for n plus one magazine. His post, On Becoming More Human, examines the recent protests against police violence in Baltimore from his perspective as an African American man. Jackson is a professor of African American Studies and English at Emory University, and is the author of the 2012 memoir, My Father’s Name: A Black Virginia Family after the Civil War. His post undoubtedly earns my vote for “best of the month”- if you have time for one (and only one) read today, this is it.

Those interested in coverage about the tragic police-related death of Freddie Gray shouldn’t miss NPR’s Weekend Edition that we shared late last month. In it, Scott Simon recounts his experience walking among the residents of West Baltimore in the wake of police protests. As the title attests, to many West Baltimoreans, the “largest gang is, in fact, the police.” We also recommend Ta-Nehisi Coates’ post, Nonviolence as Compliance, which was featured via The Atlantic.

What does the concept of “touch” mean, in a policing context? Mark Greif reflects on this question and more in his post, Seeing Through Police. He discusses the “rules” of police-citizen contact (i.e.- they touch you, you keep your hands to yourself), its many functions (intimidation, reassurance, “traffic direction”) and forms (hands vs. batons). What’s perhaps most intriguing about this post is its dual -and rather empathetic- consideration of police as police, and police as people. At the same time, it presents a critical and well-balanced portrait of modern police practices.

Finally, we are pleased to offer continuing coverage of the American Anthropological Association’s developing initiatives regarding police brutality. AAA recently announced they’ll be offering a working group to monitor racialized police brutality and extrajudicial violence. Co-chairs include David Simmons, Marla Frederick and Shalini Shankar. You can view the Working Group charge here.

Did I miss something? No worries- it does happen on occasion. If you have any suggestions for DragNet, or if you want to call attention to a specific blog or article, send an email to anthropoliteia@gmail.com with the words “DragNet” in the subject header and I’ll get on it!

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