Commentary & Forums

Re-framing Crime, Violence, and Poverty: new cinematic narratives of Black criminality in Imperial Dreams

Introduction: reframings

Redmond (2017) has noted that, in order to garner support for the punitive policies of the War on Drugs, Americans were presented with stories that framed those impacted by the war on drugs as enemies of the state. In the 1980’s, media outlets released a surge of stories covering the “crack crisis” that presented crime and drug use with a black face. Stories presented black males as “gangbangers” and played on historical stereotypes of black men being dangerous, predatory, criminals (Alexander 2012).

Films on the experience of inner city black Americans also reflected a negative image of these communities and their residents until around 1990. Before the 1990’s many films placed the blame for inner city problems primarily on the criminal actions of young black males (Alexander 2012, Brooks 1997).  For example, in the 1970’s, directors made movies about the experiences of black inner city Americans. These films were subsequently criticized for their exploitive depictions of urban black experience. This criticisms was in part due to the fact many of the these movies had white directors. This perception by commentators lead to the term “Blaxploitation” being coined in reference to films made in the era (Brooks 1997). Black character representation during this period was often as criminally deviant characters (Bausch 2013). It would be another 20 years before those subject to War on Drugs policy would start to be depicted as sympathetic characters (Brooks 1997).

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Conferences

Papers and Panels of Interest at the 2017 American Anthropological Association Meeting

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Once again, it is that very special time of year: The American Anthropological Association’s 116th Annual Meeting. This year in Washington, D.C.

As impassioned followers of this blog know, we like to curate a list of sessions and papers of interest to our readers.  This year we’ve created a Google Calendar, which you can find embedded below and import into your own.  Be sure to keep an eye on @anthropoliteia’s twitter feed as well, where you’ll find coverage of the #AmAnth2017 hashtag with which several participants will be live-tweeting sessions and other events.

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Conferences

Papers and Panels of Interest at the 2017 American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting

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We have big news. This year is the 73rd Annual meeting of the

American Society of Criminology. For the first time, Anthropoliteia is offering up a list of papers and panels to check out for anyone that finds themselves in The City of Brotherly Love.

As impassioned followers of this blog know, we like to curate a list of sessions and papers of interest to our readers. We’ve created a schedule, which can be found below.

Under each event is a URL that provides more details about participants and sub-topics.

Be sure to keep an eye on @anthropoliteia’s twitter feed as well, where you’ll find coverage of the #ASCPhilly hashtag with which several participants will be live-tweeting sessions and other events.

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 31: Adia Benton on Public Health, Ebola and Black Lives on Both Sides of the Atlantic

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an 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 post, Adia Benton discusses public health, Ebola, humanitarian aid, care, militarism, and evaluations of Black Lives on both sides of the Atlantic.

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I teach courses in African studies and global health that focus on political economy, history and power. No matter the course content, I find that I have to undergo and perform several kinds of (dis)orientations with students: together, we destabilize dominant frames for talking, writing and learning about the African continent (for example, how does ‘race’ matter there); we identify what is “critical” about “critical approaches” to public health and biomedicine; and we interrogate what it means to study and ultimately work in the fields of public health and medicine, as this professional terrain shifts on a tension that pits rhetorics and practices of safety and care against those of security and discipline. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Pedagogy

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 30: Savannah Shange’s Key & Peele Mix Tape Because Laughter Keeps Us Honest

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an 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 post, Savannah Shange uses comedy sketches by Key and Peele to enrich classroom discussion around race, masculinity, racism, anti-blackness, and affect.

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In my undergraduate courses on race and racism at a PWI, my students were largely a self-selected, social justice-minded group who sought sanctuary from their apolitical, Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Pedagogy

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 29: Courtney Morris For Black Boys Who Look Blue

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an 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 post, Courtney Morris explores teaching vulnerability, the Body, and Black masculinity through the film Moonlight.

I’m not sure anymore
Just how it happened before
The places that I knew
Were sunny and blue
I can feel it deep inside
This black nigga’s pride
I have no fear when I say
And I say it every day:

 Every nigga is a star

Every nigga is a star

Who will deny that you and I and every nigga is a star?

-Boris Gardner

Moonlight opens with the rich and soulful strains of the Jamaican soul singer, Boris Gardner’s R&B classic, “Every Nigga is a Star” as Juan, a young man, slowly pulls up in a sky-blue Cadillac to a derelict apartment building in Miami. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, Pedagogy

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatter Syllabus, Week 26: Sameena Mulla on Missing Black Girls and Women

The editors of Anthropoliteia are happy to continue an 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 post, Sameena Mulla notes contributions to the recent discussions about missing black girls (with thanks to Leslie Wingard).

SayHerNameIf you take anything away from this post, it should be to read Eve Dunbar’s article, “On Gwendolyn Brooks and Disappearing Black Girls.” Dunbar writes:

In Washington, DC, the city currently home to America’s least popular president ever, the mainstream media “broke” the story that a rash of black girls had gone missing. Social networking platforms circulated hashtags and headlines speculating the girls had been abducted and forced into sex work. Others worried the girls were dead. The police countered all theories by assuring local and national worriers that these missing black girls were merely runaways. Continue reading

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