Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, Week 4: Gina Athena Ulysse on “Race: The Power of an Illusion”

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, Gina Athens Ulysse discusses the film series “Race: The Power of an Illusion.”

 


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DragNet

DragNet: March 9 – 22, 2015

Speaking of departments that have gotten a bad rap, Police Chief Alejandro Lares Valladares of the Tijuana police department recently equipped officers with body-worn cameras. He hopes the initiative will both improve police-citizen relations while holding each accountable for their actions.

Speaking of departments that have gotten a bad rap, Police Chief Alejandro Lares Valladares of the Tijuana police department recently equipped officers with body-worn cameras. He hopes the initiative will both improve police-citizen relations while holding each accountable for their actions.

You’d think members of a police department as big as NYPD would know somebody somewhere might be able to trace Wikipedia page edits to their network. We shared Kelly Weill’s post for The Capital, which exposes how a computer linked to NYPD allegedly altered information on Wikipedia pages about police use of force against Eric Garner, Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo. Also bleak is their revelation that additional edits have been linked to the same NYPD IP addresses for entries covering stop-and-frisk, NYPD scandals and local NYPD and political leaders.

Speaking of departments that have gotten a bad rap, Police Chief Alejandro Lares Valladares of the Tijuana police department recently equipped officers with body-worn cameras. He hopes the initiative will both improve police-citizen relations while holding each accountable for their actions. Carrie Kahn of NPR recounts why, despite a long history of corruption, Lares believes the cameras will also capture how “citizens try to criticize my police officers.” Will body-worn cameras finally even the playing field?

According to Peter Moskos, it’s not just NYPD or Tijuana officers who are guilty of corruption: it’s “The Whole Damn System!”. We shared his post for Cop in the Hood, which explains how the recently issued (and damning) DOJ report of Ferguson’s police department “is about a whole system of government using the criminal justice system to legally steal from its residents.” Do you agree with his conclusion that, “one could be blind to race and still be outraged?” Feel free to weigh-in in the Comments section.

We previously shared AAA President Monica Heller’s call to fellow anthropologists to contemplate and discuss the intersection of race and justice. The events in Ferguson, as well as the subsequent police shooting of Eric Garner, made this topic one of utmost importance to the general public and scholars alike. In the same vein, we shared Jennifer Curtis’ post for Political and Legal Anthropology earlier this month. Learn how you (and/or fellow colleagues) can join this crucial discussion by submitting your ideas and suggestions to Jeff Martin at jmart@illinois.edu. APLA will be hosting a coordinated discussion of race and justice in Denver, November 2015.

Whether your own interests lie within the field of anthropology, sociology or criminal justice, chances are that you’ve heard a little (or a lot!) about Emile Durkheim. In my favorite “open-access” voucher of the month, Berghahn Journals announced they will offer free access to some of Durkheim’s original works in honor of the 24th anniversary of the British Centre for Durkheimian Studies. You can enjoy reading his pieces in their original French, or English translated, versions.

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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In the Journals

In the Journals – January 2015

Welcome back to In the Journals, a sweep of recent publications examining security, crime, policing and the law. After a short break we hope you are ready to usher in the new year with just some of the many articles and journal issues released in recent months.

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Secularism & Security after Charlie Hebdo

On Charlie Hebdo: metaphor and the tyranny of secular liberalism

Embed from Getty Images

[Note: I struggled, as have many in the US media, over whether to include an example of Charlie Hebdo’s ugly ugly cartoons here.  I struggled in part because I think it’s necessary to have a sense of how callously, pointlessly, vile they could be when having rather abstract discussion of “freedom of speech”.  In the end, I still couldn’t include a drawing of a religious figure bent over and naked soliciting his own anal rape]

The difficult spot many of us who wish to take a critical stance towards the broader reaction to the Charlie Hebdo killing is that broad-based reactions such as #jesuischarlie immediately paint one as either “for” the supposed satire of Charlie Hebdo or “for” the slaughter of cartoonists in their board rooms.  It is possible, in fact probably necessary to be “for” neither.

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Announcements, Conferences

Anthropoliteia at the American Anthropological Association Meetings (2010, NOLA version)

Since people seemed to find it helpful last year, I’ve decided to try and make A@AAA an annual feature.  So here you go, my annual round-up of police, crime and security events at this year’s American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings.  As always, if you know about a session or paper that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments section and I’ll add it to the list.

Wednesday, Nov. 17th

1:15pm

2:15pm

2:30pm

9:00-9:15pm

Thursday, Nov. 18th

8:00-9:45am

10:15am-12:00pm

1:45-3:30pm

4:30pm

5:05pm

Friday, Nov. 19th

8:00am

2:30-3:00pm

2:45pm

3:45pm

4:30pm

Saturday, Nov. 20th

10:15-10:30am

1:45-3:30

Sunday, Nov. 21st

8:00-9:45am

8:15am

8:30am

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Blotter

L’anthropoliteia In the News (12-février-2012)

That’s right, since I haven’t done one of these in a while, since my stock of saved links has become overwhelming and since a string of news events this week has got my mojo running, I’ve decided to do a Franco-centric version of Anthropoliteia In the News… so here goes:

Pyjama-Gate

A teenage girl was held in police custody for anywhere, from 7 and a half to 11 hours, after being involved in a fight outside her school in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.  Police took her from her home without letting her change out of her pajamas, leading to the media explosion of what I’m calling “pyjama-gate”.

[rant button on]

As could probably be expected from these sort of media affairs, there has been a proliferation of punditry and position taking only tenusously connecting to reality or real political seriousness.  It looks like if there’s any real movement that results from this, it will involve re-examining the use of “garde a vue” detention practices by police officers.

On the other hand,  the obsessive repetition of the detail of the girl’s pajamas in the story seems completely non-random in a country that is going through a parallel obsession over of the burka/veil/hijab/head scarf/any-“ostentatious”-religious-sign.  If I were to try to bring the quickly accumulating scholarship on the veil controversy to bear on this issue, I would say that this is the flip side, or at least another angle on, the contradictions of French republican democracy as played out upon female bodies.

… so color me Joan W. Scott, with an important addendum: in the framing of the voice *against* state intervention, the state is imagined as police.  In the framing *for* state intervention, state as “protector of women” and “guarantor of secular equality” there are many governmental institutions imagined and invoked (school, post-office, bus drivers, banks) but almost never the police.  There’s an important point to be explored there…

[rant button off]

Survey on ethnic and racial composition of French police

As I’ve discussed over at my personal blog, a survey was published suggesting that almost 10% of French police are “issued from immigration” (itself a tricky term in need of significant unpacking). This was big news because, on the one hand, these kind state-run surveys of race & ethnicity are extremely rare and politically contentious in France; and, on the other, not many people thought the numbers would be even that high.

“Welcome to Le Jungle (again), now leave (again)”

First there was the Red Cross center at Sangatte, which housed immigrants looking to make their way from France to the UK.  Then, in 2002 this center was closed down, causing the quasi-organic  growth of a much-criticized quasi-detention center/refugee camp known as “Le Jungle”.  Then,  last September, this was also closed down and bulldozed over.  From this rubble, an organization known as No Border took over a wharehouse where it housed about 100 refugees from Afghanistan.  That is, until now.  The BBC reports that French police created a security perimeter and eventually moved in to expel the remaining activists and refugees.

The spokesman for Sarkozy’s UMP party defended the move by denouncing “the manipulation of migrants by anti-globalization associations…. [who] feed on human misery in order to defend their extreme ideology,” echoing vice-president of the Front nationale Marie Le Pen’s criticism of No Border as “facilitating illegal immigration through illegal and violent actions”.  For his part, former Socialist Prime Minister Laurent Fabius suggested that while France couldn’t naturalize everyone, those who couldn’t be accepted should be treated in a “more European” manner.

Quick Hits

  • TF1 News reports that, in the 2010 report of the Cour de Comptes, a sort of  budgetary and auditing office of the French government, the Police Nationale are criticized for its extravagant use of funds, especially around the use of unmarked police vehicles.  In addition to the sheer increase in number of the vehicles (1,469 in September 2008 versus 1,218 in January 2003), the court alleges that these vehicles are often “luxurious” and “over-equipped… to an unjustifiable degree” while at the same time they’re driven overly recklessly (each vehicle being involved in an accident on average every 15 months) and being requisitioned for the personal use not only of police officers, but former Presidents and Prime Ministers (read between the political lines here) as well.
  • On the other hand, the municipal police in Toulouse have been trying out the use of Segway vehicles, or “gyropodes” as they’re called in French.  This gave  Ladepeche.fr the opportunity to publish some killer stats, which include:
    • the total costs of these vehicles amounts to about 5 euros a day, calculating the electricity cost at about 2.50 euros per 1000 kilometers
    • policemen using the vehicle cover 9x the area, deploy 4x faster and have 15x the contact with the population (don’t ask me how the calculate that last one, especially because whatever that contact means it includes interacting with someone standing 20cm about the ground)
  • Even though they don’t directly refer to this specific 20cm, in an interview with Le Monde criminologists Sebastian Roché and Jacques de Maillard (who make frequent appearances in my own dissertation, both as solo acts and as a tag team) decry the increasing distance in France between police and the people they’re supposed to be policing.  The idea behind the police de proximité was not only a move towards preventative policing, but towards a less centralized and hierarchical structure within the police itself.
  • Finally, Claude Bartolone, deputy of the Socialist Party (PS), accused Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux of trying to create a  “police without policemen” through his use of video surveillance… Which,  those of us who have read too much Foucault, would say is of course kind of exactly the point

As always, if you have any news you’d like added, let me know in the comments section or contact me

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