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


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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Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project

The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project, Week 6: Lee D. Baker on Ta-Nehisi Coates

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, Lee D. Baker discusses Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article “The Case for Reparations“.

photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “A negro family just arrived in Chicago from the rural South.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1922.

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In the Journals

In the Journals – December 2015

Entrance of the Cellblock Building - Royal Island, French Guiana

As both the holidays, and the year, draw to a close, we here at In the Journals wish all our readers the best in their endeavors in the coming year. That being said, the month of December has gifted us all with a number of articles perfect for continuing a generative dialogue regarding security, law, crime, and governance.

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Announcements, In the Journals

Open Access Articles from the American Anthropological Association

aaa altmetricsThe AAA has decided to feature the “most-discussed” articles (as measured by Altmetrics)  from Anthrosource by making them temporarily open-access. Among these are several articles that might be of interest to our readers:

and (*ahem* cough, cough)

DragNet, Uncategorized

DragNet: January 13 – 25, 2015

Screen shot 2015-01-25 at 2.40.16 PM

Despite nearly 2 decades separated from the things he loves by prison bars, it’s apparent that Agustin’s mind has kept memories of them in pristine condition.

NY Daily News‘ Juan Gonzalez‘ critique of Patrick Lynch kicked-off a series of posts covering the current NYPD-de Blasio scuffle. Some question whether Lynch’s “screaming and yelling” leads to better lives for officers, or merely more headaches.

While many have voiced concern about racist practices of NYPD, one group in particular has been rendered silent: minority NYPD officers. Heather Mac Donald recently interviewed several current and former minority NYPD officers about their experiences of racist police practices while both on and off-duty. These conversations update those Mac Donald originally conducted back in 2002.

If you’re a New Yorker, chances are you’ve heard a lot less people complaining about traffic citations over the past few weeks. About two-thirds less people, to be exact. With Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “perceived lack of support” for NYPD, the city’s largest police union has urged officers to retaliate by not arresting individuals unless it is absolutely imperative to do so. Read about the impact this directive has had on New York’s total arrest rate.

What does everyone get wrong about Charlie Hebdo and racism? Well, it’s complicated. But here’s a hint: it usually has to do with one of its two layers, according to Max Fisher of Get the full explanation about the magazine’s multidimensional message here.

Anthropoliteia shared a link to our newest entry in Interrogations, titled “A Lynn Bolles on Political Action at the 2014 American Anthropological Association Meeting“. Feel free to read the highlights from the interview, or catch the full length video here.

Last but not least (and, in fact, in my favorite post of the month) Bruno Renero-Hannan shares the stories of Agustin Luna Valencia. The latter served as mayor of San Agustin Loxicha, a Zapotec village, but has been incarcerated since 1996. Renero-Hannan beautifully reflects Agustin’s memories and love of animals as well as the tales that surround them according to the traditions of his village. Despite nearly 2 decades separated from the things he loves by prison bars, it’s apparent that Agustin’s mind has kept memories of them in pristine condition.

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 with the words “DragNet” in the subject header and I’ll get on it!


DragNet, March 2014

♫ Duh duh duh duh ♫  The editors of Anthropoliteia would like to introduce yet another new regular feature: DragNet.  An addition to our “Round Ups” series, DragNet will offer monthly highlights of the English-language academic blogosphere for topics related to policing, security, crime and punishment around the world.  We’re thrilled to have Kristin Castner serving as the Section Editor and lead author for the feature. ♫ Duh duh duh duh DUH ♫


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