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Death by Policing: Race, State Violence, and the Possibility of Justice

view of weighted scales from conference poster


This symposium will examine racialized deaths at the hands of law enforcement agents (e.g., police and border patrol) and at sites of state authority and responsibility (e.g., prisons and immigration detention centers). It is particularly interested in exploring how the pervasive criminalization and policing of the racialized poor, immigrant workers, and black and brown youths make these deaths possible. This focus is captured in the notion “death by policing,” the idea being that state-involved racialized deaths are a function of the way bodies of color are policed in American society. The symposium will also look at how policing norms in United States influence the kind of justice that is accorded to racially marginalized populations. And it will discuss collective strategies and actions—at local and national levels—that can be employed to prevent racialized deaths.


Speaker Biographies

Kelly Lytle Hernández, University of California, Los Angeles

Kelly Lytle Hernández is Professor of History and African American Studies at UCLA. She is also the Interim Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. One of the nation’s leading experts on race, immigration, and mass incarceration, she is the author of the award-winning book, Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press, 2010), and City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). Currently, Professor Lytle Hernandez is the research lead for the Million Dollar Hoods project, which maps how much is spent on incarceration per neighborhood in Los Angeles County.

Jordan T. Camp, Barnard College

Jordan T. Camp is a Term Assistant Professor of American Studies at Barnard College, author of Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016), and co-editor (with Christina Heatherton) of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter (New York: Verso, 2016).

Andrea J. Ritchie, Barnard College

Andrea J. Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant and police misconduct attorney and organizer who has engaged in extensive research, writing, and advocacy around criminalization of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of color over the past two decades. She recently published Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color. Ritchie is currently Researcher-in-Residence on Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Criminalization at the Social Justice Institute of the Barnard Center for Research on Women. In 2014, she was awarded a Senior Soros Justice Fellowship to engage in documentation and advocacy around profiling and policing of women of color—trans and not trans, queer and not queer.

Nadine Naber, University of Illinois at Chicago

Nadine Naber is an Associate Professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program and Global Asian Studies and Faculty Director of the Arab American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Nadine is the author of Arab America: Gender, Cultural Politics, and Activism (NYU Press, 2012). She is co-editor of the books Race and Arab Americans (Syracuse University Press, 2008); Arab and Arab American Feminisms, winner of the Arab American Book Award 2012 (Syracuse University Press, 2010); and The Color of Violence (South End Press, 2006).

Monica Muñoz Martinez, Brown University

Monica Muñoz Martinez, Andrew Carnegie fellow 2017 to 2019, is the Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. Her book The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in the Texas Borderlands is forthcoming with Harvard University Press in Fall 2018.

Jenna M. Loyd, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Jenna M. Loyd is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of Health Rights Are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963-1978; co-editor with Matt Mitchelson and Andrew Burridge of Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis; and co-author with Alison Mountz of the forthcoming Boats, Borders, and Bases: Race, the Cold War, and the Rise of Migration Detention the United States.

Robin Reineke, University of Arizona and Colibrí Center for Human Rights

Robin Reineke is Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Colibrí Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit family advocacy organization working to end death and suffering on the U.S.-Mexico border by partnering with families of the dead and missing. She is also a Research Social Scientist in Anthropology at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center. She and Colibrí have worked in Arizona to support families of missing migrants since 2006.

Wendy Vogt, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

Wendy Vogt is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. Her research addresses the intersections between migration, violence, and human rights in Latin America and the United States. For the past decade, she has conducted ethnographic research on the political economy and embodied realities of Central American transit migration in Mexico. Her book manuscript, Lives in Transit: Violence and Intimacy on the Migrant Journey, will be published by UC Press in Fall 2018.

John M. Eason, Texas A&M University

John M. Eason is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Texas A&M University. In his prior position at the School Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, he received the 2012 Rural Sociological Society Young Scholar Award. He also served as the Provost’s Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Sociology at Duke University after receiving his PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago.

Angelica Camacho, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Angelica Camacho is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also a former Ford Dissertation Fellow. She received a PhD in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Her current research is on the Pelican Bay California Prisoner Hunger Strikes and the subsequent uprising of the prisoners’ families.

Alex S. Vitale, Brooklyn College

Alex S. Vitale is Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project there. He has spent the last 25 years writing about policing and consults both police departments and human rights organizations internationally. He is also a frequent essayist, whose writings have appeared in the New York Daily News, New York Times, Nation, Gotham Gazette, and New Inquiry.


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Illinois 150: The 21st Century Research University and the Public Good by Kevin Hamilton, Paul Michael Leonardo Atienza, Jessica Harless, Kelsey Hassevoort, Robin Holland, Marcelo Boccato Kuyumjian, Allison LaHood, Beatriz Esmeralda Maldonado, Robert M Rouphail, Majid Shafiee-Jood, Lettycia Terrones, and Kevin Wallington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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