The Association for Political and Legal Anthropology (APLA) condemns the recent reprehensible killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Tony McDade, and so many other African Americans. These killings yet again highlight a fundamentally racist and broken criminal justice system that continues to enact profound violence on Black communities specifically. Beyond these headline examples, anti-Black racism is a central feature in U.S. inequality, a fulcrum upon which other systems of oppression rest. APLA stands in solidarity with the #BLM movement and others in their fight against police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and institutionalized racism. We contest the racist language used by the media to describe these uprisings. In the context of a pandemic that is disproportionately impacting Black, Latinx and indigenous communities, and in the face of aggressive militarized policing, protestors are putting their lives on the line to demand racial justice. As political and legal anthropologists, we affirm their calls against systematic violence and for redirecting resources toward life-sustaining infrastructure for communities of color. We support and stand in solidarity with the ongoing anti-racism protests and marches in cities and communities throughout the US and the world. We also reaffirm our commitment to listening to and learning from the communities most affected by racial injustice. In particular, we heed the call of our colleagues in the Association of Black Anthropologists, and accept our responsibility to dismantle systemic racial inequalities and exclusions within the discipline and our institutions.
Below is a partial list of resources, including links to more expansive lists that have been compiled by others. This list will continue to update over the next weeks and months. As we further develop this list, we invite you to send your recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have not included links to bail funds here, but donating to bail funds is one concrete way to support those who have been arrested while fighting for racial justice.
Books (some free):
- Alondra Nelson’s Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) – the e-book is free when read through the publisher.
- Aimee Meredith Cox’s Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke University Press, 2015)
- Laurence Ralph’s The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence (University of Chicago Press, 2020) – free on ebook available from the publisher if claimed by June 6.
- Imani Perry’s Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation (Duke University Press, 2018)
- Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness, edited by Kamari Maxine Clarke and Deborah A. Thomas, (Duke University Press, 2006)
- Francis B Nyamnjoh’s #RhodesMustFall: Nibbling at Resilient Colonialism in South Africa (Langaa Research and Publishing Common Initiative Group, 2016) – free to download.
Articles and Posts:
- Orisanmi Burton’s (2015) “To Protect and Serve Whiteness” in North American Dialogue – the article is free to access.
- Bianca Williams edited “#BlackLivesMatter: Anti-Black Racism, Police Violence, and Resistance” for the Society of Cultural Anthropology’s Fieldsights in 2015. The series features:
- Introduction: #BlackLivesMatter by Bianca C. Williams
- Moving Targets by Joy James
- The Choreography of Survival by Aimee Meredith Cox
- Killed Outright or Left to Die: Black (Trans)Women and the Police State by Matt Richardson
- Performance, Affect, and Anti-Black Violence: A Transnational Perspective on #BlackLivesMatter by Christen Smith
- Transnational Anti-Black Racism and State Violence in Trinidad by Dylan Kerrigan
- Black Lives Don’t Matter by Joao Vargas
- Black Lives Matter: A Critique of Anthropology by Orisanmi Burton
- Rethinking the Call: The Limits of Cameras and Training by Michelle Stewart
- Policing Poverty: An Analysis Revisited by Alisse Waterston
- Kamari Maxine Clarke’s (2019) “Affective Justice: The Racialized Imaginaries of International Justice” in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review
- Following this article, PoLAR digital editorial fellow Anna Kirstine Schirrer conducted an interview with Kamari Clarke here.
- PoLAR Review Essay, “Anthropologies of the U.S. Criminal Justice System” by Susan Dewey
- “The Decolonizing Generation: (Race and) Theory in Anthropology since the Eighties” by Jafari Sinclaire Allen and Ryan Cecil Jobson in Current Anthropology 75(2) 2016
- Kimberle Crenshaw’s (1991) “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color” in Stanford Law Review 43(6).
- Denise Ferreira da Silva’s (2016) “The Racial Limits of Social Justice: The Ruse of Equality of Opportunity and the Global Affirmative Action Mandate” in Critical Ethnic Studies, 2 (2): 284-298, Fall.
- Adia Benton and Thurka Sangaramoorthy’s “From #EbolaBeGone to #BlackLivesMatter: Anthropology, Misrecognition, and the Racial Politics of Crisis“ in Savage Minds: Notes and Queries in Anthropology, January 16, 2015.
- Radical History Review’s most recent issue, “Policing, Justice, and the Radical Imagination,” was edited by Amy Chazkel, Monica Kim, and A. Naomi Paik, features a range of relevant texts – all articles are currently free.
- “Resources for Resistance: An Interview with Robin Kelley” (2019) by Juliana Friend and Sydney Pullen in the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s Fieldsights.
- Authority, Confinement, Solidarity, and Dissent – a three-part discussion with Catherine Besteman, Karina Biondi, and Orisanmi Burton from PoLAR’s Emergent Conversations: Part 8.
- The Antipode Film Project featuring Geographies of Capitalism with Ruth Wilson Gilmore
- Whose Streets (Damon Davis & Sabaah Folayan 2017) (link to Kanopy streaming.)
- 13th by Ava DuVernay (2016) (only on Netflix)
Other lists and resources:
- Ashanté Reese and SA Smythe have created an extensive list of resources and readings focused on the study of abolition.
- #BlackLivesMatter PGI Micro-Syllabus, presented by Politics, Groups, and Identities – this list features an Introduction from Ray Block Jr., Christopher Stout, and Nadia Brown (Lead Editor) and provides a list of articles (free to access until August 31, 2020) that were compiled by Guillermo Caballero.
- Black Lives Matter Syllabus Project, “Introducing: The Anthropoliteia #BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project.”
- This features an interview between Kevin Karpiak and Sameena Mulla.
- A reflection on the 2016-2017 Anthropoliteia BlackLivesMatterSyllabus Project can be found here.
- Duke University Press assembled a Read to Respond series, which includes a focus on racial justice.
- Verso’s Abolition and Black Struggle list includes a number of free e-books.
- The University of Minnesota Press has assembled a Reading for Racial Justice collection.
- Resources for Accountability and Action for Black Lives was assembled by Carlisa Johnson and is a resource for those looking to support calls for action.
- Anthropology of Policing: The Persistence of Racialized Police Brutality and Community Responses – What Can Anthropologists Contribute? – held by AAA on June 11, 1pm EDT