Coffee Hour: Jaime Alves "On deaf ears: police terror, black protest and the making of the white polis"

Friday, January 16, 2015 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
3:30 p.m. Refreshments are offered in the E. Willard Miller seminar room, 319 Walker Building 4:00 p.m. The lecture begins in the John J. Cahir Auditorium, 112 Walker Building

About the talk

This presentation explores the racialized dimensions of policing practices in Brazil. To do so, we look not at the police, their administrative organization, and practices, but rather, we examine the modes of sociality reflected in and produced by police violence. Drawing from a statistics-based analysis of the social and political outcomes produced by the state in its preparation of mega-sporting events – evictions, incarceration, and police violence, for example – we identify a nexus between, on the one hand, racialized violence against black bodies, and on the other, white loyalty to the state, despite, or precisely because of, a specific type of violence perpetrated by the state on white bodies. Our primary contention is that we cannot understand white victimization by the police – and the outrage it produces – without taking into consideration two foundational, dialectical aspects of the regime of rights: complicity and disavowal. White vulnerability to this specific form of state violence – a form of violence that is nevertheless contingent and produces collective horror – reflects not only the disavowal of black challenges vis-a-vis urban life, but also the strengthening of the white public sphere.

Suggested Reading

Vargas, Joao. Black Desidentification: the 2013 protest and racial antagonism in Post-Lula Brazil. Critical Sociology.

About the speaker

Jaime AlvesJaime Amparo Alves is an Afro-Brazilian anthropologist and social activist. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at the Africana Research Center at Penn State and associate researcher at Centro de Estudios Afrodiasporicos (Universidad Icesi). As an Africana Research Center post-doctoral fellow, he is revising his book manuscript "Macabre Spatialities: The Politics of Race, Gender and Violence in Brazil," and working on his new project on black criminal agency, drug-trafficking and urban governance in Cali/Colombia. He is published on issues related to the African Diaspora, black urbanities, drug-trafficking, and police in Latin America. His most recent works have appeared in Antipode Journal of Radical Geography and the Journal of Black Studies. His next publication "We never slept," coauthored article with Joao Costa Vargas, explores the meanings of black protest in Brazil and in the United States. He is a blogger and writes regularly in Brazilian alternative media. Jaime's fellowship and awards records include Ford Foundation, DSD-SSRC and Ruth Simms Hamilton among others.

Angela Rogers