DFG Conference Black America and the Police

20.-23. October 2016

Funded by the German Research Foundation 

Bringing together scholars from the United States, the UK, and continental Europe, "Black America and the Police" traces the vexed relationship between African American communities and law enforcement to reveal the histories and mentalities that anchor suspicion on both sides. Despite the centrality of racial histories in the constitution of American criminal justice, the impact of police power on African American expression continues to be a blind spot of American Studies. The conference analyzes past and contemporary tensions between uniformed police and black legal subjects in order to compile and assess a vast archive of cultural emblems in different media that document and critique a mutual loss of trust resulting in tragic incidents of excessive, often deadly violence. For this purpose, the organizer has assembled members of academia (historians, sociologists, criminologists, political scientists, and cultural theorists), as well as artists and community activists to scrutinize the ways racism still permeates social structures, and to retrace the legacy of oppression-from slavery and segregation to the New Jim Crow- that allows racism to endure. 


Khalil Gibran Muhammad (History, Race and Public Policy Professor, Harvard Kennedy School) and Karla Holloway (James B. Duke Professor of English & Professor of Law, Duke University)



Dr. Georgiana Banita, Lehrstuhl für Literatur und Medien, Universität Bamberg