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Under The Gun

Marginalized Populations Project Conference

9:00 am to 5:30 pm

October 20

9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Perry World House
3803 Locust Walk

Click here to register.

Under the Gun: State Violence and Black Populations, the inaugural conference of the Marginalized Populations Project in Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, brings together scholars from the Penn community with internationally renowned scholars and activists to examine the role of organized violence in the lives of Black populations in multiple societies.

The highly publicized killings of Black and Brown men and women by police officers in the United States during the past several years have generated considerable discussion worldwide about the ongoing legacies of racial discrimination in the U.S.

When combined with clear evidence of disproportionately higher incarceration and sentencing rates relative to other populations in the criminal justice system, residential and occupational segregation, and institutional racism, the spate of recent police killings of  unarmed Black men and women would first appear to be attributable to, in the words of Gunnar Myrdal, the tension between formal declarations of equality and the ongong reality of racial injustice which he refers to as the "The American Dilema."

Yet, Afro-descendant populations in other nation-states also experience disproportionate state and popular violence and incarceration.  Afro-descendant populations in countries like France, Colombia, Jamaica, and Brazil have their own, ongoing legacies of violence generated by the state, but also by paramilitary organizations, gangs and the coercive apparatuses of drug cartels.  The types, causes, and rationale for this violence varies and affects Afro-descendant populations in distinct ways.

In bringing together these distinct cases from the Global South and the Global North, this initiative seeks to explore the ways in which legacies of colonialism, institutional racism, and violence inform each case, complicating notions of “Black on Black crime” and genocide to evidence similarities and differences across cases.  By situating the United States in a more comparative and global framework, Under the Gun will underscore the international dimensions of the nexus of state violence and Black populations and the transnational dimensions of anti-Black racism. 

The conference will be live streamed at the following links:

Conference Schedule

Day 1 | Oct. 19 | 2:30 - 7:30 pm  

2:30 pm - 2:40 pm - Welcome

Wendell Pritchett, Provost, University of Pennsylvania 

2:40 pm - 3:00 pm - Conference Introduction & Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Michael Hanchard, Department of Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania

3:00 pm- 4:00 pm
Keynote Lecture
 – “From Top to Bottom: A Map of Racial Violence in Brazil"

Ivanir dos Santos, Center for the Articulation of Marginalized Populations, Brazil
(Simultaneous Translation)  

4:00 pm - 4:15 pm - Coffee /Refreshments   

4:15 pm - 5:35 pm - The U.S.
Kathleen Brown, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania
Marie Gottschalk, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
Michael Jones-Correa, Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, Chair/Discussant 

5:40 pm - 7:00 pm

Marcia Regina de Lima Silva, Departamento de Sociologia (Department of Sociology), Universidade de São Paulo
Christen Smith, Departments of African & African Diaspora Studies and Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin
Tukufu Zuberi, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, Chair/Discussant

7:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Q & A for Keynote, Brazil and U.S. Panels

Day 2 | Oct. 20 | 9 am - 5:30 pm


8:30 am - 9:00 am 

Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 10:20 am - Colombia

Alfonso Cassiani, Independent Scholar/Activist
Aurora Vergara-Figueroa, Departamento de Estudios Sociales (Department of Sociology), Universidad ICESI
Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, Chair/Discussant

10:25 am - 11:25 am- France

Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Michael Hanchard  

Keynote Lecture - “Policing as Punishment”

Didier Fassin, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University 

11:30 am- 12:50 pm - France & Canada
Abdoulaye Gueye, Department of Sociology, University of Ottawa
Debra Thompson, Department of Political Science, University of Oregon
Lydie Moudileno, Department of Romance Languages, University of Pennsylvania, Chair/Discussant

12:50 pm - 1:10 pm - Q & A 

1:10 pm - 2:10 pm - Break for Lunch

2:10 pm -3:30 pm - Jamaica
Deborah Thomas, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania
Horace Levy, Jamaicans for Justice
Dorothy Roberts, School of Law, Departments of Sociology & Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Chair/Discussant

3:30 pm - 3:45 pm - Coffee Break

3:45 pm- 4:45 pm - Plenary Session and Q & A
Discussion with Audience & Participants 

4:45 pm - 5:30 pm - Closing Reception 

This conference is sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania with the generous support of the Marginalized Populations Project, Fels Policy Research Initiative, University Research Fund, and a School of Arts and Sciences Conference Grant.

Click here to register.