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Under The Gun

Marginalized Populations Project Conference

2:30 pm to 6:00 pm

Perry Worldhouse
3803 Locust Walk

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Under the Gun: Organized Violence and Afro-Descendant Populations, the inaugural conference of the Marginalized Populations Project in Africana Studies at Penn, brings together scholars from the UPenn 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 United States.

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 American Dilemma, the tension between formal declarations of equality and the ongoing reality of racial injustice.  

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 affect 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. 

Featured Speakers

  • Ivanir dos Santos, founding director of the Center for the Articulation of Marginalized Populations
  • Didier Fassin, Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Penn Participants

  • Kathleen Brown
  • Michael Jones Correia
  • Ann Farnsworth
  • Marie Gottschalk
  • Lydie Moudileno
  • Dorothy Roberts
  • Deborah Thomas
  • Tukufu Zuberi

Guest Participants

  • Alfonso Cassiani, Independent Scholar
  • Abdoulaye Gaye, University Of Ottawa
  • Marcia Lima, Universidade De Sao Paulo
  • Christen Smith, University Of Texas, Austin
  • Horace Levy, Jamaicans for Justice
  • Deborah Thompson, University of Oregon

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.