Sociology Race and Violence
by
Arturo Aldama, Laura Malaver, Shawn O'Neal, Alejandra Benita Portillos
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 July 2020
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 July 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0250

Introduction

White-supremacist violence; theft of land and resources; the genocide of indigenous peoples and the horrors of violence of stolen and enslaved human beings to build wealth for their colonial overlords, countries, and empires in the United States, the Caribbean, and the Americas; and xenophobic and racialized exploitations of labor produced by people of color are core aspects of US history. The issues, spectacles, histories, and lived experiences of race, racism, and racial, gender, and sexual violence drive the structural oppression of nonwhite communities in the United States and have unique trajectories while also developing unevenly and relationally within shared histories of racial, gender, and sexual violence and economic exploitation. Violence toward people of color started with first contact between European colonizing forces and indigenous communities in the late 15th century. From the late 15th century to the 21st century, the spectacles of lynching; vigilantism; Jim Crow / Juan Crow segregation practices; the imposition of boarding schools and the documented physical, psychological, and sexual violence inflicted on indigenous children; and the extreme anti-Chinese violence of vigilante race riots and xenophobic immigration laws are all legacies continuing into the 2020s. In the 20th century, a range of organized systems and acts of violence continued and emerged, from white-supremacist and patriarchal authority on communities of color; race riots; lynching; massacres; and unlawful imprisonments to the 1943 zoot suit riots, deportation, other acts of state-driven violence, and the rise of mass incarceration. Acts of domestic terrorism by white-supremacist individuals who see Latinx, Muslims, Jews, and other non-Anglo-Saxon communities as threats and invaders to the US body politic are a central feature of the 21st century. Along with vigilante violence toward communities of color, police brutality and deadly force with impunity continue to traumatize communities of color and foments the racial biopower politics of the 21st century, not to mention the ongoing crisis of domestic and gender-driven violence. This article summarizes a range of sources that speak both to empire- and state-driven and vigilante violence in different time frames toward varying communities in the United States and beyond.

Violence of Empire and European Colonization in the United States and the Americas

Colonization in the Americas by European empires (Spanish, English, French, Brazilian, and the Dutch Crown) started in the late 15th century and lasted until colonized nations began winning their independence in the 19th century. These empires sought to build further wealth and power by usurping land and resources, murder, enslavement, and displacement of indigenous people, as well as the theft and enslavement of people from the continent of Africa to replace and work with enslaved indigenous subjects. Given how each of these areas of colonization has a huge archive of primary and secondary sources and scholarly studies, we feature only some key texts that discuss colonization and enslavement and the racial and gendered violence that drives the colonial project and the ideologies that place nonwhite peoples as inferior, savage, and less evolved than Euro-Western setter-colonialists. The four-hundred-plus-year holocaust of enslaved Africans to build the wealth of European and Anglo-American plantation owners in the Americas and the Caribbean has a huge range of sources and needs to have its own full-length annotated bibliography. However, we included a variety of key sources that speak to the racialized violence of the Middle Passage and the racialized violence of enduring enslavement and violence of subjecting human beings to become slaves and “property” for plantation and mine owners, among other industries. For a good overview of the genocide enacted by the Spanish Empire in Mexico and the ways that indigenous subjects were decimated by warfare, enslaved work conditions, and disease, see Aldama 2001, Dunbar-Ortiz 2015, and Todorov 1999. Mignolo 2003 discusses in great detail the systematic denial of “coevalness” that characterizes Europe’s colonialist attitudes toward Mexico and its civilizational complexity. For an understanding of racialized sexual violence during conquest on indigenous women, see Smith 2005, and for a more recent look at the ongoing femicides of racialized sexual violence on indigenous women, see Deer 2015. For a study on sexual violence toward enslaved indigenous and African bodies in Brazil, see Aidoo 2018. Some key texts that discuss the racialized violence on enslaved people of African descent in the United States include Hartman 1997, on the terror of racial and sexual violence on enslaved bodies, and, for work on the horrors of abjection in the Middle Passage, Hurston 2018, which is based on interviews with a survivor of the Middle Passage. We also summarize a key work by Orlando Patterson (Patterson 2018), which discusses the practices of slavery across different continents and countries and then focuses on the practices of “social death” that were employed by US plantation owners and slave owners to reduce human beings to literal property.

  • Aidoo, Lamonte. 2018. Slavery unseen: Sex power and violence in Brazilian history. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    This study expands histories of enslavement within the Americas, documenting practices of sexual violence on enslaved indigenous and African bodies from the early 16th century to the late 19th century. Aidoo examines male rape of male adult and child slaves, hierarchies of race among women and their privileges, and sexual violence permeating and exacerbating these privileges. The study delineates four hundred years of ongoing sexual violence(s) by whites toward nonwhites in Brazil.

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  • Aldama, Arturo. 2001. Disrupting savagism: Intersecting Chicana/o, Mexican immigrant, and Native American struggles for self-representation. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Historicizing the processes of racial hierarchies for the “justification” of colonial violence toward indigenous peoples, this study locates how the discourses of the “fierce” and “noble” savage drive criminalization and violence in Mexico and in the US-Mexico borderlands. The book considers the politics of racialized, subaltern, feminist, and diasporic identities while analyzing how Mexican immigrants, indigenous peoples of Mexico, and Chicanas/Chicanos neutralize and disrupt negative discourses.

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  • Deer, Sarah. 2015. The beginning and end of rape: Confronting sexual violence in Native America. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

    DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816696314.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Arguing that surviving colonization and surviving rape are interconnected processes, Deer grounds modern sexual violence against Native American women in historically ongoing contexts of colonialism. The book discusses rape in legal, political, social, historical, and individual contexts and calls for indigenous nations to place legal reform (both internally and at the state and federal levels) regarding sexual violence against native women as the top priority for tribal self-determination and decolonization efforts.

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  • Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne. 2015. An indigenous people’s history of the United States. Boston: Beacon.

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    Dunbar-Ortiz provides a wide-ranging look at the effects of conquest and colonization and the racist ideologies and practices that drove the genocide and displacement of indigenous civilizations, and the total change of lifeways, ecosystems, and relations among tribes. The final chapter critiques how the US war on terrorism uses similar tactics of torture, subjugation, and displacement of those perceived as enemy combatants.

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  • Hartman, Saidiya V. 1997. Scenes of subjection: Terror, slavery, and self-making in nineteenth-century America. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    Hartman examines how discourses and practices of racial and gendered subjugation of enslaved human beings of African descent occurred in the 19th-century US antebellum and post-plantation South. Hartman engages with a wide variety of examples of how black bodies are terrorized by slave masters and others for enjoyment by the white community from the auction block and minstrel shows, and the violent ways that bodies are subjected and punished in chattel slavery. Hartman argues that freed slaves had to continue to endure racial and gender terror in the post-plantation South through lynchings, subjugated “free” labor, and the ongoing resentment of former slave owners.

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  • Hurston, Zora Neale. 2018. Barracoon: The story of the last black cargo. New York: HarperCollins.

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    Based on Hurston’s 1927 interviews with Cudjo Lewis, at the time the last living survivor of the Middle Passage. Lewis’s account describes the raid on his people and subsequent capturing and transporting of his communities across the Atlantic aboard the slaver Clotilda. This work can be held as a foundational narrative recounting the horrors of racialized slavery, violence, and death, while beautifully capturing great human resolve.

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  • Mignolo, Walter. 2003. The darker side of the Renaissance: Literacy, territoriality, and colonization. 2d ed. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press.

    DOI: 10.3998/mpub.8739Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Mignolo’s work draws on history, semiotics, literature, historiography, cartography, and cultural studies to argue how European colonialism is driven by the systemic denial of civilizational complexities of Mesoamerica to justify their genocide and imposition and false hierarchies. Mignolo argues that the period of conquest by Spain and Europe of the Americas is characterized by a systematic denial of coevalness of civilizations between Mesoamerica and western Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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  • Patterson, Orlando. 2018. Slavery and social death: A comparative study. 2d ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    In this comparative analysis, Patterson analyzes sixty-six locations where slavery has occurred, such as Greece, Rome, China, Korea, Africa, Caribbean, and the US South. He demonstrates the prominence of slavery within the daily social structures and systems by providing an understanding of the uneven power dynamics of a slave-and-master relationship, which results in subjecting the slave to social death.

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  • Smith, Andrea. 2005. Conquest: Sexual violence and American Indian genocide. Cambridge, UK: South End.

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    From state-sanctioned boarding schools, genocide, land extraction and abduction, and reproductive health control, Smith argues how sexual violence is a tool of colonization and genocide, and she discusses the impacts on indigenous women in different sites and times of colonization in the U.S.

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  • Todorov, Tzvetan. 1999. Conquest of America: The question of the other. Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press.

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    Using 16th-century sources, Todorov examines the almost total destruction of indigenous people and their civilization during the conquest of Mexico. He argues that the almost total genocide occurred through direct violence by the Spaniards, working conditions of colonized indigenous peoples forced to work for the Spanish Crown, and the spread of diseases. Todorov argues that the imperial self is constructed through the violent abjection of the Other.

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The Effects of Colonization on Colonized and Enslaved Subjects

For foundational work on considering the effects of racism and white supremacy as a driving force of European and Euroamerican colonization on colonized and enslaved subjects, see Fanon 2008 (originally published in 1952) and Fanon 2004 (first published in 1961), in which the author looks at the consequences of colonization. In the case of the Americas, see Forbes 2010, in which the author discusses his understanding of the wetiko psychosis, which he argues was produced through the violence of genocide, rape, theft, and enslavement by colonial forces. Also, for a discussion of the daily life of racial violence on enslaved subjects in the United States, see Douglass 2003.

  • Douglass, Frederick. 2003. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass: An American slave. Boston: Bedford / St. Martin’s.

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    A foundational text describing the brutal and violent African slave experience on the American southern plantation. This poignant manuscript is vital not only for illuminating the shear violence of racialized slavery enacted by plantation overseers, but also to exemplify Douglass’s narrative as being an essential chronicle of resistance and activism to racial violence.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. 2004. The wretched of the earth. New York: Grove.

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    Published initially in 1961. Fanon considers physical and mental processes of colonization, decolonization, and anticolonization, defining the structures of violence necessary to execute colonialism as well as interrogate, challenge, and wage war on the ideological, physical, and human stratagems engrossed in the violent suppression of communities of color.

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  • Fanon, Frantz. 2008. Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove.

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    Originally published in 1952, this text is an important composition regarding anticolonial movements and anticolonial theories. Fanon utilizes autobiographical accounts, with psychoanalytical philosophy and case-study deposition, to offer an in-depth window into the experiences of African men and women as they are forced to navigate colonialism’s race-infused violent subjugation under the hegemony of white-European colonization.

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  • Forbes, Jack. 2010. Columbus and other cannibals: The wetiko disease of exploitation, imperialism and terrorism. New York: Seven Stories.

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    Forbes argues that conquest, colonization, genocide, enslavement, and sexual violence inflicted on indigenous civilizations are driven by what he terms the “wetiko (cannibal) psychosis,” where human beings are violated and consumed for greed, profit, and domination of land, resources, and colonized subjects. He looks at how systems of colonization and enslavement function by having colonized subjects gain more status and power if they enact violence on their own communities. Originally published in 1978.

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Manifest Destiny, Westward Expansion, Genocide, and White Supremacy in the United States

This section seeks to showcase the consequences of manifest destiny and westward expansion of the United States on indigenous communities and nonwhite immigrants as euro-Western and Anglo-American settler colonialists moved west to California in the mid-19th century. The ending of the US-Mexico war (1846–1848) and the discovery of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1849 caused a huge migration of men primarily of European descent to head to California, as well as men from mainland China and other parts of Latin America, especially Chile. The consequences of the 1849 gold rush on westward expansion, and the gold rush on the indigenous tribes in California who were already negotiating the ongoing colonial regime of Mexico and the mission system that sought to Christianize indigenous children and make them into semiskilled laborers for the church and wealthy elite families, was a brutal and in some cases totalizing attempt at decimation and extermination. Chinese men who came to “Gold Mountain” to work the gold mines, then later railroads and tunnels for train lines, were also subjected to ongoing racial violence that was both vigilante and state driven. The criminalization of Chinese men and ongoing vigilante violence to Chinatowns and Chinese settlements in California, the Northwest, Colorado, and Wyoming, among other sites, led to the nation’s first major racially based exclusionary immigration laws. For an excellent overview of the rituals and practices of Manifest Destiny, westward expansion, and settler colonial violence on indigenous tribes and communities, see Slotkin 1973. To understand the consequences of westward expansion and the legalization of white-supremacist rule in California as a newly ceded state after the US-Mexico war of 1846–1848, see Almaguer 2008. For an archivally based deep analysis of the genocidal intent of the US nation-state to exterminate indigenous people of California, see Lindsay 2015 and Madley 2017. For an in-depth look at the events and practices of vigilante violence directed at Chinese workers along the West Coast in the 19th century, see Pfaelzer 2007. For a discussion of anti-Chinese riots in the mining towns of Colorado and the 1880 race riot in Denver, as well as the impacts of the Amache internment or concentration camp for Japanese Americans during World War II, see Wei 2016. Kurashige 2016 also looks at the anti-Asian discourses and practices that informed anti-Chinese immigration laws and the forced incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Both Lew-Williams 2018 and Lee 2003 offer nuanced looks at the interplay of racism, nativism, and violence toward Chinese workers in the United States that led to the race-based immigration exclusion acts of the late 19th century. Kanstrom 2007 looks at racial animus and the ideological reasons why the United States deports and displaces the “unwanted” and “un-American,” from anti-Chinese Mexican workers blamed for the Great Depression to suspected “communists” under McCarthyism and the forced displacement of the Cherokee nation during the Trail of Tears.

  • Almaguer, Tomás. 2008. Racial fault lines: The historical origins of white supremacy in California. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This is a comparative study of white-supremacist racial hierarchies legalized in California in the mid-19th century. The book charts the ways in which indigenous tribes were decimated as a result of westward expansion, the ways the treaty rights of Mexican family-owned land were ignored and land was given to Euroamerican squatters, and the impacts of the foreign miners’ tax on Chinese miners, among other areas of analysis.

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  • Kanstrom, Daniel. 2007. Deportation nation: Outsiders in American history. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    A historical study grounded in case law that considers the racist and ideological motives that drive the deportation policies and practices of the United States when subjects are viewed as “un-American” or illegal. It traverses the anti-Chinese “hysteria,” the forced displacement of the Cherokee nation, and the deportation of suspected “communists.”

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  • Kurashige, Lon. 2016. Two faces of exclusion: The untold history of anti-Asian racism in the United States. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

    DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469629438.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Kurashige provides nuanced historical analysis of anti-Asian exclusion laws, demonstrating roles of referenced “egalitarians,” white academics, policymakers, and influencers who supported and contested numerous policies and practices. Kurashige demonstrates that history is more complex than solely occupying anti-Asian sentiment, as Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment laws would suggest. Kurashige problematizes dominant understandings and exclusions of US Asian communities from the 1850s to the 1960s, and how history is told about these movements in the early 21st century.

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  • Lee, Erika. 2003. At America’s gates: Chinese immigration during the exclusion era, 1882–1943. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    Lee provides contextualization for events and ideologies leading into Chinese exclusion from 1882 to 1943. This text provides an understanding of systemized exclusion toward Chinese people on the basis of race, class, gender, and citizenship. Lee provides accounts of individually resisted exclusion laws via court appeals or new migration pathways into the United States. This text is an excellent illustration of micro and macro state-sanctioned violence affecting Chinese migrants.

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  • Lew-Williams, Beth. 2018. The Chinese must go: Violence, exclusion, and the making of the alien in America. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.4159/9780674919907Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This text demonstrates violence endured by Chinese immigrants, from vigilante mobs pushing people out of Pacific Northwest towns to racist policymakers developing anti-Chinese legislation. Lew-Williams engages in topics such as Chinese methods of resistance through alternative modes of US entry, nuances of Chinese class-based exclusion, and shifting motivations prompting the 1882 Exclusion Act. She effectively demonstrates state-sanctioned and social exclusion that detrimentally affected the Chinese.

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  • Lindsay, Brendan. 2015. Murder state: California’s Native American genocide, 1846–1873. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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    Using Lemkin’s and other scholars’ definition of genocide from the 1948 UN convention, this book investigates the multifaceted ways that states, vigilantes, and media intersected to enact genocide on indigenous communities in California in the mid-19th century. Lindsay argues that whites sought to exterminate indigenous people to take land and wealth, and focuses on paramilitary death squads.

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  • Madley, Benjamin. 2017. An American genocide: The United States and the California Indian catastrophe, 1846–1873. New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press.

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    Madley looks at the genocidal violence enacted on California Indians as a result of European settler colonialism. He discusses the relative lack of violence among indigenous tribes prior to Spanish colonization, then Spanish and Anglo-American colonization. Madley focuses on the massacres and other intents to exterminate California natives, with a detailed focus on the “killing machine” authorized by the state of California.

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  • Pfaelzer, Jean. 2007. Driven out: The forgotten war against Chinese Americans. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    This historical study looks at the attempts to enact “ethnic cleansing” on Chinese immigrants on the West Coast from 1848 to the early 20th century. The book details racist mob violence, massacres, burning of houses and property, lynching, roundups, and the expulsion of Chinese from towns in the Pacific Northwest.

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  • Slotkin, Richard. 1973. Regeneration through violence: The mythology of the American frontier, 1600–1860. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Univ. Press.

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    Slotkin examines the violent structure of settler colonialism, and the American consciousness created and centered on white European-descended men’s ideas of Manifest Destiny, and the characterization of indigenous communities as savages to be civilized and exploited. Slotkin invokes the Jungian idiom of attainment of self through individuation, which conjures narratives of captivity and the white-male settler persona demonstrated in the cult of the hunter-killer hero.

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  • Wei, William. 2016. Asians in Colorado: A history of persecution, and perseverance in the Centennial State. Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press.

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    Several key chapters discuss the anti-Chinese race riots in Denver in 1880, mob violence, and interethnic violence between Irish and Italian miners to drive out Chinese men from the key mining towns of Colorado. Also, the study considers racist discourses of the “Yellow Peril” and the impacts of the Amache concentration camp on Japanese families located near the town of Granada, Colorado.

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Lynching and Racial Terror in the US-Mexico Borderlands

Lynching has a long history of creating trauma and fear among people of color in the United States and ensuring white supremacy through racial terror. This section is more focused on people of Mexican descent and complements an already published article on lynching in Oxford Bibliographies (Dichter 2018). Lynching is when someone is tortured and hanged without a rigorous due process of the law, and usually involves mob violence. Most people think of lynching in the United States as targeted at African Americans in the southern states (early-21st-century research suggests close to four thousand people of color were lynched from 1877 to the 1950s in the southern states). The racial terror of lynching was also inflicted on other nonwhite communities, such as Native Americans who were seen as hostile, Chinese miners and shop owners, and people of Mexican descent, among others. Reasons for lynching included being accused by whites of committing a crime, acting too “uppity,” and even minor issues such as failure to move off the sidewalk, attempting to vote, or, in the case of Josefa Vasquez in California (Juanita de Downieville), defending herself against sexual assault by an Anglo miner in 1851. Gonzales-Day 2006 provides a compelling comparative look at the white-supremacist acts of lynching from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century on different communities of color in the United States, including African Americans, Native Americans, Latinx, and Chinese. Guidotti-Hernández 2011 takes a detailed look at the gender politics of the lynching of Josefa Vasquez, known as Juanita de Downieville, along with a look at the brutality of violence enacted on indigenous communities in the US-Mexico borderlands. Villanueva 2017 looks at how the Texas Rangers and vigilante groups enacted racial terror on Mexican American families and communities. Muñoz Martinez 2018 continues the critique of the Texas Rangers addressed in Villanueva 2017 and shows further that violence was both state and vigilante driven.

  • Dichter, Thomas Alan. 29 November 2018. “Lynching.” In Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780190280024-0061Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This overview considers the practices of racialized lynching from the after-life of slavery to the mid 20th century in the southern states of United States. There are summaries of key sources that examine the practices and social context of anti-black lynching, as well as activism to pass anti-lynching laws and to create public memorials.

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  • Gonzales-Day, Ken. 2006. Lynching in the West, 1850–1935. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822388241Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This study examines lynchings from 1850 to 1935 of Native Americans, Latinx, and Chinese in California. Gonzales-Day attributes white supremacy and racism as motivations for public lynchings. The study considers lynching beyond those African Americans affected in the South, to include a nation-state analysis. This text contributes to the renarration concerning frontier justice, arguing how these vigilante groups acted as law enforcement, perpetuating extreme violence.

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  • Guidotti-Hernández, Nicole. 2011. Unspeakable violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican national imaginaries. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822394495Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    This study highlights a history of epistemic and physical violence based on race, class, and gender, in the 19th- and 20th-century United States and Mexico borderlands. It focuses on four periods: the lynching of a Californian woman in 1851, the Camp Grant Indian massacre of 1871, the erasures of racialized and sexualized violence in South Texas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the Yaqui Indian wars of 1880–1910.

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  • Muñoz Martinez, Monica. 2018. The injustice never leaves you: Anti-Mexican violence in Texas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press.

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    Muñoz Martinez contributes to borderland scholarship through expanding understandings of violence toward Mexicans from Texas Rangers, local law enforcement, and residents in Texas from 1910 to 1920. Utilizing archival and oral-history methods, she makes a critical intervention into traditional narratives around the glorified Texas Ranger and looks at the violence and ensuing trauma.

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  • Villanueva, Nicholas, Jr. 2017. The lynching of Mexicans in the Texas borderlands. Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press.

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    Villanueva analyzes Anglo-Texan lynching of ethnic Mexican people in the early 20th century and considers how the racial tensions between Mexicans and Anglos in Texas led to patterns and spectacles of lynchings and considers the interplay of white supremacist ideologies and the terror of lynching.

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Attacks on Latinx Youth in World War II: Zoot Suit Riots and the Criminalization of Youth

We devote a subtheme section to key texts in this shameful period of US history. Latinxs, like African Americans, played an extremely important role during World War II as enlisted soldiers, and, for women of color, as industrial workers, welders, and laborers in war-related industries. However, for what many scholars call the “enemy at home” during World War II, Latinx youth inspired by the zoot suit fashions of the Jazz Age became targets of racial animus and physical violence by sailors and other vigilantes who considered the zoot suit style, code switching, fancy hats, ducktail hairstyles, and the dress of teens of color to be “un-American” and “unpatriotic.” There are several key studies that point to the mob violence directed at Mexican American youth by predominantly white sailors and others fresh out of boot camp, which led to public beatings and to stripping the clothes from teenagers and youth in public spaces. The most discussed act of vigilante violence on youth of color is the June 1943 Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles, California. The first major and controversial study of the vigilante violence directed at Latinx youth in the 1940s is Mazón 1984, which tries to understand the psychosocial motivations of the sailors to assert their masculine authority by assaulting youth of color wearing zoot suits. Alvarez 2008 provides a more comparative look at how the zoot suit cultures speak to the punishment of youth of color in the United States for being too uppity and provocative. Ramirez 2009 looks at the gendered violence and the experiences of Mexican American women in the zoot suit era who adopted the pachuca style of dress, hair, and language and who defied racial and gender norms. Moreover, Pagán-Obregón 2003 provides an in-depth analysis of the Sleepy Lagoon murder trial, which fed into the anti-Mexican, anti-youth sentiments and ensuing riots in wartime Los Angeles. Last, Escobedo 2013 examines the interplay of state criminalization and vigilante violence on women of Mexican descent during World War II.

  • Alvarez, Luis. 2008. The power of the zoot: Youth culture and resistance during World War II. Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press.

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    Alvarez traces popularity, complexities, and mediations of zoot suit culture, intersecting the wartime economy and political climate of the early years of World War II, from the lens of juvenile delinquency, body politics, and national belonging. An important overview of a cultural phenomenon in the United States that has for decades illuminated the power of culture, style, music, and identity within racialized enclaves at times of war, violence, and conflict.

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  • Escobedo, Elizabeth Rachel. 2013. From coveralls to zoot suits: The lives of Mexican American women on the World War II home front. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    This text traces concrete ways in which women of Mexican descent were criminalized as pachucas during the zoot suit era of World War II. Escobar provides a needed voice on the intrinsic roles that Mexican American women played in the industries of the wartime economy. This text is a necessary addition to the existing male-dominated literature examining zoot suit communities during the period.

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  • Mazón, Mauricio. 1984. The Zoot-Suit Riots: The psychology of symbolic annihilation. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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    From the Sleepy Lagoon case to the “Zoot Suit Yokum” conspiracy, Mazón provides an in-depth analysis of the psychological dynamics, behaviors, and characteristics brought about by the Los Angeles 1943 riots. Detailing the biased imagery, rhetoric, and symbolism resulting from the mass protest, he argues for a reinstated analysis at the intersections of race, patriotism, nationalism, and social formations of Mexican Americans and Anglo-Americans.

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  • Pagán-Obregón, Eduardo. 2003. Murder at the Sleepy Lagoon: Zoot suits, race, and riot in wartime L.A. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

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    A comprehensive social history of the 1942 Sleepy Lagoon murder trial and conviction of seventeen young men in the murder of another youth, José Díaz. It examines how the mass criminalization and demonization of Latino youth who adopted the pachuco style of dress, and the code switching of Spanish, English, and caló (slang), added to the racial tensions.

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  • Ramirez, Catherine S. 2009. The woman in the zoot suit: Gender, nationalism, and the cultural politics of memory. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822388647Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Ramirez adds to the growing literature on the Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940s and the ways that youth who dressed in the zoot suit style were criminalized and assaulted by sailors in Los Angeles and beyond, by focusing on the women who embraced the zoot suit aesthetics and defied both racial and gender norms. Ramirez looks at how these women enacted a type of agency and defiance, claimed space both in public and private spheres, resisted racist and gendered violences, and served as precursors to Chicana feminist activism of the 1970s. Through a series of interviews with female zoot suiters known as pachucas, and analyses of cultural texts, Ramirez demonstrates that these women’s absence in visual, artistic, cultural, and rhetorical spheres was not a mistake but rather a probing threat to the gender of heteropatriarchal expectations and traditions before and during what came to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots in the 1940s.

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Police Brutality: The Ongoing Saga of State Violence toward People of Color

A core aspect of the racial biopolitics of the 21st century in the United States is the ongoing acts and spectacles of police violence toward people of color, including, and perhaps especially, African American men and youth. Some of the foundational readings that discuss the criminalization and racist police brutality and the double standards in criminal law that lead to the incarceration of African American men include Davis 2017 and Butler 2017. For a more comparative view on police brutality that focuses on women of color, see Ritchie 2017, and for a detailed look at African American women, see Crenshaw, et al. 2016. Camp and Heatherton 2016 considers how the “broken window” policies and practices of heavy-handed, preemptive police enforcement in poor communities of color lead to the onslaught of arguably unlawful killing and maiming of people of color. Lowery 2016 explores the consequences of loss and trauma for families and communities affected by police killings and violence, and Puar 2017 makes an argument for how police brutality and the states’ right to maim communities and bodies in the United States intersects with Israeli attempts to “maim” Palestinian self-determination.

  • Butler, Paul. 2017. Chokehold: Policing black men. New York: New Press.

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    Butler utilizes the violent system of constraint that is the “chokehold” as a metaphor to discuss the racialized practices and governmental policies enacted to create a perpetual environment of submission toward African American people. Butler argues that such practice is a framework of control accomplished by the nation-state as an instrument of law enacted particularly to suppress black men and boys, and to dominate all folk of African descent.

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  • Camp, Jordan T., and Christina Heatherton, eds. 2016. Why the policing crisis led to Black Lives Matter. New York and London: Verso.

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    This volume brings together social-movement organizers, scholar-activists, journalists, and artists to critique the state-driven militarized police violence of “broken windows” policies on communities of color, LGBTQI, the homeless, sex workers, and others. Contributors highlight the harassment and then murder of Eric Garner, among others, by the NYPD as a fatal example of the zero-tolerance policies that drive much of modern policing in cities in the United States and beyond.

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  • Crenshaw, Kimberlé, Andrea J. Ritchie, Rachel Anspach, Rachel Gilmer, and Luke Harris. 2016. Say her name: Resisting police brutality against black women. New York: African American Policy Forum, Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.

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    The authors of this study provide an urgent resourceful document intended to address the corresponding ways that police violence and police brutality affect black women in particular. Citing numerous stories, legislation, political casualties, and unjust treatment, the authors seek to build a network to demand for racial, queer, and social justice, in particular, as racism and sexism informs police abuse of black women.

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  • Davis, Angela J. 2017. Policing the black man: Arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment. New York: Pantheon Books.

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    Examination of centuries of racialized hegemony executed by oppressive and ideological state apparatuses, whose ultimate goal is the surveillance and imprisonment of America’s black male. Davis poses the arguments that ascertain the determined focus of American laws and policies that seek to prosecute and incarcerate the black American male, from his adolescence through adulthood, at a rate of vigor and ferocity greater than other members of American society.

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  • Lowery, Wesley. 2016. They can't kill us all: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a new era in America's racial justice movement. New York: Little, Brown.

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    An intimate look at the continuation of police violence against black communities, the reality of racially biased discrimination, and the longtime effects on nonwhite spaces affected and heavily policed. Sparked in part by the killing of unarmed black man Michael Brown and the nationwide response, Lowery reveals hundreds of interviews with affected families in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore; Cleveland, Ohio; and Charleston, South Carolina.

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  • Puar, Jasbir K. 2017. The right to maim: Debility, capacity and disability. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822372530Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Puar intervenes into white normative disability studies that deploy epistemic frames garnered from Michel Foucault’s ideas of biopower and biopolitics to critique how nation-states maim and kill bodies perceived as threats. The book considers how the #Black Lives movement and pro-Palestine activists call out how the state (the United States and Israel) has a supposed “right” to maim and kill subjects considered as threats.

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  • Ritchie, Andrea J. 2017. Invisible no more: Police violence against black women and women of color. Boston: Beacon.

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    While not diminishing narratives of police violence toward African American men, Ritchie focuses on African American women, indigenous women, and other women of color as survivors of police violence. The analyses on the violent policing of motherhood, police sexual violence, and policing the politics of gender add to the growing literature on police violence toward African Americans.

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State and Vigilante Violence in the US-Mexico Borderlands

In the late 20th and 21st centuries we see a resurgence of nativist discourse in mainstream politics, from the White House to mayoral campaigns, and a rise of white-supremacist violence by armed vigilante groups on the border, as well as a rise in enrollment in white-nationalist hate groups to take a “tough stand” on immigration. Chavez 2008 discusses what terms such as the “Latino Threat Narrative” mean in the United States, and examines the rise of vigilante violence, surveillance, and the ways in which the Latinx community is criminalized. Hernández 2018 looks at the rise and ongoing acts of violence on the US-Mexico border and considers vigilante violence and gender violence in maquiladora (high-speed-assembly factories) on the Mexican side of the border. Chacón and Davis 2018 looks at how nativism and xenophobia drive immigration law and the ongoing spectacles of vigilante violence on immigrants. Kang 2017 and Armenta 2017 investigates the actual functioning of immigration enforcement in different historical contexts and shows how ideologies, racial animus, and competing interests influence enforcement practices on the Latinx community. Escobar 2016 considers how Latina immigrants are criminalized, detained, incarcerated, and deported, and contends that the racial logics of criminalization for immigrants are grounded in the antiblack racism of the United States and its histories of enslavement, captivity, and mass incarceration. Finally, Ward 2013 presents an ethnographic account of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang, probably one of the most criminalized gangs in the body politic of the United States, and shows how the rise of the gang is tied to US policies toward Central America and poverty and marginalization in the United States.

  • Armenta, Amada. 2017. Protect, serve, and deport: The rise of policing as immigration enforcement. Oakland: Univ. of California Press.

    DOI: 10.1525/luminos.33Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Armenta utilizes ethnographic fieldwork contextualizing 2010s immigration enforcement in Nashville, Tennessee. She describes how macro and micro forces have blurred the lines between criminal and legal systems, leading to increases in noncriminal deportations. Armenta’s text is an intervention into understanding how seemingly race-neutral practices instead are based on race and citizenship. Laws and institutional policies and practices are central to constructing violent ideologies and state policing practices toward Latinx communities.

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  • Chacón, Justin Akers, and MikeDavis. 2018. No one is illegal: Fighting racism and state violence on the U.S.-Mexico border. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

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    A timely and historically rich overview of the state-sanctioned and institutionalized violence against immigrants in the United States. The authors of this text emphasize the varying formulations of immigration reform through a historical framework, tackling the various kinds of vigilante violence before and after the two world wars, as well as the national identities at play between Mexico and the United States, through the logic of the immigrant.

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  • Chavez, Leo R. 2008. The Latino threat: Constructing immigrants, citizens, and the nation. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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    Chavez develops and operationalizes what he calls the Latino Threat Narrative to discuss immigration issues, rhetoric, and livelihoods of Latino-identified people. Relying on data detailing Latina reproduction, sexuality, and fertility, as well as surveillance mechanisms and technologies on the Arizona-Mexico border and the DREAM Act, he challenges the varying myths constructed to produce neoliberal citizen-subjects under the guise of racialized formations of the identifier “Latino.”

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  • Escobar, Martha. 2016. Captivity beyond prisons: Criminalization experiences of Latina (im)migrants. Austin: Univ. of Texas Press.

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    Grounded in critiques of antiblack racism in the United States and its racial logics, Escobar explores the ways in which Latina (im)migrants have been criminalized and targeted for detention/deportation and incarceration.

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  • Hernández, Roberto D. 2018. Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico border: Power, violence, and the decolonial imperative. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press.

    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctv550cjhSave Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A central analytic between violence and coloniality that contests and interrogates multiple forms of violence and national borders and offers an episteme of cartographic disobedience. Adopting Anibal Quijano’s “coloniality of power” and other central analyses of cultural, political, and border studies, Hernández conceptualizes real and symbolic violences and advances the decolonial imperative embedded in discourses of coloniality, power, and national borders.

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  • Kang, S. Deborah. 2017. The INS on the line: Making immigration law on the US-Mexico border, 1917–1954. New York and Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757435.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Kang considers the formation and function of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) from 1917 until 1954, and how immigration officers established the undocumented immigrant as a priority. She argues that the INS not only enforces immigration law but “makes law” to satisfy a wide range of political and economic interests in the borderlands area.

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  • Ward, T. W. 2013. Gangsters without borders: An ethnography of a Salvadoran street gang. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    An ethnography on MS-13, an El Salvadoran street gang that emerged in Los Angeles during the civil wars in Central America to fight back against more-established Mexican American street gangs. This study highlights the impacts of US foreign policy, war on drugs, and immigration policy, as well as social alienation, poverty, and criminalization, to understand why youth join this transnational gang.

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Violence and Carceral Regimes: Race, Gender, and Mass Incarceration

This article is also an invitation for scholars to consider violence beyond physical and sexual assaults, hate speech and acts, and murder, and instead to understand the intrinsic violence of such societal complexes as the US prison industrial complex and the racist double standards that lead to the warehousing of poor people and people of color in prisons. The prison system itself is also a space of violence, the enforced “docility” imposed on inmates and the ways that racial violence informs the daily lives of inmates, especially for men. Part of what drives racist violence of mass incarceration are mandatory minimums, the criminalization of addiction and mental health issues, unequal sentencing and punishments for people of color, the lack of support for inmates once they leave prison, and, arguably, the need for extremely cheap and exploitable labor. This is not to mention the whole range of private industries whose wealth and fiscal growth are dependent on the labor of inmates and the nexus of loved ones and communities surrounding inmates. For an archivally based analysis of colonization and its legacies on caging nonwhite subjects, and the relationship between colonialism and mass incarceration and its apparatus of violence on racialized and gendered others from 1770s to the 1960s, see Hernandez 2017. For an excellent overview of how mass incarceration policies and practices affect communities of color and continue the violent legacies of Jim Crow segregation, see Alexander 2010. To understand the effects of political activism for the abolition of prisons, see Davis 2005. For a relational analysis of the criminal justice system and deportation, see Macías-Rojas 2016. To engage the complexities of gender and race in the criminal system, see Richie 2012 and Haley 2016. Lichtenstein 1996 examines the use of convict labor in the United States after the Civil War, and how prisons profit from inmates of color, as well as its popularity among whites.

  • Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York: New Press.

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    In response to the postracial politics espoused once Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, Alexander examines how the Jim Crow–era roots of race, racism, and the need for free labor lead to the policies, laws, and practices of mass incarceration in the 20th century. Alexander examines how race and racism affect the criminal justice system, the role of the war on drugs and its disproportionate impacts on working-class people of color, and felon voting disenfranchisement, and how state economies exploit the labor of incarcerated subjects, among other topics.

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  • Davis, Angela Y. 2005. Abolition democracy: Beyond empire, prisons, and torture. New York: Seven Stories.

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    Davis provides a series of interviews discussing her experiences of being targeted for state violence because of her political activism. She interrogates democracy through identifying ways the United States has been established and maintained by systems of oppression, in particular the prison industrial complex. Davis offers a central intervention she deems “abolition democracy,” where there is no oppression or injustice, and the goal is to abolish prisons.

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  • Haley, Sarah. 2016. No mercy here: Gender, punishment, and the making of Jim Crow modernity. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

    DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627595.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Haley looks at the how discourses of criminality and deviance affect how freed African American women were locked up, leased out for physical labor, and forced into chain gangs to continue to build wealth for white families and the state during the Jim Crow era of the South. Haley shows how the practices of racial and gendered terror and the need for disposable labor intertwined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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  • Hernandez, Kelly Lytle. 2017. City of inmates: Conquest, rebellion, and the rise of human caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

    DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469631189.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Hernandez utilizes archival methods to understand the rise of Los Angeles mass incarceration from 1771 to 1965. She traces the origins of mass incarceration, beginning with the caging of indigenous (Tongva) peoples during the Spanish colonial periods and early settler colonialism, and examines the criminalization of poor white men not conforming to heterosexual norms from 1880 to 1910, human caging of Chinese through 1890s immigrant detention, imprisonment of Mexican insurgents and immigrants in borderlands, and police brutality against African Americans.

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  • Lichtenstein, Alex. 1996. Twice the work of free labor: The political economy of convict labor in the New South. London: Verso.

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    This work recognizes the amalgamation of race and US political economy as it simultaneously submerges in the “New Southern” scheme of free convict labor. Lichtenstein demonstrates that the leasing of predominantly African American prisoners for free labor simultaneously delineates the political, social, and economic power of southern white supremacy, illustrating white advance in profiting from state resources and sustaining dominating race ideologies through perceived/required violent mass incarceration.

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  • Macías-Rojas, Patrisia. 2016. From deportation to prison: The politics of immigration enforcement in post–civil rights America. New York: New York Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479804665.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Grounded in the Arizona-Sonora borderland area. Macías-Rojas analyzes how mass incarceration policies and “tough on crime” approaches to policing and sentencing transformed immigration enforcement and border policing in the first few years of the 21st century. She considers enforcement impacts of the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) and the power of Immigration and Naturalization Service (ICE) agents to determine who is detained and who is criminally prosecuted, and the impacts of racial-animus-driven state violence on the Latinx community.

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  • Richie, Beth E. 2012. Arrested justice: Black women, violence, and America's prison nation. New York: New York Univ. Press.

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    Richie provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of violent gendered, racialized, classed, and sexed formulations faced by African American women from men. Richie argues that African American women occupy precarious identities and situations, making them more susceptible to violence in their intimate relationships and daily encounters, within institutions, and from political policies, demonstrating how state violence in the form of restrictive policies deny resources to African American women.

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Intersectional Violences: Racialized Misogyny, Homophobia, and Transphobia

This section engages with two overlapping genealogies of thought that include women-of-color theories that address how racial, class, and gendered violence intersect and create interlocked systems of oppression, as well as, with more-recent scholarship, engages with a queer-of-color critique. In doing so, we consider pioneering and modern work that speak to the multiplicities of violence directed at racialized, gendered, and “queer” bodies. In particular, we consider works that discuss how trans women, queer women, and women of color resist racism, heteropatriarchy, transphobic and homophobic discourses, and practices that emerge from dominant cultures and affect racially oppressed communities of color. To understand the foundations of women-of-color theories and how women of color discuss the complex interplays of racial, gendered, and sexual violences, see Moraga and Anzaldúa 1983, Anzaldúa 1987, and Crenshaw 1995, a pioneering legal study on the intersectional violences that African American women negotiate. To read a memoir on what the politics of intersectionality mean for women of color, see Bukhari 2010, on the author’s life of activism in the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Aldama 2003 engages discourses on violence and the body in US, Latin American, and global contexts, as sites where coloniality, criminalization, and state-sanctioned violence work systematically against racialized, sexualized, and gendered bodies of color. Peña 1997 examines the how Mexican women negotiate violence in the high-speed-assembly factories on the US-Mexico border. INCITE! Women of Color against Violence 2006, and Davis 1981 critically discuss and emphasize prison and police violence, sexual violence, and imperial and colonial histories as foundational to the modern racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, and sexist logics affecting marginalized people of color in the United States.

  • Aldama, Arturo, ed. 2003. Violence and the body: Race, gender and the state. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press.

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    A collection of essays that critically engage the “otherized” body through discourse and representational politics at the intersections of race, gender, and the state in the context of the United States, Europe, and Latin America. Particular attention is paid to the deployment of violence materially and hemispherically through axes of consumption, colonialism, and performance.

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  • Anzaldúa, Gloria. 1987. Borderlands / La frontera: The new mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.

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    Part essay, part memoir, this book intertwines Anzaldúa’s most significant theoretical and artistic contributions to women-of-color feminism. By sharing her own social positions as a Chicana lesbian, Anzaldúa resignifies what la frontera (border) means and could mean for nonwhite people in the United States. “Borderlands” incites newly imagined ways to understand the complexities of identity and border violence internally and externally, developing what Anzaldúa calls “the new mestiza consciousness” to learn to tolerate the ambiguity that many marginalized peoples encounter and feel in the United States.

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  • Bukhari, Safiya. 2010. The war before: The true-life story of becoming a Black Panther, keeping the faith in prison, and fighting for those left behind. New York: Feminist Press at the City Univ. of New York.

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    A first-person account of advocacy, injustice, and the struggle for social, gender, and racial justice for black activists, Black Panther members, and political prisoners through the eyes of a former member and black revolutionary. Bukhari demonstrates violence against black communities as inseparable from racial discourses in the United States, which for long have been premeditated at the expense of lives of radical activists and revolutionaries fighting for survival and justice.

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  • Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1995. Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. In Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. Edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Neil Gotanda, Gary Peller, and Kendall Thomas, 357–383. New York: New Press.

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    Crenshaw argues that the structures of race and gender determine how women-of-color experiences with violence such as domestic violence, rape, and battery are different from how white women survive gendered violence. Crenshaw also contends that mainstream feminist and mainstream antiracist politics and their unidimensional focus marginalize women of color. She argues for an intersectional politics that centers both issues of race and gender.

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  • Davis, Angela Y. 1981. Women, race, and class. New York: Random House.

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    Essential work that positions the history of women of African descent as central figures within the narrative of American slavery, American sociological perspectives, and American sexualized and racialized violence. Davis emphasizes the sexual violence against black women as an intrinsic characteristic of the American economic and capitalist-class experience.

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  • INCITE! Women of Color against Violence, eds. 2006. Color of violence: The INCITE! anthology. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A collection of short essays, poems, personal accounts, and letters encompassing a multitude of expressions considering violence against women. It addresses fundamental women-of-color feminisms that reposition women from many walks of life as purveyors of their own history. Women-of-color life experiences are centered, bringing forth their innovative strategies for dealing with systematic violence and oppression against women.

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  • Moraga, Cherríe, and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds. 1983. “This bridge called my back”: Writings by radical women of color. 2d ed. New York: Kitchen Table / Women of Color Press.

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    A foundational compilation of essays, testimonio, poetry, interviews, art, and other critical pieces by and for women of color that evolve definitions of feminism and systemic oppression. Published at a time in the United States when “mainstream” feminism excluded the theorizations and works of women of color, this edited volume in turn centers the various ways in which race, gender, class, and sexuality intersect at the site of violent systems of oppression.

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  • Peña, Devon G. 1997. The terror of the machine: Technology, work, gender & ecology on the U.S-Mexico border. Austin, TX: Center of Mexican American Studies Books.

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    Alluding to Henry Ford’s 1922 book chapter “The Terror of the Machine,” Peña constructs a longitudinal sociological study of the foreign-owned assembly-line maquiladora industrial system along the US-Mexico border by centering the voices and narratives of women workers and their respective experiences with the terror inside these “modernized” labor systems.

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Work Inspired by a Queer-of-Color Critique

A queer-of-color critique summarized by Roderick Ferguson (Ferguson 2018) builds off the precedent-setting work of women-of-color theorists mentioned in the general readings. Queer-of-color critique centers sexuality and minoritized-sexuality studies within critiques of race and racism in the political economy and expands queer studies to have issues of race and racism as a core frame. In general, a queer-of-color critique is an intersectional analytic that seeks to understand how race and sexuality can engage with issues of racial capitalism, neoliberalism, migration, and indigeneity, among other areas. Various works use the intersectional frames of a queer-of-color critique within multiple fields of study. For example, to examine the role of place in critical indigenous studies around questions of sovereignty and self-determination and the place of gender and sexuality in these claims, see Barker 2017. For an in-depth analysis of queer indigenous frameworks in contestation to colonial projects of heteronormativity, see Driskill, et al. 2011. To understand the relationships between subject and space at the intersection of sexuality, race, and gender in social movements, see Hanhardt 2013. For an analysis that includes the criminalization of gendered and sexualized subjects and the historical impact that stereotypes have in the LGBTQ community, see Mogul, et al. 2011. Also, to understand the complex construction of kinship through a Western colonial construct, and to explore the efforts to include a richer analysis of indigeneity in queer studies and queerness in sovereignty movements, see Rifkin 2011. Each of these works speaks to racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence on minoritized bodies and communities such as indigenous women, queer and transgendered people of color, and nonwhite communities. Reddy 2011 critically examines the complexity of the meaning of freedom from the perspective of racialized, gendered, and sexualized bodies in the United States. Stanley and Smith 2015 challenges the growing field of transgender studies to engage with issues of race and immigration status. Last, Puar 2017 undertakes the task of examining intersectional violence(s) from the perspective of nation, sovereignty, and feminism, and nation, sexuality, and terror, respectively.

  • Barker, Joanne, ed. 2017. Critically sovereign: Indigenous gender, sexuality, and feminist studies. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    The collected works in this volume speak to the territory- and nation-based knowledges in indigenous politics toward sovereignty and self-determination against US and Canadian imperialism and colonialism. Most importantly, the pieces center theoretical and praxis-oriented frameworks within critical indigenous studies, gender and sexuality studies, and feminist studies and, through various methodologies, mark the land-based epistemologies that consider gender and sexuality within discourses on indigeneity and indigenous rights.

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  • Driskill, Qwo-Li, Chris Finley, Brian Joseph Gilley, and Scott Lauria Morgensen, eds. 2011. Queer indigenous studies: Critical interventions in theory, politics, and literature. Tucson: Univ. of Arizona Press.

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    This text engages a variety of the contributors’ engagement with native studies, queer studies, and two-spirit critiques in order to intervene in conversations regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (GLBTQ2) theorizations that seek to decolonize indigenous knowledges of gender and sexuality from the colonial project of heteronormativity, and more specifically decolonizing indigenous queer research and theory.

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  • Ferguson, Roderick A. 28 March 2018. “Queer of color critique.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This bibliographic essay by Ferguson provides an excellent overview of the origins and the epistemic aims of the queer-of-color critique. It both provides a historical overview and mentions some foundational studies that drive a queer-of-color critique, revealing that queer-of-color critiques can add to more-nuanced understandings of issues of migration, diaspora, repression, culture, historiography, and the political economy.

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  • Hanhardt, Christina B. 2013. Safe space: Gay neighborhood history and the politics of violence. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822378860Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    A historical overview and consideration of the different strategies that LGBTQI subjects and communities used to resist street violence and homophobic attacks from the mid-1960s to the first decade of the 21st century. It considers safe street patrols such as the controversial Lavender Panthers and Butterfly Brigade, and the radical intersectional politics of the African American feminist organization Combahee River Collective, as well as other organizations committed to protecting communities subjected to homophobic violence.

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  • Mogul, Joey L., Andrea J. Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock. 2011. Queer (in)justice: The criminalization of LGBT people in the United States. Boston: Beacon.

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    The authors of this text argue for a more robust and critical understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender representation and the politics of respectability, by debunking harmful and historical archetypes that have used single-issue justifications to criminalize LGBT people in the United States.

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  • Puar, Jasbir. 2017. Terrorist assemblages: Homonationalism in queer times. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Puar intervenes into white-normative queer studies to argue that homonationalism is how queer subjects and discourses around acceptable gay cultures in the United States are intrinsically tied to US imperialist norms and ongoing practices of anti-Muslim violences by the US nation-state. Puar argues that white-male normative gay identities are intrinsically tied to the colonialist “othering” and criminalization of queers of color, especially those in the South Asian diaspora, and to those constructed as “terrorists” by Islamophobic discourses and practices.

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  • Reddy, Chandan. 2011. Freedom with violence: Race, sexuality, and the US state. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822394648Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Grounded in a queer-of-color critique, Reddy questions how the 2010 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorized one of the largest Department of Defense budget spending bills, among other acts of state power. In doing so, Reddy questions how the state deploys racial and sexual violence to supposedly protect the rights of vulnerable communities.

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  • Rifkin, Mark. 2011. When did Indians become straight? Kinship, the history of sexuality, and native sovereignty. New York and Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755455.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation » Share Citation »

    Rifkin critiques the imposition of heteropatriarchies as part of the colonization process for indigenous people and calls for an assertion of nonbinary and nonheteronormative kinships as part of the aims for sovereignty among Native American and indigenous communities. The aims of his work are to add indigeneity to queer studies and queerness to sovereignty movements.

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  • Stanley, Eric A., and Nat Smith, eds. 2015. Captive genders: Trans embodiment and the prison industrial complex. 2d ed. Chico, CA: AK Press.

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    The authors argue for a prison abolition platform and contend that queer and transgender activists and scholars need to challenge the racial and gendered violence of the prison industrial complex (PIC). The chapters examine the role of state violence within trans and queer communities, which disproportionally affects folks on the basis of class, gender variance, race/ethnicity, skin complexion, and immigration status, among other categories.

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