Black Perspectives, the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), is collaborating with the Journal of Urban History (JUH)* to host a roundtable on Anne Gray Fischer’s The Streets Belong to Us: Sex, Race, and Police Power from Segregation to Gentrification (University of North Carolina Press, 2022). The roundtable begins on Monday, August 15, 2022 and concludes on Monday, August 22, 2022. It will feature pieces from Simon Balto (University of Wisconsin-Madison), DeAnza A. Cook (Harvard University), Keona K. Ervin (Bowdoin College), Jessica Pliley (Texas State University), and Charlotte Rosen (Northwestern University). At the conclusion of the roundtable, the author Anne Gray Fischer (University of Texas at Dallas) will respond.
During the week of the online roundtable, Black Perspectives will publish new blog posts every day at 5:30AM EST. Please follow Black Perspectives (@) and AAIHS (@on Twitter, like AAIHS on Facebook, or subscribe to our blog for updates. By subscribing to Black Perspectives, each new post will automatically be delivered to your inbox during the week of the roundtable.
About the Author
Anne Gray Fischer is assistant professor of U.S. gender history at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her first book, The Streets Belong to Us: Sex, Race, and Police Power from Segregation to Gentrification is a history of sexual policing in twentieth-century urban America. In The Streets Belong to Us, Fischer narrates how sexual policing fueled a dramatic expansion of police power. The enormous discretionary power that police officers wield to surveil, target, and arrest anyone they deem suspicious was tested, legitimized, and legalized through the policing of women’s sexuality and their right to move freely through city streets. By illuminating both the racial dimension of sexual liberalism and the gender dimension of policing in Black neighborhoods, it illustrates the decisive role that race, gender, and sexuality played in the construction of urban police regimes. Fischer has published essays on race, gender, state violence, and feminist activisms in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Social History, as well as the Washington Post, the Boston Review, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @annegrayfischer.
About the Participants
Simon Balto is an assistant professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the author of the award-winning Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power. The winner of the Benjamin Hooks Institute’s National Book Award for the best book in civil rights history, as well as the Union League Club of Chicago’s award for the best book on Chicago history, Occupied Territory explores the twentieth-century transformation of the Chicago Police Department into an institution whose most important features were its massive racial disparities in general and its profound anti-Blackness in particular. Largely focused on the late 1910s to the early 1970s, the book challenges conventional wisdom about the policing crisis in the United States, looking back well before the federal drug and crime wars of the late twentieth century that many Americans assume to be the crisis’s starting point. Instead, it explores how local politicians and police officials built a huge, and hugely racially repressive, local police apparatus mostly on their own in the decades before those wars. Balto is currently at work on a new book on the long history of white mob violence in the United States from Reconstruction to the civil rights era. Follow him on Twitter @SimonBalto.
DeAnza A. Cook is a History Ph.D. Candidate at Harvard University. Her doctoral research traces the evolution of urban police science, police reform, and police-community relations in Boston and beyond during the post-Civil Rights period. Cook’s dissertation examines the rise of proactive “community-oriented” and “problem-oriented” policing in Greater Boston and beyond. Her work specifically examines the role of the police, police partners, and African Americans in revamping police business and police-community relations at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In addition, she administers seminar courses on race, civil rights, and constitutional policing for law enforcement officers in her home state of Virginia and teaches an African American history course for incarcerated students in Massachusetts. Cook is currently a Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative graduate fellow and a research fellow with the Center for American Political Studies. Follow her on Twitter @deanzacook.
Keona K. Ervin is Associate Professor and Director of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College. A Center for Missouri Studies Faculty Fellow at the State Historical Society of Missouri, Ervin is the author of the award-winning history, Gateway to Equality: Black Women and the Struggle for Economic Justice in St. Louis (University Press of Kentucky). It investigates black working-class women’s struggle for economic justice from the rise of New Deal liberalism in the 1930s to the social upheavals of the 1960s. Ervin’s impressive study presents a stunning account of the ways in which Black working-class women creatively fused racial and economic justice. She has published peer-reviewed articles, reviews, and essays in International Labor and Working-Class History, Journal of Civil and Human Rights, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, New Labor Forum, Los Angeles Review of Books, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Journal of Southern History, and Journal of American Ethnic History. Follow her on Twitter @KeonaKErvin.
Jessica R. Pliley is a Professor of Women’s and Gender History and the Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Texas State University. She holds a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. She is the author of Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI (Harvard, 2014), which links the crusade against sex trafficking to the rapid growth of the Bureau from a few dozen agents at the time of the Mann Act into a formidable law enforcement organization that cooperated with state and municipal authorities across the nation. She is also the co-editor of Fighting Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: History and Contemporary Policy (Cambridge, 2021) and Global Anti-Vice Activism, 1890-1950: Fighting Drinks, Drugs, and ‘Immorality’ (Cambridge, 2016). Her work has appeared in the Journal of Women’s History, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and the Journal of the History of Sexuality and several anthologies. Her current research explores the long history of anti-trafficking movement from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. Follow her on Twitter @pliley.
Charlotte Rosen is a doctoral student at Northwestern University who specializes in post-1960s United States political history and the history of the United States carceral state. Her dissertation, entitled “Carceral Crisis: The Challenge of Prison Overcrowding and the Rise of Mass Incarceration, 1970-2000,” examines the history of prisons, punishment, and prisoner resistance in late-twentieth century Pennsylvania, with a focus on the politics of prison overcrowding and Black protest to the emergent carceral regime in the 1980s and 1990s. She is particularly interested in critical prison studies, historical studies of the American state and federalism, political economy, and social movements. Charlotte also tutors weekly at the Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum security men’s prison in Illinois, with the Northwestern Prison Education Program, where she is also on the Graduate Student Advisory Council. Prior to graduate school, Charlotte worked for a housing justice organization in the Bay Area. She received her B.A. in History from St. Olaf College. She is originally from outside Philadelphia. Follow her on Twitter @CharlotteERosen.
*The Journal of Urban History (JUH), provides scholars and professionals with the latest research, analyses, and discussion on the history of cities and urban societies throughout the world. JUH presents original research by distinguished authors from the variety of fields concerned with urban history. Each insightful issue offers the latest scholarship on such topics as public housing, migration, urban growth, and more. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).permission.