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Resisting Acts of Resistance

Precarious citizenship against the militarized police

In Brazil, police officers are rarely held accountable for murderous attacks on citizens. Whenever a member of the police shoots someone, the agent responsible can easily claim that he was counteracting resistance. An “act of resistance” is then written and immediately filed. This institutional and legal justification — which needs only to be unilaterally asserted by the agent — automatically exempts the police from any kind of formal responsibility, ultimately limiting the possibility of an official investigation.The fact that these acts of resistance most often concern a specific population — black poor youth from peripheral areas who are nevertheless formally protected by civil rights — poses the question of how control and repression of different people within the homogenous category of citizenship can vary. Even though they are fully recognized as Brazilian citizens, and thus entitled to all rights formally guaranteed by the state, …

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RaceRace/ismsReviewsSex & Gender

Margo Jefferson’s Coming of Age in Negroland

One of my fondest memories from the New School for Social Research Liberal Studies MA program comes from a course titled “Representations of Race and Gender in American Culture.” It was the day, about halfway through the semester, when co-teachers Elizabeth Kendall (author of feminist studies of early modern dance and 1930s screwball …

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