The contours of pacification and public safety

An interdisciplinary panel

Glad to finally say that the roundtable that I’ve been planning with Wes Attewell and Stuart Schrader has come together for the AAGs. In addition to the three of us, we’re extremely excited to have historian Monica Kim, Asian American Studies scholar (and author of the fantastic new book Rightlessness) A. Naomi Paik, and sociologist Tia Dafnos. To top it off, the inimitable (and AAG-overextended) Lisa Bhungalia will chair for us. It looks like it’s going to be a far-reaching and interesting discussion.

Here’s our abstract:

The objective of this panel session is to bring together a number of scholars who have been critically engaging with questions of public safety, counterinsurgency, and pacification. As counterinsurgency has been dubbed ‘armed social work’ (Kilcullen 2006) and pacification has been called the ‘conduct of sociological warfare,’ (c.f. Owens 2015; Mathias 2011) we are particularly interested in exploring how populations are enrolled in security practices that seek to build a framework for liberal governance under the threat of violence, detainment, denial of aid, and amplified police power. At root, our discussion will explore the many tensions between wars to destroy and wars to build. These frictions trace across a number of different dimensions including the colonial and metropolitan, as well as the historical and contemporary. The panel will thus serve as an opportunity to synthesize a number of different conversations that are currently happening across several academic disciplines (geography, American studies, international relations, history, etc.) and to tentatively hash out a more coherent research agenda that can structure future work.