Orfalea Center Thematic Research Cluster​

Structural Violence, Police/Prison Abolition, and Decoloniality

Dr. Felice Blake

Dr. Felice Blake is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She specializes in twentieth-century African American literature, African American studies, and critical analyses of gender and sexuality, and her research interests are situated within the fields of literature, cultural studies, Black Studies, and gender studies. Dr. Blake is the author of Black Love, Black Hate: Intimate Antagonisms in African American Literature (Ohio State University Press 2018) and co-editor, with Paula Ioanide and Alison Reed, of Antiracism Inc.: Why the Way We Talk about Racial Justice Matters (Punctum Books 2019).

Dr. Jean Beaman

Jean Beaman is Associate Professor of Sociology, with affiliations with Political Science; Global Studies; and the Center for Black Studies Research, at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Previously, she was faculty at Purdue University and held visiting fellowships at Duke University and the European University Institute (Florence, Italy). Her research is ethnographic in nature and focuses on race/ethnicity, racism, international migration, and state-sponsored violence in both France and the United States. She is author of Citizen Outsider: Children of North African Immigrants in France (University of California Press, 2017), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Her current book project is on suspect citizenship and belonging, anti-racist mobilization, and activism against police violence in France. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. She is also an Editor of H-Net Black Europe, an Associate Editor of the journal, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, and Corresponding Editor for the journal Metropolitics/Metropolitiques.

Dr. Kai M. Thaler

Kai M. Thaler is Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is a faculty affiliate of the Department of Political Science and the Program in Latin American and Iberian Studies. Previously, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. His research focuses on political and social conflict and violence, resistance movements, revolutionary change, political regimes, and security, especially in Africa and Latin America. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on these subjects, and regularly writes analyses and commentary for public outlets. His current book project examines state building and social service provision by rebels who successfully take power. He received his PhD in Government from Harvard University and holds an MSSc in Sociology from the University of Cape Town.

Gehad Abaza

Gehad Abaza is a PhD student in the socio-cultural wing of the Anthropology department at UCSB. Her research focuses thematically on migration, the anthropology of the state, and the anthropology of violence. She is interested in investigating how refugees and immigrants are criminalized and racialized in different regions. She has researched and written about this issue in Egypt and in Abkhazia, a separatist region between Georgia and Russia. She has a Master’s degree in Sociology-Anthropology and Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, with a focus on Middle East politics, from the American University in Cairo. Before starting the PhD, Abaza worked as a journalist and photographer in Egypt for several years, covering issues pertaining to refugees, political detainees, and workers’ rights. Her work has been published in local and regional news outlets such as Daily News Egypt, Mada Masr, Jadaliyya, Newsweek, and others.

Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of California Santa Barbara. His major field is in Political Theory and secondary fields are in International Relations and American Politics. He has an emphasis in Global Studies and has taught for the Black Studies and Sociology departments. Andrew has an MA in Philosophy from Louisiana State University and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Maine. His dissertation explores the historical formation and development of police institutions and the importance of these histories for the police abolition movement.


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