WCFIA Workshop on Culture, History, and Society: Abroad and at Home: 'Militarization,' or the Colonial Counter-Insurgenization of Policing in Early 20th America


Friday, February 2, 2018, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


William James Hall Rm. 1550, 33 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA


Julian GoProfessor, Department of Sociology, Boston University.


Yueran Zhang



Orlando PattersonFaculty Associate. John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Harvard University.

Daniel Lord SmailFrank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History, Department of History, Harvard University.

Ya-Wen Lei, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Harvard University.


The militarization of policing in the US is not new, nor is it solely a domestic process. Its origins are historically deep and global. In the early 20th century, local policing across the US was highly militarized. And rather than emerging from endogenous processes, militarization originated from America’s overseas colonial empire and contemporary imperialism. Part of a larger imperial assemblage of power, police militarization is an intrinsic element of modern policing and should be characterized more precisely as the “colonial counter-insurgenization” policing.

See also: Workshop on Culture, History, and Society2017-2018