Policing, Violence, and Torture in Chicago | Newberry

Policing, Violence, and Torture in Chicago

Meet the Author: Simon Balto and Laurence Ralph
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Program: 6 pm; Book signing: 7 pm

Ruggles Hall

Free and open to the public; free tickets required.
Open to the Public
Meet the Author

Join us for a Meet the Author event with Simon Balto and Laurence Ralph, who will converse about their latest work on police violence in Chicago.

Simon Balto is Assistant Professor of African-American History at the University of Iowa. His latest book, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power, surveys the history of Chicago from 1919 to the rise and fall of Black Power in the 1960s and 1970s, narrating the evolution of racially repressive policing in black neighborhoods as well as how black citizen-activists challenged that repression. Balto demonstrates that punitive practices by and inadequate protection from the police were central to black Chicagoans’ lives long before the late-century “wars” on crime and drugs. By exploring the deeper origins of this toxic system, Balto reveals how modern mass incarceration, built upon racialized police practices, emerged as a fully formed machine of profoundly anti-black subjugation.

Laurence Ralph is Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, as well as the Director of the Center on Transnational Policing. In The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence, Laurence Ralph chronicles the history of torture in Chicago, the burgeoning activist movement against police violence, and the American public’s complicity in perpetuating torture at home and abroad. Engaging with a long tradition of epistolary meditations on racism in the United States, from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, Ralph offers in this book a collection of open letters written to protesters, victims, students, and others. Through these moving, questing, enraged letters, Ralph bears witness to police violence that began in Burge’s Area Two and follows the city’s networks of torture to the global War on Terror.

After the talk, the authors will sign their books, which will be available for purchase in the Newberry’s Rosenberg Bookshop.

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Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public; free tickets required. Find tickets here.

Doors open half an hour before the program begins, with first-come, first-served seating for registered attendees. We will admit walk-ins without tickets if space permits, 10 minutes before the event begins.

People with disabilities and other accessibility concerns can request to be seated first. To reserve an access-friendly space in the room, first register using the link above, then email publicprograms@newberry.org at least 48 hours before the event. Seats arranged in this way will be held until 10 minutes before the event starts.