Navigating Police Brutality, Incarceration, and Care across the Black Diaspora

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
North East Modern Language Association (NEMLA) 2022
contact email: 

Please consider submitting an abstract to this session for the NEMLA 2022 conference which will be held on March 10-13, 2022 in Baltimore, MD. This session, "Navigating Police Brutality, Incarceration and Care across the Black Diaspora seeks to examine literary representations of: networks of care in carceral spaces, transformative healing and justice, and community organizing. 

During Summer 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the historic global Black lives matter protests—the cry to defund the police had taken a firm hold in the ears of legislators. In the immediate days after the protests—the needle had been pushed further than ever before. Conversations around abolition for the police, the prison system and the carceral criminal justice system as a whole flourished in public discourse. So much that the Minneapolis City Council members announced their intention to defund and disband the city’s police department. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles had agreed to cut $150 million from the LAPD to move towards Black communities. In New York, Mayor Bill De Blasio also promised to transfer resources from NYPD budgets to social services. Now, one year later—how far have we really come?

Black communities have long been advocating for an end to biased policing, brutality and carceral violence. Influential Black activists like Angela Davis and Ruth Wilson Gilmore have been ringing the alarm about these vicious systems of violence for decades. Yet, despite the impressive efforts of some of the brightest and fiercest advocates—these issues continue to hold a vicious grip for Black Americans. Ultimately, communities must often create their own kinds of transformative justice, healing and care when the American system refuses to offer a salve. While scholarly and critical attention has been paid to the long histories of advocacy against police brutality and incarceration for African Americans, much less attention has been given to the question of policing and the broader Black diaspora. Some of New York City’s most infamous and publicly, heart-wrenching police brutality cases had Black immigrants at the center such as Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo. This session “Navigating Police Brutality, Incarceration and Care across the Black diaspora” queries how Black communities—African American, Caribbean, African, and others—maneuver through these oppressive systems and experiences while still creating a culture and network of care for each other? How does literature portray how different cultural and historical backgrounds from immigration shift or impact the experiences of brutality or incarceration while also changing the methods for resolution and healing?


Please submit abstracts to the Nemla portal here:

For more questions please contact: Norrell Edwards, Texas Christian University at