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Race, Mental Health and State Violence: A Two-Day Symposium

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Birkbeck, University of London

Clore Lecture Theatre, B01

Clore Building

London, England WC1E 7HX

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Registration for the two-day symposium is now open! The event is free and open to the public, but we do ask that everyone register so that we can plan appropriately.

The symposium is funded by an Wellcome Trust/ Birkbeck ISSF Grant, with support from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. Symposium details and cfp are below.

We are pleased to announce the Keynote Speakers for the symposium:

Marcia Rigg (Day 1)
Co-Chair of United Families and Friends Campaign/ Sean Rigg Justice & Change Campaign.

Marcia Rigg is an activist and the sister of Sean Rigg, who died in Brixton police station in 2008. She has been a tireless organiser, advocate and campaigner on issues of mental health and deaths-in-custody for almost a decade. Her writings have appeared in The Huffington Post and elsewhere, and she has had enormous impact on the public discussion of the intersection of mental health, racism and policing in the UK. Read about UFFC here and Sean Rigg J&CC here.

Professor Camille Nelson (Day 1)
Dean of American University Washington College of Law, Washington D.C.

Professor Camille Nelson is author of the ground-breaking 2011 text “Racializing Disability, Disabling Race: Policing Race and Mental Status”. Her work is published widely in comparative and criminal law publications, such as the Journal of Politics and Law, the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, and the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism. Dean Nelson was the first Black woman to clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada, the first woman and person of colour to have been appointed dean at Suffolk University Law School, and the first Black person ever to be appointed dean at American University Washington College of Law. Read Professor Nelson’s bio here.

Professor La Marr Jurelle Bruce (Day 2)
Assistant Professor of American Studies
Faculty Affiliate in African American Studies, Theater & Performance Studies, and Women's Studies

Recipient of the 2014 Weixlmann Award from African American Review and the 2016 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Professor Bruce is on the faculty of American Studies at the University of Maryland. His writing is featured or forthcoming in American Quarterly; GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies; Oxford Bibliographies in African American Studies; Social Text; and TDR: The Drama Review. Professor Bruce’s book project in progress, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness and Black Radical Creativity, is a study of black artists who mobilize “madness” in radical literature and performance. Read his bio here.


**The call for papers has been extended until Tuesday, 6th March.**
A preliminary programme will be published on 1st March, and a Final Programme will be published in mid-March. Please read the call for papers here.

The symposium:

There are many ways to understand how the state regulates and controls those within its domain along and between the lines of race and mental health. Whilst these two categories cannot be disentangled from the myriad other ways in which we are called upon by the state, reading race and mental health together may allow us to revisit the ways the state positions many of us along the axes of atavistic and civilized, fragility and strength, capability and incapacity, malice and disinterest, redeemable and irredeemable. A close and creative analysis of these logics, their contemporary and historic manifestations, and forms of resistance to these such logics may help us to imagine the possibilities for a different type of future world. These will be the themes of this two-day symposium.

Whilst the first day is dedicated to engaging with policy and legal frameworks for understanding the interaction between the state (predominantly policing institutions) and civilians at the intersection of race, gender and mental health, the second day aims to examine ‘the state’ more broadly. Using a range of disciplinary perspectives from the humanities, arts and social sciences, the second day aims to critically examine the field of tension at the interface of the state logics of race and mental health.

For more information, contact Dr Eddie Bruce-Jones (e.bruce-jones@bbk.ac.uk) and Dr Monish Bhatia (m.bhatia@bbk.ac.uk).

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Birkbeck, University of London

Clore Lecture Theatre, B01

Clore Building

London, England WC1E 7HX

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