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Violent Ignorance: Hannah Jones in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti

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Book launch, discussion and Q+A

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Register now to attend the book launch for Violent Ignorance: Confronting Racism and Migration Control by Hannah Jones.

"Put simply, violent ignorance is a name for the action of turning away from painful knowledge and for the further violence this can bring."

In this new work, Hannah Jones challenges readers to consider uncomfortable truths about how racism, border violence and everyday inequality are treated as normal facts of life. From the Grenfell tragedy to Ben Affleck's covering-up of his slave-holding ancestors, from the UK immigration detention centre whistle-blower to the resistant schoolteacher in Nazi Germany, what is the damage done by looking away from unbearable violence - and what might make it possible to not only look at that violence, but act to alleviate it?

Join the author in conversation with Shami Chakrabarti about these questions and more, followed by a live Q+A to which you can contribute, chaired by Nisha Kapoor.

This event will be recorded - by registering to attend you are consenting to any contribution you make being part of that recording.

Register for your place and you will receive a link to the YouTube Live event nearer to the time.

The panel

Dr Hannah Jones is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She writes, researches and teaches on racism, belonging and migration, and on critical public sociology. Her previous authored, edited and collective books are Go Home? The politics of immigration controversies (2017), Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging: Emotion and Location (2014), and Negotiating Cohesion, Inequality and Change: Uncomfortable Positions in Local Government (2013), which won the BSA Phillip Abrams Prize for best first book in UK sociology.

Baroness Shami Chakrabarti is a politician, barrister, and human rights activist. She was the Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales from 2016 to 2020, and Director of Liberty, the advocacy group which works to protect civil liberties and promote human rights for everyone, from 2003 to 2016.

Dr Nisha Kapoor is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She writes on racism and the security state, extradition, citizenship deprivation, passport removals, deportation, and her previous works include Deport, Deprive, Extradite: 21st Century State Extremism (2018).

The book

An elected politician is assassinated in the street by a terrorist associated with extreme political groups, and the national response is to encourage picnics.

Thousands of people are held in prison-like conditions without judicial oversight or any time-limit on their sentence.

An attempt to re-assert national sovereignty and borders leads thousands of citizens to register for dual citizenship with other countries, some overcoming family associations with genocide in their second country of nationality to do so.

This is life in the UK today. How then are things still continuing as 'normal'? How can we confront these phenomena and why do we so often refuse to?

What are the practices that help us to accommodate the unconscionable?

How might we contend with the horrors that meet us each day, rather than becoming desensitized to them?

Violent Ignorance sets out to examine these questions through an understanding of how the past persists in the present, how trauma is silenced or reappears, and how we might reimagine identity and connection in ways that counter - rather than ignore - historic violence.

In particular Hannah Jones shows how border controls and enforcement, and their corollary, racism and violence, have shifted over time.

Drawing on thinkers from John Berger to Ben Okri, from Audre Lorde to Susan Sontag, the book questions what it means to belong, and discusses how hierarchies of belonging are revealed by what we can see, and what we can ignore.

Reviews

"A powerful, lyrical and very timely demand to confront difficult truths about past and present. Violent Ignorance is a brilliant demonstration of how to harness sociology to the pursuit of justice, that will inspire scholars and activists alike." --William Davies, author of The Happiness Industry and Nervous States.

"In our time of coordinated undermining of thoughtfulness, Hannah Jones reminds us of what is at stake when we turn away and do not care to know. Ranging across varieties of careless violence, this is a work that pushes us to reclaim humanness as connection and intimacy, because otherwise pretended ignorance may destroy us all." --Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya, author of Racial Capitalism: Questions of Reproduction and Survival.

"To call this a wake-up call might imply that society slumbers in innocence. More accurately, in Violent Ignorance, Hannah Jones makes an emergency citizen's arrest. In this urgent analysis and prosecution of our times, Jones demonstrates how the evils of the world don't just happen and there is nothing natural nor inevitable about man's inhumanity to man. Violent Ignorance should be required reading for all those in power and an essential text for those seeking to take and share it." --Shami Chakrabarti

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