WWS Calendar

LAPA Seminar with Amna Akbar: (Arguments for) Police Abolition

Dec 3, 2018 04:30PM to 06:00PM
301 Marx Hall


Open to the Public
Amna Akbar, LAPA Fellow; Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University. Commentator: Jocelyn Simonson, Brooklyn Law School

LAPA’s seminar format encourages attendees to familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator opens the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion.

Copies of the seminar paper will be available one week before the event, during regular business hours, at the LAPA Offices on the 3rd floor of Wallace Hall.

From Professor Akbar: The argument to abolish police and prisons has broken into the mainstream, from major news outlets publishing short pieces on abolition from leading abolitionists like Mariame Kaba and Rachel Herzing, to the immigrant justice movement’s campaign to abolish ICE, to the focus on abolitionist organizing and visions at major academic conferences. Professor Akbar will explore the argument for police abolition coming out of contemporary social movements and organizing, as well as a growing interdisciplinary body of academic work. 

In her article, she charts three currents central to the argument for police abolition:

  1. that policing must be understood in the long history of enslavement and settler colonialism;
  2. that policing is not a tool of neutral unbiased law enforcement, but a fundamentally racialized, gendered, and capitalist instrument; and
  3. because raced, gendered, and capitalist violence is fundamental to police, police cannot be fixed and so must be abolished.

Rather than aiming to improve policing through better regulation and more resources (e.g. training, oversight, body cameras), an abolitionist approach to reform aims to shrink the aggregate role and space of police in the world, with the ultimate goal of eliminating our reliance on criminal law enforcement altogether.


More information: Contact Judi Rivkin, jrivkin@princeton.edu

Presented by the Program in Law and Public Affairs