Elliott Liu

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9237

Approve Date

April 8, 2016

Project Title

Liu, Ellliot J., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Race-making and Police Technologies in Post-Civil Rights New York City,' supervised by Dr. Jeff Maskovsky

ELLIOT J. LIU, then a graduate student at City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Race-making and Police Technologies in Post-Civil Rights New York City,’ supervised by Dr. Jeff Maskovsky. This project examined the ways race is remade through the use of policing and surveillance technologies at the New York City Police Department. Over eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, the grantee attended community meetings, inter-agency meetings at police headquarters, conferences of police unions, crime analysts, and police executives, and interviews with retired officers and administrators. Research was conducted at the Municipal Archives, tracing the development of police technology from 1955 to present in official studies, mayoral correspondence, and selected memoirs. Findings suggest police technologies produce a new racial techno-politics in which links between crime, safety, danger and race are forged and contested in popular and political discourse. Following the Black Lives Matter movement, the NYPD is combining ‘neighborhood policing’ strategies with expansive data analysis, in a bid to rebuild police legitimacy through precise interventions in local problems alongside low crime rates. Recalling earlier Civil Rights reforms, these shifts refocus police attention on a narrowed range of legible targets, thereby addressing accusations of indiscriminate racial harassment, while simultaneously facilitating new racialized discourses regarding the criminal types and territories subject to police intervention. Technology thus proves central to the ways policing becomes political in 21st century U.S. cities.