Daily Archives: Friday, January 16, 2015

Call for Papers: Race, Ethnicity and Surveillance

Call for a special issue of Surveillance & Society

 “Race, Ethnicity and Surveillance”

 Edited by:

Simone Browne, University of Texas at Austin sbrowne@austin.utexas.edu

Ronak K. Kapadia, University of Illinois at Chicago ronak@uic.edu

Katherine McKittrick, Queen’s University k.mckittrick@queensu.ca


Since its emergence, surveillance studies has been concerned with how and why populations are tracked, profiled, policed and governed at borders, in cities, at airports, in public and private spaces, in databases, through biometrics, CCTV, identification documents, social media and other technologies. Also explored are the many ways that those who are subject to surveillance adopt, endorse, invite, subvert, resist, innovate, limit, comply with and monitor that very surveillance. As an interdisciplinary field of study the questions that shape surveillance studies center on the management of everyday and exceptional life – personal data, privacy, security, and terrorism, for example.

While “race” and “ethnicity” are terms often found in indexes of many of the recent edited collections and special journal issues dedicated to the study of surveillance, limited attention is paid to race and ethnicity as key sites through which surveillance is enacted. This can be seen, for example, in the absence of theorizations of race and ethnicity, and particularly whiteness, in the public discourses surrounding wikileaks, whistleblowing, and the NSA scandal.

This special issue of Surveillance & Society is guided by the following question: How can centering race and/or ethnicity as categories of analysis help social theorists, artists, scholars and researchers to understand surveillance? We seek papers that explore the relationship between surveillance and configurations of race and ethnicity. We encourage contributions that theorize race and ethnicity as operating in an interlocking manner with gender, sexuality, dis/ability, class, religion, location and other categories of identity. Papers that critically and creatively interrogate oppression, inequalities, power and resistance would be especially welcome.

Possible topics and approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Critical race, postcolonial, queer and feminist approaches to theorizing surveillance.
  • The role of surveillance technologies in social sorting, digital discrimination, and ethnic and racial inequalities.
  • Race, ethnicity, statistics, mapping, “big data” and algorithmic surveillance.
  • Immigration, the ban-opticon and border management regimes.
  • Analysis of the use of social network sites for anti-racist organizing and for shaming racist acts and “hate tweets” (for example, publicshaming.tumblr.com or the @YesYoureRacist twitter account)
  • Genetic ancestry testing, genomic technologies, and DNA exoneration.
  • Biometric information technologies
  • Stop-and-frisk, flying-while-brown, existing-while-black, racial and ethnic profiling in policing.
  • Deployment of surveillance in the context of racialized transgender and gender non-conforming bodies and populations.
  • Role of surveillance in contemporary intelligence gathering, militarism and the policing of empire. For example, “black sites” and “kill lists”, targeted killings by way of drone strikes and other flying objects, indefinite detention, security certificates and other “War on Terror” acts that see racialized groups and individuals as their target.
  • Role of surveillance in systems of colonialism, slavery, and indentureship.
  • Surveillance, the militarization of domestic policing, and the prison-industrial complex

We also welcome other topics not outlined above, opinion pieces and research notes, as well as art, audio-visual and other creative responses to modes of surveillance. Please contact the guest-editors in advance to discuss proposed topics.

Submission Information

Please submit all papers online via:


Submission Deadline: May 1st, 2015

Reviews Returned: July 2015

Publication Date: November / December 2015


Ongwen: First Lord’s Resistance Army trial at the ICC?

The Ugandan media reacts to the surrender of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, wanted by the ICC for over 10 years.  © AFP

2015 has begun with a bang for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Just days after Palestine’s accession to the Rome Statute came the news that ICC fugitive Dominic Ongwen, a major general in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), surrendered to Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR). With his fate still uncertain, civil society is calling for his swift transfer to The Hague.

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The number of terrorists who are actually Muslim or religiously motivated will surprise you