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The Imperial Origins of American Policing: Militarization and Colonial Feedback in the Early 20th Century – Julian Go

September 27, 2019 @ 12:50 pm - 2:00 pm


This presentation offers a comparative-historical perspective on the militarization of policing in through a close examination of urban policing in early 20th century America, a period that historians call “the Reform Era” of policing. Based upon a nested cross-city analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, the study shows that police “reforms” in this period constituted an early form of militarization resulting from colonial feedback. Local police borrowed tactics, techniques, and organizational templates from America’s imperial-military regime that had been developed to conquer and rule foreign populations. The study also explains how and why this occurred, connecting local policing to the dynamics of American empire abroad and race relations at home.

About Julian Go:

Julian Go’s teaching and research areas include comparative-historical sociology; empires, colonialism and post colonialism; social theory; global sociology; and politics & culture. His scholarship explores the sociology of empires, colonial encounters, postcolonial global formations, and postcolonial thought. Much of his early work has focused upon the United States empire. This research has resulted in various articles and various book projects, which include: The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives (co-edited with Anne Foster, Duke University Press, 2003),  American Empire and the Politics of Meaning(Duke University Press, 2008) (co-winner of the Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book from the Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association and Finalist for the Philippines National Book Award), and Patterns of Empire: the British and American Empires, 1688 to Present (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which won the prize for Best Book in Global &  Transnational Sociology from the American Sociological Association, the American Political Science Association’s J. David Greenstone Book Award for the Best Book in Politics and History in 2010 and 2011, the 2013 Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations from the International Studies Association, and was one of Choice’s “Outstanding Academic Titles” in 2012.


September 27, 2019
12:50 pm - 2:00 pm
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UF Department of Political Science


Anderson 216