NBN Classic: Jaime Alves, “Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil (U Minnesota Press, 2018)

This episode proved remarkably popular, so we’re reposting it as an NBN classic for those who missed it the first time.

The 2018 election of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil has brought the issues of police violence, racial discrimination, and misogyny to the fore. Jaime Alves’s book the Anti-Black City: Police Terror and Black Urban Life in Brazil (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) shows that, from the perspective of Black Brazilians, these forces have deep roots in the nation’s history. Alves makes a powerful contribution to urban anthropology, describing the spatial contours of “Brazilian Apartheid” in Sao Paulo, the role of police violence in the constitution of the city’s racial-spatial order, and the ways that national sovereignty is exercised on individual bodies. Richly ethnographic, The Anti-Black City explores these themes through an account of the lives and activism of black residents of Sao Paulo’s favelas. In this episode, Jaime Alves talks with Jacob Doherty about how his background shaped the research leading to the book, about the entanglement of neoliberal moral government through community and the deployment of police terror, and about his conceptual engagements with Afro-pessimist philosophy.

Jaime Alves is assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York and a research affiliate at the Centro de Estudios Afrodiasporicos at Universidad Icesi, Colombia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin. His work has appeared in the Journal of Black Studies, Antipode, Journal of Latin American Studies, Identities, and Critical Sociology.

Jacob Doherty is a research associate in urban mobility at the Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford, and, most recently, the co-editor Labor Laid Waste, a special issue of International Labor and Working Class History.

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