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Badges Without Borders: Policing and Empire in the Twentieth Century - 8 February 2023

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Amid the collapse of the European empires in the middle of the twentieth century, the United States, ascending to global leadership, faced a vexing challenge: how could it ensure that newly independent nations became allies, rather than antagonists? How could it achieve fealty to liberal capitalism, rather than socialism or communism, in nations often governed by the very movements and leaders which had demanded independence? Over three decades, the U.S. national security state aided and assisted the police forces of more than 50 countries to suppress trade unionism, student and peasant radicalism, and urban insurgency. The technical experts who shepherded this police assistance program, however, were cops themselves who had learned their craft under the sign of Jim Crow. Yet they now were crossing the global color line, and in doing so, they reshaped U.S. racial liberalism. How, this talk will ask, did police and intelligence officials understand the challenge and translate a US-style of policing for the realities of new nations around the globe? This talk will summarize and expand several of the arguments of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing. Nathan Eisenberg and Raúl Zepeda will act as discussants.


Stuart Schrader is Associate Research Professor in the Center for Africana Studies and Associate Director of the Program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing (University of California Press, 2019), as well as articles in HumanityModern American Historyn+1The BafflerViewpoint MagazineThe Washington Post, among others.

Catherine Charrett is a Senior Lecturer in Global Politics at the University of Westminster. She is the author of The EU, Hamas and the 2006 Palestinian Elections: A Performance in Politics and contributor to Political Economy of Palestine: Critical, Interdisciplinary, and Decolonial Perspectives.

Nathan Eisenberg is a PhD candidate at King's College London, studying the political economy of production networks in East Asia. He has previously published work on the connection between the counterinsurgency paradigm in the military, American policing, and settler colonialism.

Raúl Zepeda Gill is a PhD Candidate in the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London. He is researching The Making of a Sicario Class: Youth Mobilisation into the Mexican Criminal War (2007-2020)

Jenna Marshall, who will chair the event, is a lecturer in International Studies at King’s College London and co-convenor of the Colonial, Postcolonial and Decolonial working group of the British International Studies Association (BISA).


  • Please note, this event will be taking place online only. To attend online, please register here in advance of the meeting.

At this event

Jenna Marshall

Lecturer International Studies

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