Surveillance and the Fragility of Black Motherhood
Based on interviews conducted with low-income Black mothers in Washington, DC, the talk will explore the precarious status of motherhood under conditions of racially unequal systems of surveillance by prisons, police, and child welfare. While most debate over police reform focuses on the carceral system's perils for Black men, this discussion responds to and produces particular perils for Black women. To tell these mothers' stories and to advance the project of narrative shifting, the talk uses the tool of "empirical poetry"--poems constructed from the narratives of these women.
About the Speaker
Monica Bell is a Professor of Law and Counselor to the Dean at Yale Law School and an Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale University. Bell works at the intersection of law and sociology, using sociological theory and research to explore legal questions regarding race and class inequality. Some subject matters that Bell has focused on include policing, violence, safety and security, welfare and public benefits, housing, and residential segregation. Bell uses multiple methods, with an emphasis on qualitative empirical methodology.
Bell's scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, the Yale Law Journal, Journal of Economic Perspectives, NYU Law Review, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and other journals. She has also published writing in popular outlets such as Politico Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Inquest, and the Washington Post.
Bell has received recognition for her scholarship, teaching, and mentorship, such as the Yale Law Women Faculty Excellence Award, the Jane Addams Article Award as well as other distinguished article prizes from the American Sociological Association, a visiting scholar fellowship at the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Derrick A. Bell Jr. Award from the American Association of Law Schools. She currently serves on editorial boards of the American Sociological Review and the Law & Society Review.
Prior to joining the faculty, Bell was a Climenko Fellow & Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and a Liman Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Born and raised in Anderson, South Carolina, she holds a B.A. from Furman University where she became a Truman Scholar, an M.Sc. from University College Dublin in Ireland where she was a Mitchell Scholar, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard University.