At the crossroads: Sociologists, policing and social justice

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The murder of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis in May 2020 has spurred global outrage and transnational movements against police brutality, historical injustices (as well as their ostensible sites and symbols) and existing social inequalities. Several student associations have challenged sociology departments regarding police violence, their ties to the police, and broader action on social injustice.

In August 2020, the Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ICCJ) at Carleton University ended student internships with police and correctional services. This has attracted both commendation and criticism. The debate over ICCJ’s decision presents an opportunity to examine the role of sociologists in the global movement against police brutality and social injustice.

This presentation addresses two main questions. What is the role of sociologists in the debate over police violence and social injustice? How can sociology departments respond to the underlying call for action on equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization?

 

Guest Speaker: Dr. Temitope Oriola, University of Alberta

Temitope Oriola is joint Editor-in-Chief of African Security and associate professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Alberta. A recipient of the Governor General of Canada Academic Gold Medal, Professor Oriola’s research focuses on policing, weaponization and use of force by police, terrorism studies, resource wars or insurgencies, and political kidnapping.

A decorated researcher and teacher, Oriola regularly contributes to public scholarship through public talks, op-eds, television and radio interviews and expert opinions. Professor Oriola is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Carnegie fellowship, the 2020 recipient of the Kathleen W. Klawe Award for excellence in teaching and President of the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS).

Moderator: Dr. Sara Dorrow, University of Alberta

Sara Dorow is Professor and Chair of Sociology, and former founding director of the Community Service-Learning Program, at the University of Alberta. Her areas of research and teaching are focused on transnationalism, migration, and mobile work; gender, race, and family; and qualitative methodologies and community-engaged learning. After focusing these interests on transracial adoptive families and identities in the first part of her career, she has turned her sights on community and work in the oil sands in the second part; Part 3 is in the works.

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