Badges Without Borders

Here is a short description of my book, Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing, to be published in 2019 by University of California Press in the American Crossroads series. You can read more about it here.

Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing explains how the Cold War U.S. effort to professionalize police in other countries reverberated domestically, leading to the rise of the carceral state. The book traces the history of the Office of Public Safety, the U.S. government’s overseas police assistance arm tasked with countering communist insurgency in over 50 countries, and illustrates how it called upon the leading U.S. policing experts. It shows that the Office of Public Safety was a key instrument of Cold War U.S. empire, a configuration of geopolitical power that tried to escape the history of racism within the United States but remained captive to it. In following the cross-border exchanges and circulations of policing experts, Badges Without Borders reveals a hidden dimension of U.S. global power and illustrates the bureaucratic battles that empowered police to wage the Cold War in Third World countries. In turn, this group of policing experts shaped state responses to political unrest and Black freedom struggles at home, instituting more aggressive forms of racialized social control. The book reveals how central overseas projections of U.S. power were to policing tactics and technologies that shape life on American streets today.


The American Studies Association awarded my dissertation "Finalist Mention" (ie, second place) for its annual Ralph Henry Gabriel Dissertation Prize. That dissertation served as the basis for Badges Without Borders.

© 2019 Stuart Schrader