Publications in 2018

In 2018, I finished my book, Badges Without Borders: How Global Counterinsurgency Transformed American Policing. It will be out in 2019, if all goes according to plan. In addition, I wrote a bunch of short articles. I have to say that although I appreciate the ability to explore a topic deeply in an academic journal article, I find a lot of appeal in short pieces that come out quickly, don't require the hassles of peer review, and often include strong editorial input. Here's a run-down on what I published (some other things I wrote have not yet appeared).

  • Review of Sidney Harring's Policing a Class Society, Legal Form, January 2018

In January, I published a long, three-part review of the Haymarket republication of the classic book Policing a Class Society, by Sidney Harring. It allowed me to do some deep thinking about critical historiography of policing and more generally on what a critical account of policing might look like today. I was happy to find a home for this long review with Legal Form, an excellent website that is publishing sophisticated, mostly marxist work on the law. Here you can find links to the three parts.

  • Henri Lefebvre, Mao Zedong, and the Global Urban Concept, Global Urban History, May 2018

In May, I published an essay on how Henri Lefebvre, and by extension the theory of planetary urbanization, was influenced by Maoist thinking on the city and rural-urban divides on a global scale. This essay grew out of thinking I've been doing for a long time on the place of the so-called "new military urbanism" in the theory of planetary urbanization. I have a long-simmering journal article on this topic, in which I try to reveal what I think is the latent anti-imperialist content of the theory of planetary urbanization. I was happy to be able to contribute to the Global Urban History blog with this piece, as I think urban history will benefit from deepening its conversation with critical urban studies, particularly the theory of planetary urbanization. You can find the article here

  • The White Man, Unburdened: How Charles Murray Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Racism, The Baffler, 2018

Quinn Slobodian and I published this long inquiry into Charles Murray's intellectual history in The Baffler in July. It was really fun to work with Quinn, a friend but also a brilliant and sophisticated intellectual historian. I'm very proud of this piece, which I think brings something genuinely new to a relatively stale conversation about Murray and the politics of his intellectual approach. The production of this piece included some of the most hands-on editing I'd yet received, which was an interesting and instructive experience. 

  • Review of Marc Becker's The FBI in Latin America, Radical Americas, August 2018

I found reading Becker's The FBI in Latin America to be one of the most intellectually generative experiences I've had in a while. I didn't really know anything about the FBI's work in Latin America in the 1940s, and I had long felt like there was a big missing chapter in my own understanding of US security practices in the 20th century. Reading this book not only filled in that gap but compelled me to do a bunch of new research on my own and draw new connections. In the process, I wrote a massive, almost 4,000 word review/rejoinder to the book. Eventually, what ended up happening is that I transformed it into a normal-length academic book review for Radical Americas, a great new open-access journal, and I saved a bunch of the other work I did for another day.

  • The Long Counterrevolution: United States-Latin America Security Cooperation, SSRC Items, September 2018

I have been really happy to continue to work with the SSRC, ever since I was awarded a Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship back in 2011. When Rodrigo Ugarte, the editor of their great website Items, asked me to expand upon some things I'd written for NACLA, as well as some tweets as I recall, I jumped at the opportunity. I was also able to repurpose some of the thinking I had done in relation to the Becker book for this piece. In the end, it's possible I'll write a short, more popular book that tries to extend the ideas in this short piece, drawing out the logic of US security cooperation as creating the problems it then has to attempt to solve and thinking in new ways about the connections between shifting security practices and shifting political economy of capitalism. 

  • Review of Eli Jelly-Schapiro's Security and Terror, Times Higher Education, October 2018

I was flattered when an editor from the British equivalent of the Chronicle of Higher Education asked me to review what turned out to be a pretty fantastic book. Figuring out how to do the book justice in a short space was a fun challenge. Read the review here.

  • Another White Man's Burden, Public Books, October 2018

I started working on a review of Max Boot's biography of Ed Lansdale basically as soon as it came out back in 2017. As I always do, I ended up writing a massive piece. It went through many iterations and rejections to end up as the review I published with Public Books almost a year later. Ironically, it came out at the same time as his newest book, his autobiographical account of his crisis of faith in the Republican Party. In some ways, his desire to return to Cold War liberalism evidenced in the Lansdale bio makes even more sense in light of his political trajectory over the past year-plus. I still think I have a lot more to say about this book on Lansdale, which is pretty weird, insofar as it poses as properly "objective" history but includes a mostly unsupportable political line about Lansdale as not-racist. I tried to explain what I think is going on with this interpretation, and I was surprised that although this book was widely reviewed, almost no one else paid attention to this particular aspect of it. When you think about it, transforming Lansdale into a vehicle of color-blind liberalism is simply odd. Anyway, this ended up being the second piece I published in 2018 with a variation on "white man's burden" in the title; I preferred my working title "Woke Counterinsurgency." 

  • The Sources of American Conduct, Boston Review, Fall 2018

I love how quaint it seems that this piece is not online. I hope it never is! Once again, I benefited a lot from editorial input (from Chloe Fox) on this piece, in which I tried to extend some of my thoughts on how the Cold War and the carceral state relate. I made what I think is a fairly provocative argument about how US law-enforcement experts' obsessions with Soviet domination allowed them to ignore and extend the racist domination of US law enforcement as they waged the Cold War both at home and overseas. It's great to have this piece in an issue of this awesome magazine alongside some of my closest interlocutors, like Nikhil Singh and Marisol LeBrón. 

  • Tear Gas and the U.S. Border, Process: A Blog for American History, December 2018

This piece came about very quickly: after a couple tweets and an appearance on Democracy Now! to speak about my research on tear gas, I was happy to publish a piece extending the analysis for the Organization of American Historians. It's a pretty good distillation of my research that definitely benefited from the blog editors' input (Hannah Alms and others). 

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