Against Captivity: School Discipline and Black Girls in the Afterlife of Slavery

April 8, 2015, 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Wisconsin Idea Room 159, Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall

Connie Wun

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Chicago

Connie Wun

Research contends that schools in the U.S. are increasingly characterized by multilayered disciplinary policies that funnel students into prisons and produce “prison-like” conditions and/or militarized spaces. Many studies have examined the effects of these disciplinary practices upon boys of color, particularly Black boys. While these frameworks are useful, they obscure the relationship that school discipline policies have to anti-blackness, gender and violence.

In her lecture, Wun will examine school discipline policies as forms of racialized and gendered disciplinary power, based upon a 12-month case study of a high school in California. Wun has found that through formal discipline policies and informal punitive practices, Black girls are subject to constant surveillance while their complex lives are perpetually disavowed. The multilayered disciplinary landscape constructs Black girls as “captive objects,” under constant surveillance without recognition.