American Streets, Foreign Territory: How Counterinsurgent Knowledge Militarized Policing and Criminalized Color


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


American Studies


The 1960s saw the United States try and often fail to maintain order on an unruly globe, but these trials were successful in teaching US police new ways to maintain order at home. As African-American neighborhoods exploded in unrest, domestic law-enforcement leaders took cues from their colleagues who fought subversion overseas. Personnel, training, doctrine, and technologies circulated to-and-fro, transferred across borders, and knitted together foreign and domestic spheres. Advocated by local police and federal leaders, the Johnson administration’s anticrime program drew its architecture and expertise from the US counterinsurgency police-assistance effort. The origins, therefore, of law-and-order politics and mass incarceration, were global, outgrowths of the Cold War.