Riot, Rebellion, Resistance, Repression: Representations of and Responses to Protest, Policing and Power from 1900 – Present

By 2nd October 2019 No Comments

Keynote Speakers: Professor Micol Seigel (Indiana University, Bloomington)

Second Keynote: TBC

The 2010s have been marked by sustained mass popular demonstrations. From the Arab Spring and Occupy in 2011 to the Anti-Extradition Bill Protests in Hong Kong, mass protests that toppled Governor Ricardo Rossello in Puerto Rico, and the Mauna Kea demonstrations in Hawaii in 2019, by way of hundreds of Black Lives Matter protests across the US, such a sustained and varied wave of mass popular mobilisations seems almost unique in living memory.

In response to such popular mobilisations, and sometimes in anticipation of them, the past decade has seen a huge increase in and development of the state’s response to such distinctly spatial and urban forms of protest and resistance. These mass state mobilisations—often spearheaded by metropolitan/municipal police forces supported, and routinely superseded by, specialised riot control forces—have been recognised as deeply antagonistic, violent, and even mocking responses to these expressions of mass discontent.

The struggle over city blocks and neighbourhoods, the right to protest, the practices of mass popular mobilisation, and the question of who controls public space: these are concerns at the forefront of any inquiry into the protest form. At a time when the police of St Louis, Missouri can take to the streets and, while dispersing those resisting the state’s violence, chant ‘whose streets? Our streets!’, popular and state mass mobilisations take on a heightened sense of urgency.

In response to this urgency, and the sustained wave of mass popular and state mobilisations, this conference aims to bring together activists and academics to explore forms, examples, and tactics of popular protest and state repression. It will investigate definitions of the riot and protest form, state repression, manifestations of state violence and popular response, the systems of (dis)organisation —legal, academic, socio-cultural, political—that underlie both the state’s repression of popular movement and protest, and those moments and movements of protest themselves. With a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries and a global outlook, we hope that the intersections of scholarly and activist praxis will both reveal and (de)construct the state’s forms and means of repression and strengthen popular movements across the world.

Call for Papers

We invite papers that explore the whole range of possibilities the conference theme raises. With this in mind, papers may explore themes including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Forms of protest/forms of policingMass mobilisations – large scale popular and police actions
  • Occupation: seizing, subverting, and staying in spaces
  • Incarceration: prisons as a site of protest
  • Protest to Prison Pipeline: Incarceration as Police Power
  • Environmental Protest, Policing, and Power
  • Digital Protest, Digital Power: The Internet as Protest/Repressive Space
  • Mobile Protest: Walks, Marches, and Moving Battles
  • Gender/Race/Sexuality/Disability and/as Protest
  • Terror Tactics: Uses and Abuses of Police Power and Presence
  • Surveillance and Infiltration: Spy Cops and Protest Movements
  • ‘Officer Friendly’: Police Roles and Performance of Power
  • Cops and Klan: Right Wing Protest and Police Support
  • Pigs, ACAB, and Anti-State Speech: Protesters views of the police and state
  • National and International Examples of Protests, Police Tactics, and Power


Please submit abstracts for 20 minute papers of no longer than four hundred (400) words to by Sunday December 1, 2019, with the subject ‘Conference Abstract’ in PDF format.

Call for Panels

A number of panel sessions will be dedicated to activist groups/individuals. These panels can take the form of ‘traditional’ conference paper presentations, but are open to the interpretation of the group/individual applying. If you are planning to submit such a proposal, please make clear what form your session will take in your abstract. Sessions between 20 minutes and 1 hour.

Fully-formed panel proposals of three papers are also welcomed. Please submit panel proposals of no longer than fifteen hundred (1500) words to by Sunday December 1, 2019, with the subject ‘Conference Panel Proposal’ in PDF format.

For more information, including how to join the network and/or one of our working groups, please visit and find us on Twitter @StateViolenceRN