SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Black Resistance to British Policing: Racism, Violence and the Legacies of Empire

Dr. Adam Elliot-Cooper

Date: 14 October 2020Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 14 October 2020Time: 4:30 PM


Type of Event: 0


The summer of 2020 saw the largest anti-racist protests in British history. While these demonstrations challenged a number of racial issues, two clearly stood out. The first, was resistance to policing, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, but resonating with similar campaigns in Britain. The second was a reckoning with the legacies of the British Empire, illustrated by the attacks on the statues of Edward Colston and Winston Churchill. This presentation will look at the relationship between colonial power and 21st century policing through two areas. First, it will look at colonial policing, and how the racial logics and paramilitary tactics have shaped racialised policing in contemporary Britain. Second, I will analyse how the aforementioned racialised policing in Britain has led to the rise in abolitionist demands. Importantly, I argue, these demands don’t simply draw on comparable movements in the US, but also the historical legacies of anti-colonialism and Black Power movements in Britain and its former colonies.


Adam Elliott-Cooper is a research associate in sociology at the University of Greenwich. His research focuses on policing, activism and postcolonialism. He sits on the board of The Monitoring Group, a grassroots organisation challenging state racism and racial violence. His monograph, Black Resistance to British Policing, will be published by Manchester University Press in Spring 2021.

Discussant: Dr Kerem Nisancioglu

The seminars will be held via Collaborate at this link: Politics and International Studies Departmental Seminars