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Professor Delivers Keynote in London, Discusses Predictive Policing

Ezekiel Dixon-Roman teaching a course, writing on a chalkboard.

Authored by: Jessica Bautista

Photography by: Kate Zambon

Faculty & Research

07/12/17

“Algorithmic Legal Reasoning as Racializing Assemblages and Alternative Futures”

SP2 Associate Professor Ezekiel Dixon-Román, PhD, recently delivered a keynote address at a conference and festival on Techno Resistance and Black Futures at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Dixon-Román’s talk examined the use of predictive analytics in U.S. criminal justice policy and practice, with a particular focus on the ways in which these technological practices legislate the lives of black and brown individuals.

The talk also explored the process by which algorithms become racializing entities through their encounters with administrative data generated at various stages of criminal justice, and guided by choices made by decision makers and researchers. Dixon-Román suggested re-imagined framings and alternative futures for machine learning algorithms and ways to address predictive policing.

“This was one of the most creative and intellectually energetic conference/festivals that I have attended. Presentations were multimodal from traditional papers and panels to DJs, performances, spoken word, to a screening of a digital movie; all of which were on the topic of Black futures,” he said.

Dixon-Román’s research rethinks and reconceptualizes the use of quantitative methods from a critical theoretical lens, particularly for the study of social reproduction in human learning and development.

“It was also on a very timely and unique topic that is getting increasing attention; that is, post-critical work on Black bodies in, with, and of sociotechnical assemblages and the possibilities of rethinking their relational ontologies and, even more fundamentally, the historical philosophy of blackness. I was honored and privileged to participate in this incredible event and found my afternoon Keynote address to be well received with both provocative intrigue and profound concern. The latter was because when you place predictive policing in the historicity of the surveillance of black and brown bodies it deconstructively illuminates the incalculability of justice.”

A recent write-up of the event can be read here.