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The Force of Political Assembly: Collective Identity in the "Rodney King Riots" and LA's March against Prop. 187
Thursday, November 14, 2019

How do political assemblies like protests and demonstrations capture the attention of public audiences? Such gatherings are a major way that people around the world understand political action and use it to challenge the status quo, especially in today’s political climate. Drawing on archival material related to 1992 “Rodney King Riots” and a major 1994 march challenging California’s Proposition 187, I argue that political assemblies capture public attention through a complex interplay of speech, physical presence and affect, which together convey the force of a political collective. In this talk, I will focus on the ways a public gathering creates a sense of collective identity and intention. I engage theories of gender performativity to explain that there is no essential political collective assembled in the streets; instead, collectivity is the performative effect of gathering.

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Location: Olin Language Center 120
Sponsor: Dean of the College; Political Studies Program
Contact: Michelle Murray.
Phone: 845-758-7693

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