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Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, associate professor of African American studies, receives Mae C. King Distinguished Paper Award

The award recognizes the best paper presented by a political scientist on women, gender, and Black politics at a national or regional political science conference each academic year.

Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, associate professor of African American studies at UCI, recently received the Mae C. King Distinguished Paper Award on Women, Gender, and Black Politics for her paper, "(Political) Anesthesia or (Political) Memory: The Combahee River Collective and the Death of Black Women in Custody,” presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.

In her paper, Professor Willoughby-Herard discusses how violence by police against Black women has become so lethal that it is common for Black women to call the police during police stops. Concerned about murders of Black Women during police stops and while in custody, Willoughby-Herard urges us to re-think the policy vocabulary that typically defines such murders as "good kill" and "within policy." Her exploration of the histories that animate such language and the meanings that Black communities associate with it turn toward "biomedical racialization," the medical plantation, and urging scholars to think more about how violence against Black women functions and operates in the political sphere. Willoughby-Herard theorizes that such normalized violence reflects the fundamental relationship between Black women and the state and the society: whether the perpetrator is known or unknown, an agent of the state, an intimate partner, or the state itself.

The Mae C. King Distinguished Paper Award was named after one of the pioneers in political science for research and institution building supportive of Black women in particular and race and gender equity more generally. The award recognizes the best paper presented by a political scientist on women, gender, and Black politics at a national or regional political science conference each academic year.

Willoughby-Herard is the author of Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability (University of California Press, 2015).