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Ballad of the Bullet: Gangs, Drill Music, and the Power of Online Infamy

Forrest Stuart
February 17, 2021 - 4:00pm

Required Zoom link for registration with a SUNET ID. 

Forrest Stuart is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the director of the Stanford Ethnography Lab. his Ph.D. in Sociology is from UCLA (2012), M.A. in Sociology from UCLA (2008), M.S. in Justice, Law & Society from American University (2006), and B.A. in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz (2004).

As an urban ethnographer, he uses fieldwork, archival, and other qualitative methods to investigate the causes, contours, and consequences of urban poverty. In the spirit of the Chicago School of Sociology, he pays close attention to the ways that individuals and communities make sense of their social worlds. This agenda has led to number of original research projects, community organizing efforts, and intervention programs. He makes efforts to embrace the ideals of public sociology, which enlists community members as valuable co-producers of knowledge.

His research has been published in Social Problems, Urban Studies, Law and Society Review, Law and Social Inquiry, Theoretical Criminology, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Souls, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and a number of other venues. He has also written long form articles on his research for Mother Jones, Wired, Chicago Magazine, and other popular press outlets. 

His first book, Down, Out, and Under Arrest: Policing and Everyday Life in Skid Row (University of Chicago Press), is an in-depth ethnography of Los Angeles’ Skid Row district—an area long regarded as the “homeless capital of America.” Over the last decade, Skid Row became distinguished as the site of one of the most aggressive “zero tolerance” campaigns to date, characterized by arguably the largest concentration of standing police forces found anywhere in the United States. Examining the interactions between police officers and the neighborhood's impoverished and homeless inhabitants, the book considers how this new configuration of social control and social welfare is re-constituting poverty, crime, and space, as well as the relationship existing between the police and the policed. Down, Out, and Under Arrest has received a number of awards, including the Robert E. Park Book Award from the American Sociological Association, the Michael J. Hindelang Book Award from the American Society of Criminology, and the Gordon J. Lang Book Prize from the University of Chicago Press.

His second book, Ballad of the Bullet: Gangs, Drill Music, and the Power of Online Infamy (Princeton University Press, 2020) draws on two years of ethnographic fieldwork to examine how digital social media transform the social organization of gangs, gang violence, urban culture, and poor urban neighborhoods more generally. On a broader level, this research sheds much-needed light on the manifestations and meanings of urban inequality in the digital age.   

Additional information about his work can be found on his website.


Lecture Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2021

 Lecture Tme: 4:00-5:20pm PST - This is an online-only course. This event is LIMITED to Stanford students, faculty, and staff. 

Required Zoom link for registration with a SUNET ID. 

This is  an event in the series of speakers for STS 51, a weekly lecture series exploring the intersections of race, racism, and scientific practice

Event Sponsor: 
African and African-American Studies, Bioengineering, Bio Policy & Leadership in Society, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Center for African Studies, Center for Biomedical Ethics, Center for Innovation in Global Health, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Center for South Asia, Department of Anthropology, Department of Bioengineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Communications, Digital Civil Society Lab, Ethics, Society, and Technology Hub, Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, PACS center on Philanthropy, Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Program in Human Biology, Program in Science, Technology and Society, Stanford Earth, The Steve Luby Research Group
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