Micol Seigel

Micol Seigel

Professor, American Studies

Professor, History


  • Ph.D., American Studies, New York University

Research interests

race in the Americas; racial theory; transnational method; popular culture; Brazil; Latin American studies; history; mass incarceration; the cold war; postcolonial and queer theory; cultural studies

About Micol Seigel

Micol Seigel teaches and studies policing, prisons, and race in the Americas; her book on the nature of police work and the assumptions that underlie its legitimacy in a democracy, Violence Work:  State Power and the Limits of Police, was published in 2018 by Duke University Press.  Micol's work has appeared in such venues as American Quarterly, Social Text, Transition, Social Justice, The Journal of American History, and Hispanic American Historical Review. Her book Uneven Encounters:  Making Race and Nation in Brazil and the United States (Duke, 2009), received a finalist mention for the Lora Romero first book prize of the American Studies Association.  A founding organizer of the Critical Prison Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association, Micol's research has been supported by Harvard University's Charles Warren Center for Historical Studies, FLAS, Fulbright, the ACLS, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Cornell Society for the Humanities, and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.  Micol is a longtime member of Critical Resistance, a founding member of Decarcerate Monroe County, and an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program instructor.  She is currently working to chart the flows of finance through the family policing system in Indiana and beyond, while also organizing to prevent local jail expansion in Bloomington.

Publication highlights

Violence Work:  State Power and the Limits of Police (Durham: Duke University Press, August 2018). 
Uneven Encounters:  Making Race and Nation in Brazil and the United States (Durham:  Duke University Press, 2009; American Encounters/Global Interactions series, ed. Gilbert Joseph and Emily Rosenberg).  Finalist Mention, Lora Romero Prize of the American Studies Association, 2010. 

Edited volumes:
Panic, Transnational Cultural Studies and the Affective Contours of Power (Routledge, 2018).  Contributors:  Jatin Dua, Michelle Moyd, Frances M. Clarke, Rebecca Jo Plant, Adia Benton, Alex Chambers, Elliott Young, Susan Lepselter, Travis Linneman, Kyra Martinez, Osmundo Pinho, Dana Logan, Elana Zilberg, Rudo Mudiwa, Julietta Hua, Courtney Mitchel, Laura McTighe.
Revolutions and Heterotopias, A Special Forum of the Journal of Transnational American Studies, co-edited with Lessie Jo Frazier and David Sartorius. JTAS 4, no. 2 (December 2012).
Dislocations Across the Americas, A Special Issue of Social Text, co-edited with David Sartorius, Social Text 104, August 2010.  Contributors:  Mary Louise Pratt, Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, Jill Lane, Rodrigo Parrini, Naomi Paik, Adrian Pérez-Melgoza.


"Places without Police: Brazilian Visions," Radical History Review no. 137, special issue on "Policing, Justice, and the Radical Imagination," edited by Monica Kim, A. Naomi Paik, and Amy Chazkel (2020):  177-192.

"On the Critique of Paramilitarism," Men with Guns: Cultures of Paramilitarism in the Modern Americas, special issue of The Global South 12, no. 2,ed. Anne Garland Mahler and Joshua Lund (fall 2018 [released July 2019]):  166-83.

"Always Already Military:  Police, Public Safety, and State Violence," American Quarterly 71 no. 2 (June 2019):  519-539.

"Nelson Rockefeller in Latin America: Global Currents of U.S. Prison Growth," Comparative American Studies 13, no. 3 (September 2015):  161-176.

"Objects of Police History," Journal of American History 102, no. 1 (June 2015):  152-161.

"Hypothecation:  Debt Bondage for the Neoliberal Age," Transition 114 (2014):  134-145.

"William Bratton in the Other LA," Beyond Walls and Cages:  Bridging Immigrant Justice and Anti-Prison Organizing in the United States, ed. Jenna Loyd, Matt Mitchelson & Andrew Burridge (AK Press, 2012), pp. 115-125; reprinted from Without Fear...Claiming Safe Communities Without Sacrificing Ourselves (Los Angeles: Southern California Library, 2007), pp. 54-62.

"Black Mothers, Citizen Sons," in Quase-Cidadão: histórias e antropologias da pós-emancipação no Brasil, ed. Flávio dos Santos Gomes & Olívia Gomes da Cunha (Rio de Janeiro:  FGV, 2007), 315-346.

"The Disappearing Dance:  Maxixe's Imperial Erasure," Black Music Research Journal no. 1/2 (spring/fall 2005):  93-117.

"Beyond Compare:  Comparative Method after the Transnational Turn," Radical History Review 91 (winter 2005):  62-90.

"World History's Narrative Problem," Hispanic American Historical Review 84, 3 (August 2004):  431-46.

"Sabina's Oranges: The Colours of Cultural Politics in Rio de Janeiro, 1889-1930," with Tiago de Melo Gomes, Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 11, 1 (March 2002):  5-28.

"Cocoliche's Romp:  Fun with Nationalism at Argentina's Carnival," TDR:  The Journal of Performance Studies 44, 2 (Summer 2000):  56-83.  Republished in Latin American Theatre and Performance, ed. Jill Lane, in the Routledge "Worlds of Performance" series, ed. Richard Schechner.


Violence Work
Violence Work

State Power and the Limits of Police

Micol Seigel

Uneven Encounters
Uneven Encounters

Making Race and Nation in Brazil and the United States

Micol Seigel

Selected national and international honors and awards

  • Fulbright Distinguished Chair in International Relations at the Instituto de Relações Internacionais (Institute of International Relations), University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, 2018-19.
  • Visiting Scholar, Charles Warren Center for Historical Studies, Harvard University, 2017-2018 (theme "Crime and Punishment in American History").
  • Fellow, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney, Australia, spring 2014.
  • Principal author, Ford/LASA (Latin American Studies Association) special projects award for "Tepoztlán—Kayb'alan," a collaborative professionalization workshop with members of the organizing collective of the Tepoztlán Institute for the Transnational History of the Americas, and the indigenous scholar-activist collective Kayb'alan Centro de Análisis, Formación e Incidencia del Pueblo Maya, based in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, 2013.
  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)/Oscar Handlin Fellowship for Research in American History, 2012.
  • Finalist Mention, Lora Romero first book prize of the American Studies Association for Uneven Encounters, 2010.
  • Principal author, "Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Cultures of Engagement in an Era of Displacement," NEH Faculty Humanities HSI Initiative grant, CSULA, January 2007.
    Fellowship, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, 2006-07.

Courses recently taught

University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

  • BRI 0068, "Race, Class & the American Prison" (August-September 2018).
  • PRI 5060, "Gender and Race Theory for International Relations and Beyond" (May-June 2019).

Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

  • AMST-A100, "What Is America?  An Introduction to American Studies"
  • HIST A-106, "US History since 1865"
  • AMST-A350, "Crimmigration:  The Criminalization of Immigration" (spring 2019).
  • AMST-A350, "Prisons as a Problem in American Studies" (fall 2018).
  • AMST A-399, “Landscapes of Surveillance,” an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course.
  • AMST-G620/CULS-701, “Critical Ethnic Studies”

Indiana University, Bloomington, and Indiana Women's Prison, Indianapolis, IN

  • HIST A-300, "The Postwar Prison," an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program course (spring 2017; also taught in spring 2015 and spring 2016 at Heritage Trail Correctional Facility in Plainfield, IN, and in spring 2010 and spring 2011 at Putnamville Correctional Facility in Greencastle, IN).