New York Academy of Sciences, Anthropology Section
2018-2019 Distinguished Lecturer Series:

Whatever Happened to Equality?
Considerations of Why Inequalities Come to Seem Global and Inevitable.

Sherina Feliciano-Santos University Of South Carolina (Linguistic Anthropology)

What impact do knowledge of police discretion and the potential for the escalation of violence have upon the communication and expression of subjects during police-initiated traffic stops? Drawing on fieldwork in a mid-size Southern city, interviews with subjects of stops, and analysis of dash-cam and body-cam video, we highlight the different fears, concerns, and knowledges that impact how subjects of traffic stops manage their speech and body language in order to avoid being interpreted as threatening or non-compliant. Interviews with differently raced and gendered subjects of police-initiated stops describe the multiple frameworks that influence their expressive decisions, from media-circulated news of shootings between police and subjects, their knowledge of their legal rights, to their past experiences of being stopped by law enforcement officials.

While the knowledge of subject’s rights during a police-initiated stop is not equally distributed, in cases where subjects do know their rights, interviews reveal how subjects experience the responses to expressing their right to remain silent as non-compliance or refusal. Here, pressures toward compliance may implicitly work against subject’s rights. Ultimately, a systemic analysis of these patterns of self-monitoring suggests how racial and gendered inequalities in charges and arrests emerge and become reproduced in the context of routine police stops. The presentation concludes by connecting these findings to global issues related to self-monitoring and the production of silences in reproducing inequality.

Date: Monday December 3rd, 2018

Location: Roosevelt House, 47-49 E. 65th St. New York, NY 10065 (Hunter College)

Register: Free to the public, preregistration encouraged: at 212-298-8640 or at

You may register by phone, 212-298-8640 or 212-298-8600. Early registration is strongly recommended, since seating is limited. For the buffet supper, registration is also required If you will be registering for an event for the first time, the New York Academy of Sciences will ask you first to set up a user account with them. Registration is free and does not require divulging personal or financial information.


The Right to Remain Silent: Self-Monitoring and the Experience of Inequality During Traffic Stops in the U.S. South | Posted on November 28th, 2018 | Faculty Seminars, Public Programs