Lisa Cacho to speak at Penn State on Jan. 31

January 15, 2019

Lisa Cacho, an author and noted scholar on racialization and marginalized subjects, will deliver a lecture titled “Tragic but not Criminal: Challenging the ‘Objective Reasonableness’ of Police Killings” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 in Sutliff Auditorium (Room 118) in Lewis Katz Building. The event is free and to the public.

Cacho is professor of Latina/Latino studies and Asian American studies, with affiliations in gender and women’s studies and English, at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on comparative race and ethnic studies, criminalization and immigration, and women of color feminism and queer of color critique. Cacho is the author of “Social Death: Racialized Rightlessness and the Criminalization of the Unprotected,” which received the 2013 John Hope Franklin Book Prize presented by the American Studies Association, and has written numerous articles on feminism, racialization, and the devaluation of people of color.

During her Penn State visit, Cacho will discuss the disparities in the treatment of the killings of men of color and white criminal defendants versus the killings of women of color. Cacho argues that white criminal defendants are extended respect not offered to male victims of color, while “women, girls, and gender nonconforming people of color are excluded from participating in even the pretense of justice.”

Cacho’s lecture is part of the Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance Sawyer Seminar Series sponsored by the Penn State Department of African American Studies. The seminar seeks to identify and examine ways that marginalized racial subjects in the Americas disrupt the logic of disposability creatively, politically, and intellectually using practices of organized resistance and an everyday politics of refusal. It is funded through a grant provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional information about the series can be found at this website or by contacting Cynthia Young, associate professor and head of the Department of African American Studies at


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Last Updated January 15, 2019