E. Patrick Johnson is Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern University, the coeditor of
Treva Ellison analyzes the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the largest federal policing bill in U.S. history, to understand how the discursive production of black nonnormativity and gender nonconformity fits into the production of blackness as existing outside juridical and ethical universality. Ellison argues that neoliberal multiculturalism antiblack racism gets reproduced via gender- and sexuality-based inclusive reforms. The impossibility of legal redress for black injury opens up the possibility for the production of representational spaces of convergence to talk about how multiple experiences of harm and violence cohere around the production of places absent of ethical concern. Because blackness is at once overseen and unknown to the law, which contradiction enables spatial differentiation, Ellison considers what a politics of scale can do for multiple expressions of blackness in the current moment.