Rethinking Policing, Penality and Pandemic

Description of activities, leadership, contact information

Description of Activity

This working group brings together established, junior and emerging scholars across disciplines to examine and discuss policing and penality in relation to racialized, poor and street-involved populations in Toronto. We are a diverse, multilingual group of faculty and students whose combined areas of research include Afro-Latin American Studies, anticolonial studies, Black Studies, criminology, critical geography, critical race feminisms, disability studies, emancipatory pedagogies, equity and solidarity, and public health.

As social justice researchers, we share a sense of accountability to communities in and around our universities, and particularly a responsibility for the well-being of those populations who are marginalized and excluded through inequitable social relations and structures and who are targeted by state violence. These obligations are all the more pressing in the context of the COVID pandemic, which has foregrounded how policing in its many forms disproportionately endangers the lives of Black, Indigenous, migrant, queer, racialized, trans, and other marginalized folks.

This working group will study current debates in academia addressing:

a) community-university relations and the role of the university in today’s society following the outbreak of the pandemic;
b) notions of “safety” on and around university campuses, particularly for those who are racialized, Indigenous, and disabled; and
c) tensions between and implications of contemporary discourses of public health, public safety, and decolonization.

This working group aims to bring together scholars and community members in the spirit of study that aims beyond critique and towards cultivating alternatives to carcerality.

In 2021-2022 we will be exploring the themes of Food Security and Land Use. We wish to expand our work to include more opportunities to grow our relationships with community groups, and to engage more directly in community work.


  • Rosalind Hampton, OISE Social Justice Education
  • Vannina Sztainbok, OISE Social Justice Education


Faculty, University of Toronto

  • Stan Doyle-Wood, New College Equity Studies program and Transitional Year Program
  • Sam Tecle, New College Equity Studies program

 Faculty outside University of Toronto

  • Rai Reese, Criminology, Ryerson University

Graduate Students, University of Toronto

  • Andrea Roman Alfaro, Sociology
  • A.J. Bedward, OISE Social Justice Education
  • Elaine Cagulota, OISE Social Justice Education
  • Mariba Douglas, FAS Geography & Planning
  • Roxana Escobar Ñañez, FAS Geography & Planning
  • Ntombi Nkiwane, Della Lana School of Public Health, Health Promotion