New Book Talks - Anne Gray Fischer, The Streets Belong to Us

Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA)

CSREA’s New Book Talks highlight new and notable works studying race, ethnicity, and indigeneity from scholars both internal and external to Brown. They facilitate thought-provoking and critical engagement with emerging scholarship.


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The final New Book Talk spotlights Anne Gray Fischer, author of The Streets Belong to Us. Men, especially Black men, often stand in as the ultimate symbol of the mass incarceration crisis in the United States. Women are treated as marginal, if not overlooked altogether, in histories of the criminal legal system. In The Streets Belong to Us—a searing history of women and police in the modern United States—Anne Gray Fischer narrates how sexual policing fueled a dramatic expansion of police power. The enormous discretionary power that police officers wield to surveil, target, and arrest anyone they deem suspicious was tested, legitimized, and legalized through the policing of women’s sexuality and their right to move freely through city streets. By illuminating both the racial dimension of sexual liberalism and the gender dimension of policing in Black neighborhoods, The Streets Belong to Us illustrates the decisive role that race, gender, and sexuality played in the construction of urban police regimes.

This event is moderated by Tricia Rose, Director of CSREA; Chancellor’s Professor of Africana Studies, and Associate Dean of the Faculty for Special Initiatives at Brown University.


Anne Gray Fischer is Assistant Professor of Gender History at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her first book, The Streets Belong to Us: Sex, Race, and Police Power from Segregation to Gentrification, was published in the Justice, Power, and Politics series by the University of North Carolina Press in 2022. Her research on gender, race, and law enforcement has been published in the Journal of American History and the Journal of Social History, as well as popular outlets including the Washington Post and the Boston Review.

To order a copy of the book, visit the Brown Bookstore.