Dr Zoe Colley


University of Dundee


Zoe’s research focuses upon the following areas of post-1945 American history:

  • The policing of black communities and campaigns for African American police, with a particular focus upon the American South.
  • Racism within the American penal system in the post-World War II era.
  • Contemporary debates on the mass incarceration of African American men.

Her 2012 book, titled Ain’t Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment and the Civil Rights Movement, examines the legal repression of civil rights activism in the American South between 1945 and 1975. It looks at the strategies that legal officials used to try to undermine support for movement activities, including mass arrest, police brutality, and legislative reform. It also examines how the civil rights movement sought to counter such oppression by developing a protest philosophy which embraced incarceration as a symbol of resistance and a mark of honour.

Zoe’s current project examines the intersection between the American penal system and African American protest activities during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. As part of this project, she is examining the politicisation of African American prisoners by the Nation of Islam and Black Panther Party, and their protests against racial discrimination between 1955 and 1975.

Research Keywords: African American prisoners; African American police; American penal system


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Phone Number:
01382 388226

University of Dundee

School of Humanities
University of Dundee

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