Policing Los Angeles Muslims in the National Security State: Counterterror, Science, and Secularism in the War on Terror

Project: Research project

Project Details


My dissertation focuses on community-­based counterterror programs and their modes of scientific inquiry to trace the
effects of the “War on Terror” on urban policing and secular rule in the U.S. State. I propose to conduct ethnographic
research on the recently implemented Countering Violent Extremism Program (CVE) in Los Angeles, CA, to investigate
how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Los Angeles law enforcement draw on scientific expertise from terrorism
studies to police and govern Muslim American communities. I aim to: 1) investigate how anxieties about global terrorism
are shaping domestic policing practices towards minorities in the national security state;; 2) identify how scientific methods
and theories to explain and curb global terrorism are being introduced, developed, and contested in encounters between
domestic law enforcement departments and Muslim American communities;; 3) understand how the use of science in law
enforcement policing practices may be shaping U.S. State secularism. This project will provide an on-­the-­ground
ethnographic account of the everyday implications of the changes to domestic governance and policing in the context of
the ongoing global War on Terror. It will also offer a much-­needed perspective on the role of science—in this case the
science of terrorism studies, in managing religion and shaping secularism in post-­9/11 U.S.
Effective start/end date9/1/178/31/18


  • Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (9424)


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