“Policing Urban America”: Magic Project Produces New Animated Film

July 1, 2020
Torture letters

The New York Times’ Opinion Documentary Series has debuted The Torture Letters, a film by Laurence Ralph (Anthropology) that primes viewers on the roots of police violence as it persists in the United States.

Ralph created the film as part of “Policing Urban America,” a Humanities Council David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project that builds on over a decade of his research. It is the first stage in a project that aims to revolutionize anthropological story-telling by animating clips of ethnographic interviews with Chicago teenagers. In the films, teenagers will share feelings of marginalization on screen, revealing thoughts, ideas, and vulnerabilities, as audiovisual effects depict their experiences of being policed. 

 “Policing Urban America” seeks to spark reflection by scholars, Princeton students, Chicago Public Schools students, and the wider public.

In September, Ralph’s work will be featured at the first-ever Humanities Innovation Forum, co-hosted by the Humanities Council and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.

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