Will Tchakirides

Exploring the History of Urban Policing & Struggles to Unmake Police Power

engaged scholar  ·  public historian  ·  creative educator

A little about myself…

I’m a UW-Milwaukee History PhD Candidate interested in how contested issues of race, class, and gender shape power dynamics in U.S. cities. Most of my research and writing is anchored in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, the lessons I seek to impart are extensible to the whole of metropolitan America. A dedication to antiracism, labor rights, gender and sex equity, and human dignity informs my praxis.

To that end, I believe democracy will never be realized in the US until we end the Prison Industrial Complex and make surveillance, policing, and punishment systems obsolete. That means honestly reckoning with this country’s formative history of indigenous genocide, white settler-colonialism, and racial-capitalist development. It means paying reparations to the descendants of enslaved families who built this nation and have since faced criminalization, economic plunder, state-sanctioned oppression, and gender violence. And it means investing more in housing, jobs, education, and healthcare through targeted programs of social relief that reject privatization and market-driven approaches. While I think research plays a key role in furthering these ends, it’s through political education and activism that we’ll build, what Dr. King called, the “beloved community.”

I’m also a public historian (M.A., American University, 2011), with experience in the digital humanities, archives, and oral history. I’ve worked on collaborative projects for universities, museums, and cultural heritage sites in cities as regionally diverse as Boston, Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee. A number of projects I’ve assisted on have aimed to help communities build more usable, complete interpretations of the past on their own terms. I hail from greater Hartford, CT, where trips to museums like the Mark Twain House and Wadsworth Atheneum instilled an early sense of place and passion for story telling and artistic visualization.

My dissertation is the first comprehensive study to center the Black-led struggle for police accountability in Milwaukee’s long civil rights movement history.

Let’s connect

You can catch me on Twitter @willtchak, or reach out by email: tchakir2@uwm.edu