I’m an urban historian whose research explores how law and custom maintain police power and legitimacy.
Image: Buffalo Bayou / Houston, TX / 2020
Will Tchakirides researches and writes about the legal and cultural underpinnings of police power in America. He is specifically interested in how overpoliced and underprotected workers, youth, and the poor have collectively resisted state violence, while reimagining community safety on their own terms. Will’s writing is largely anchored in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he lived from 2010 to 2020. However, the lessons he seeks to impart extend to the whole of metropolitan America. A dedication to anti-racism, labor rights, gender and sex equity, and human dignity informs this work.
To that end, Will believes democracy will not be fully realized in the U.S. until it abolishes the Prison Industrial Complex and makes any need for 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 occupied First Nations and the descendants of enslaved Black families and diasporic communities who helped build the U.S. and have steadily resisted criminalization, economic plunder, and state violence. And it means assertively investing in housing, jobs, education, and healthcare through equitable programs of social relief that forgo revanchist, market-driven approaches. While research can help further these ends, it is only through political education and activism that we’ll realize, what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. notably referenced as, the “beloved community.”
Will is also a public historian who has collaborated on numerous community-based archiving and interpretive digital humanities projects. He hails from greater Hartford, CT, where trips to museums like the Mark Twain House and Wadsworth Atheneum as a youth instilled an early sense of place and passion for story telling and artistic visualization. Will is currently based in Houston, TX, which occupies traditional Karankawa and Akokisas lands.