Transgressing to Teach: Theorising Race and Security Through Struggle

Chris Rossdale*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

138 Downloads (Pure)


Recent interventions in critical security studies have argued that the field has struggled to account for the racialised/racist foundations of security politics. This article engages with the US Black Panther Party (BPP), arguing that the Party did important work to show how security politics is dependent on racial violence. The idea that we can theorise global politics through struggle (`struggle as method’) is becoming popular within disciplinary International Relations (IR), but has longer lineages in Black radical thought. The BPP were important advocates of struggle as method, with tactics and strategies intentionally designed with a pedagogical purpose; through Panther actions (including community self-defence and survival programmes), and the state’s response to these, the mechanisms of capitalist white supremacy were laid bare. The article therefore acknowledges BPP action as a series of theoretical interventions, which demonstrated how the terms of US/white security are rooted in and dependent on anti-Blackness. It also shows how Panther tactics prefigured alternative, radical, anti-statist approaches to security, these conceptualised as `survival pending revolution’. The article closes by arguing that scholarship on critical security studies - especially as related to the racialised politics of security - should do more to work with and acknowledge its indebtedness to struggle as method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Early online date9 Dec 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • black panther party
  • critical security studies
  • race and racism
  • critical pedagogy
  • black radicalism


Dive into the research topics of 'Transgressing to Teach: Theorising Race and Security Through Struggle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this