Aisha Beliso-De Jesus in conversation with Josie Duffy Rice - Excited Delirium

Aisha Beliso-De Jesus in conversation with Josie Duffy Rice - Excited Delirium

Monday, Jul 22, 2024 7:00 PM

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

“An unflinching tour de force, 'Excited Delirium' casts a stark light on the shadows where racism, medicine and systemic injustice meet. With meticulous research and exquisite prose, leading anthropologist Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús challenges readers to confront uncomfortable truths and the ways science is manipulated to advance narratives of power and social control—in this case, through a fictitious syndrome that has justified the deaths of Black and Brown people during encounters with law enforcement." --Elizabeth Hinton, author of, "America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s"

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and A Cappella Books welcome author Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús to discuss her powerful new book, "Excited Delirium: Race, Police Violence, and the Invention of a Disease." The author will appear in conversation with Josie Duffy Rice, journalist, and co-host of Crooked Media's podcast "What a Day."

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue.

About the Book

In 1980, Miami-based medical examiner and self-proclaimed “cult expert” of Afro-Caribbean religions Charles Wetli identified what he called “excited delirium syndrome.” Soon, medical examiners began using the syndrome regularly to describe the deaths of Black men and women during interactions with police. Police and medical examiners claimed that Black people with excited delirium exhibited superhuman strength induced from narcotics abuse. It was fatal heart failure that killed them, examiners said, not forceful police restraints.

In "Excited Delirium," Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús examines this fabricated medical diagnosis and its use to justify and erase police violence against Black and Brown communities. Exposing excited delirium syndrome’s flawed diagnostic criteria, she outlines its inextricable ties to the criminalization of Afro-Latiné religions. Beliso-De Jesús demonstrates that it is yet a further example of the systemic racism that pervades law enforcement in which the culpability for state violence is shifted from the state onto its victims. In so doing, she helps to further understand the complex layers of medicalized state-sanctioned violence against people of color in the United States.

About the Author

Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús is Olden Street Professor of American Studies at Princeton University and author of "Electric Santería: Racial and Sexual Assemblages of Transnational Religion."

About the Conversation Partner

Josie Duffy Rice is Harvard Law School graduate and journalist whose work is primarily focused on prosecutors, prisons, and other criminal justice issues. She was President of The Appeal, a news publication that published original journalism about the criminal justice system. Josie co-hosts Crooked Media’s daily news podcast "What a Day." She has written for publications including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Slate.