Skip to main content


dateMarch 3, 2022 timeThursday, 12:15pm–1:30pm EST locationVirtual Event location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia UniversityThis event will take place in person at the Heyman Center and virtually over Zoom.
  • This event will take place in person at the Heyman Center and virtually over Zoom. We ask that EVERYONE REGISTER VIA ZOOM, even those who plan to attend in person. Please read event description for further details.

  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Negative Belonging: A Journey into the Sheepdog World of Pastors, Prosecutors, and Police, two men on stage, one with a gun

This talk explores “negative belonging” by tracing how white supremacy is taking power in southern New Jersey. It uses Stuart Hall’s work on Western myth-making to interpret both the ideological underpinnings and the material interests at play in a public “Sheepdog Seminars” training session—an event coordinated by the local prosecutor’s offices, police departments, and numerous Christian church congregations. It shows how these three distinct institutions are merging into a formidable power bloc that will have the capacity to dictate who may live and who must be shot and killed. It concludes by reflecting on ethnography’s potential role in identifying and interpreting the growing forms of white supremacy seeking to seize power across the world today.

heath pearson is assistant professor of cultural anthropology at Georgetown University. His first book, in search of El Chapo: domination, defiance, and disorder in an American prison town, is forthcoming from Duke University Press. His current book project, Streaming Man: Online Movies & the Myths of Masculinity, explores contemporary propaganda by tracing the logics of white masculinity across various online streaming platforms like Hallmark, Disney+, and HBO. His writing has also appeared in NBC News, Vice News, and The Atlantic. He can often be found following his partner through the nearest patch of woods.

Attendance at SOF/Heyman events will follow Columbia-issued guidelines as they continue to develop. Given the current recommendations, we plan to allow in-person attendance for COLUMBIA AFFILIATES only. For everyone else, we're planning to livestream this event, allowing for virtual attendance.

This event also will be recorded. By being electronically present, you consent to the SOF/Heyman using such video for promotional purposes.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.