Jennifer Jurgens


BA in History, with a minor in Social Thought, UCLA, 2016

Research Interests

Intellectual history
Political history
History of technology
Political and state violence
Aesthetics and rhetorics of violence

Dissertation Title


Faculty Advisors

Daniel LaChance


As a historian of American violence, I am broadly interested in two questions: how the American state legitimates violence and how it compels, coerces, and convinces individuals to commit violence on its behalf. My work focuses primarily on the intersection(s) of American violence and technology. My current project examines the depersonalization of American state violence during the late 20th century/early 21st century. I am particularly interested in the role of expertise and professionalization in this depersonalization process. Areas of focus include: the role of drones in post 9/11 military operations and manhunting; the use of algorithms, surveillance, and big data in American policing and urban control; and the role of predictive technologies and their relation to race and class at play in risk assessments that guide sentencing and parole operations in the American carceral system. In addition to this work, I explore how aesthetics and rhetorics of violence are mediated through popular culture to legitimate American state violence through the critical framework of affect and emotion.