CRISTINA VATULESCU is a writer and associate professor of Comparative Literature at NYU. Her first book, Police Aesthetics: Literature, Film and The Secret Police, (Stanford University Press, 2010, 2013), is a study of the relationships between cultural and policing practices in twentieth century Eastern Europe. It won the 2011 Heldt Prize as well as the 2011 Outstanding Academic Title Award, sponsored by Choice.
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In writing about art and law now, I felt compelled to address a part of law that often gets left out of such lofty conversations: law enforcement, or more specifically, policing. Force is both fundamental to and obscured in the workings of the law; Jacques Derrida famously made this argument in The Force of Law already in 1990.