Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work



Dr. Chris Santiago, Salvatore Pane, Dr. Laura Zebuhr


In 1966, legal scholar Charles Reich published his influential article "Police Questioning of Law Abiding Citizens," a criticism of the increasingly aggressive policing and surveillance of public spaces. Reich believed traffic stops, in particular, posted a threat to the sense of liberty, mobility, and "high spirits" that characterized American in the age of the automobile. Fifty years later, Philando Castile was pulled over, wrongfully suspected of a robbery, and shot dead in his car. The ensuing investigation into Castile's personal life and unusually public death raises questions about our rights to privacy in our cars - and in the public sphere generally. Meanwhile, artist and car enthusiast Frank Ocean suggests that notions of queerness and self-identity are intimately tied to the ambiguous space of the automobile. Together, these three cases complicate the traditional distinction between public and private spaces, a distinction that cars blur on a daily basis.


Literature, rap, music, cars, police, brutality, privacy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.