Haynes (née Suska)
Assistant Professor
Phone number
Room number
9.63.16 NB

Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2018)

M.Phil. in Latin American Studies, University of Oxford, UK (2011)

B.A. in Philosophy and Culture, University of Witten/ Herdecke, Germany (2009)


Marta-Laura Haynes is a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the advisor for the Deviance, Crime, and Culture major. Dr. Haynes has extensive ethnographic research experience in Brazil where she studies issues related to policing, violence, race, gender, and trust. She is specifically interested in so-called "democratic" or "innovative" policing projects in the Global South, that introduce new technologies and policing models. Currently, she is working on her book manuscript titled Untrusting: The quest for democratic policing in Brazil - a vivid ethnography based on five years of fieldwork (2010-2015) with two police programs and inside favelas in Rio and Recife. The book takes trust as its ethnographic object, working through its racialized and gendered politics, and explores trustworthiness as a mode of becoming a “good citizen.” In a country where a ‘George Floyd’ is killed eight times per day, trust in the police is always a political project of subjugation and ultimately white supremacy.

Over the years, Dr. Haynes has worked with non-profit organizations devoted to social justice issues, such as the Madison Public Library's Making Justice Program, where she worked with court-involved youth; the Brazilian Think Tank Igarapé Institute, the BRICS Policy Center and Center for Digital Inclusion in Rio de Janeiro, and the Goethe Institut in São Paulo.

Dr. Haynes is Polish-German and speaks German, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Greek. 


JJC Affiliations
Deviance, Culture and Crime Major
Courses Taught

Current courses

ANT100 Ethnography of Youth & Justice; ANT230 Culture & Crime; ANT325 Ethnographic Research Methods

Previous courses

Professional Memberships

Latin American Studies Association (LASA)

Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA)

American Anthropological Association (AAA)

Brazilian Portuguese, Polish, German, English
Scholarly Work

Haynes, M.L. (forthcoming) "Under Mother's Eyes: Black gaze, state violence, and resilience in Rio de Janeiro." Feminist Anthropology.

Haynes, M.-L. (2021), "Qualifying Violence: Visible Data, Invisible Lives in Recife, Brazil." The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 26: 468-487

Haynes, M.-L. (2020). [Review of the book Understanding Contemporary Brazil, by Jeff Garmany and Anthony Pereira]. Luso-Brazilian Review 57(2), E11-E13.

Suska, M.-L. (2018). Foreword. In DD Armstrong (eds.), The Beyond Words Anthology – Madison Uncut. (pp.9-12). London: Smash and Grab Books Press.

Suska, M.-L. (2018). “Favela.” In Ledeneva A. (ed.), Global Encyclopaedia of Informality, Volume 2: Understanding Social and Cultural Complexity (pp. 23-27). London: UCL Press. 

Suska, M.-L. (2015). Recommendations for Two Violence-Reducing Policing Programs in Brazil: The Pacification Police Unit in Rio de Janeiro and the Pact for Life in Recife, (also available in Portuguese), Rio de Janeiro: BRICS Policy Center.

Suska, M.-L. (2009). Book Review of “Reflexion zu Ernst Tugendhat’s Kritik an Immanuel Kants Moralkonzept,” Germany: GRIN Verlag.

Honors and Awards

The CUNY Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP), 2020

Andrew W. Mellon Public Humanities Fellowship, 2017

SSRC Drugs, Security, and Democracy Fellowship, 2014

Scott-Kloeck Jenson International Internship Award, 2014

Tinker & Nave Research Award, 2013

Research Summary

Marta-Laura Haynes is a cultural anthropologist and brazilianist interested in policing, urban violence, race, gender, inequality, and social justice. Her Ph.D. work was an ethnographic study of two public security programs, the Pacification Police in Rio de Janeiro and the Pact for Life in Recife. Between 2010 - 2015 she conducted intensive fieldwork in Rio and Recife, where she shadowed military police and homicide task force, policymakers, and lived in favela communities to explore their attempts at "democratic policing." Dr. Haynes' research critically examines the concept of "soft" governance and its relation to and use of trust. In the largest African diaspora - Brazil - contemporary life is regulated through state-sanctioned practices of militarism, surveillance, and police terror. Here, trust presents itself as a historically fraught and racialized concept. Haynes explores not simply what trust is, but the labor that it performs in police units as well as in the favelas they serve. She shows the nuanced ways in which trust intersects with local ideas about race and gender, and serves as a mode of "good citizenship," which one can claim or exercise by demonstrating trust.