New Essay: “Carceral enjoyments and killjoying the social life of social death”

My rather long(ish) essay, “Carceral enjoyments and killjoying the social life of social death” is out this month in Kelly Struthers Montford and Chloë Taylor’s new volume, Building Abolition: Decarceration and Social Justice (out now from Routledge!).

Rather than try to summarize, here’s an overview from the essay itself:

Continue reading “New Essay: “Carceral enjoyments and killjoying the social life of social death””

New article out in Theory and Event, responding to Anker’s work.

Last year, I was humbled to be invited to read, respond to, and think with one of my favorite political theorists, Elisabeth Anker. I got to join the amazing Lida Maxwell as a respondent to Elisabeth’s paper, “White and Deadly”: Sugar, Slavery, and The Sweet Taste of Freedom” at the 2018 Maxwell Lecture at the University of Utah (organized by the also incredible Steven Johnson).

I learned so much from these amazing thinkers, and was given some space to think all over the place about the collective (and specific) attachments to and enjoyments of white supremacy that shape this place we inhabit. And now you can read Elisabeth’s amazing paper in the new issue of Theory and Event! And Lida’s brilliant response! and my rambling thoughts as well, if you would like. Steven’s wonderful introduction to the symposium also makes me sound smarter than I am!

New essay out: “Crisis, Critique, and Abolition”

Excited that this is out in print, an essay on the relationship between critique (as a practice of empirically engaged analysis) and abolitionist politics, as part of A Time For Critique (Columbia Press, 2019). The essay came out of a really amazing study group I was in a few years ago, and it captures a lot of how I think about our present moment in relation to the long history of “crisis” that is often forgotten when every day feels like a new disaster is unfolding. I’m really flattered to be alongside a lot of incredible thinkers here, and humbled to have my thoughts included.

Issue one of @AbolitionJ available! Launch event at DVC this week…

It’s been many years in the making, but Issue One of Abolition Journal is finally out in print and available from Common Notions (and AK Press Distro)!

The full journal will be published online here shortly, entirely Open-Access and in print quality PDF format. We’re just getting the technical things sorted out.

Additionally, I’ll be up at Diablo Valley College on Feb 28 alongside Albert Ponce, Brooke Lober, and others to talk about abolitionist politics generally, and how the journal project fits into that work. And we’ll have lots of copies of Issue One on hand as well. So, if you’re in the Bay area, come and join us!

Active Intolerance available in paperback

It’s been out for a few months now, but I’m still happy to (re)announce that Active Intolerance: Michel Foucault, the Prisons Information Group, and the Future of Abolition has been released in a far more affordable paperback edition by Palgrave. You can order it direct from the publisher for $40 (USD).

Hopefully this makes Active Intolerance more usable for teaching and gets it into the hands of more folks. Moreover, if you are interested in getting a copy to someone on the inside, please let me know and I’ll be happy to help in any way that I can!

Also, the introductory chapter (by Perry Zurn and myself) is still available for free online.


#philoSOPHIA2017 roundtable this weekend, Resistant Affects: On Building Active Intolerance Against the Intolerable

Am really exited to be a part of a  great  roundtable this weekend at the 2017 meeting of  philoSOPHIA,  Resistant Affects: On Building  Active Intolerance Against the Intolerable, at Florida Atlantic University.

The panel will feature presentations from Natalie Cisneros (U. Seattle), Andrea Pitts (UNC-Charlotte), Falguni Sheth (Emory), Perry Zurn (American U.), and myself. It will be moderated by Kyoo Lee (CUNY). We’re going to be building on (and moving beyond) the work in the book that Perry and I co-edited,  Active Intolerance (which features chapters from Cisneros, Sheth, and Zurn). This panel tries to  continue a line of questioning that Perry and I keep coming back to: what precisely did the GIP mean when  they  insisted that their work was to  heighten  intolerance, to embrace a seemingly illiberal  virtue and direct it toward  intolerable institutions? The GIP, on the first page of  their 1971 publication  Intolerable 1: An Inquiry  into 20 Prisons,  succinctly listed some of these: “the courts, the cops, the hospitals and asylums, school, military service, the press, the state, and above all the prisons.” But surely, this list is not enough. And surely, we must do more than simply  make such a  list. This is what we’ll be  thinking about.

The event is open to the public, so please come and join us.

new interview on Active Intolerance published

My dear friend and co-editor Perry Zurn and I did a lengthy interview with Eugene Wolters over at about our volume, Active Intolerance, earlier this month.

It is a pretty wide-ranging conversation, but focused primarily on a few chapters of the book, but also reflecting on what drove us to work on this book: our interests in prison and police abolition and doing something with Foucault that goes beyond the typical work that makes up most “Foucault studies” scholarship.

I think one of the key points comes near the end: thinking about what role folks like us (situated in academia and operating from various positions of structural privilege) have in the projects of prison abolition, Black liberation, and human freedom.

Specifically, I’m thinking about a line that I contributed, and in which I’m most invested, comes right at the end:

If prison abolition is really going to be the work of collective liberation, those of us in positions which enjoy and maintain the domination and marginalization of others are going to have lose those positions, actively work to undermine them, and build a world in which those positions simply no longer exist. To think, however, that such “losses” are going to be painful is to presume (wrongly, I think) that what far too many of us hold today is rightfully “ours” in the first place.

Interview with @HarshaWalia published with @AbolitionJ

Last year, I had the honor and great pleasure of talking with Harsha Walia about her amazing work and her book, Undoing Border Imperialism. An edited version of the conversation is now up online over at Abolition Journal’s website (and will be included in the forthcoming inaugural issue of the journal later this year).

So, have a read  at “Dismantle & Transform: On Abolition, Decolonization, & Insurgent Politics (A Conversation with Harsha Walia).

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My deepest thanks to Harsha for the talk  and to the folks at Abolition Journal for hosting.