“Strategies for an Abolitionist Future” brings together the scholar-activists Dennis Childs, Juliet Hooker, Dylan Rodriguez and Dean Spade for a roundtable conversation about Black Lives Matter, abolitionism, neoliberal capitalism, and the varied scales of activism, ranging from mutual aid and protest to nonprofit work and more institutionally-bound modes of engagement.
Moderated by David Luis-Brown.
Image caption: Thinh Nguyen, “Revolutionary Relic,” 2020, Repurposed pitchfork, skeletal spine, 57 x 7 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. © Thinh Nguyen. CGU MFA.
Associate Professor at Seattle University
Professor of Political Science at Brown University
Associate Professor of African American Literature and an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego
Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at University of California, Riverside
Dean Spade has been working to build queer and trans liberation based in racial and economic justice for the past two decades. He works as an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law. Dean’s book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law was published by South End Press in 2011. A second edition with new writing was published in 2015 by Duke University Press. Bella Terra Press published a Spanish edition in 2016. In 2015, Dean released a one-hour video documentary, Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!, which can be watched free online with English captions or subtitles in several languages.
Juliet Hooker is Professor of Political Science at Brown University. She is a political theorist specializing in racial justice, Latin American political thought, and Black political thought. Her publications include: Race and the Politics of Solidarity (Oxford, 2009) and Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos (Oxford, 2017), which was a recipient of the American Political Science Association’s 2018 Ralph Bunche Book Award for the best work in ethnic and cultural pluralism and the 2018 Best Book Award of the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. She is currently working on a book project entitled, Black Grief/White Grievance, that explores the role of loss in contemporary racial politics in the United States. Prof. Hooker served as co-Chair of the American Political Science Association’s Presidential Task Force on Racial and Social Class Inequalities in the Americas (2014-2015), and as Associate Director of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin (2009-2014). She has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the DuBois Institute for African American Research at Harvard, and the Advanced Research Collaborative at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Dennis Childs is Associate Professor of African American Literature and an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration from the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary, a work that deals with the connections between slavery and Black imprisonment from the late nineteenth century through today’s era of racist incarceration. As a scholar-activist, he has worked with various social justice organizations including the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, All of Us or None, the Chicano Mexicano Prison Project, and Critical Resistance for which he serves on its National Community Advisory Board. In 2015, he was a member of the first ever prisoner solidarity delegation from the US to Palestine. He currently serves as faculty advisor for Students Against Mass Incarceration at UCSD — a student run prison abolitionist organization. He is currently completing a new book, Liberation Time: Prison Industrial Genocide and the Modern Abolition Movement, that considers the degree to which racial capitalist prison slavery and policing amount to a system of anti-Black genocide.
Dylan Rodríguez is Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies. He was named to the inaugural class of Freedom Scholars in 2020 and is President of the American Studies Association (2020-2021). He recently served as the faculty-elected Chair of the UCR Division of the Academic Senate (2016-2020) and as Chair of Ethnic Studies (2009-2016). After completing his Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley in 2001, Dylan spent his first sixteen years at UCR in Ethnic Studies before joining Media and Cultural Studies in 2017.
Dylan’s thinking, writing, teaching, and scholarly activist labors address the complexity and normalized proliferation of historical regimes and logics of anti-Black and racial-colonial violence in everyday state, cultural, and social formations. He conceptualizes abolitionist and other forms of movement as part of the historical, collective genius of rebellion, survival, abolition, and radical futurity. What forms of shared creativity emerge from conditions of duress, and how do these insurgencies envision—and enact—transformations of power and community?
Dylan is the author of three books, White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logic of Racial Genocide (Fordham University Press, 2021), Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime (University of Minnesota Press, 2006) and Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition (University of Minnesota Press, 2009). He was co-editor of the field-shaping anthology Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2016) and has written in a wide cross-section of scholarly and popular venues, including Social Text, Black Agenda Report, Harvard Law Review, American Quarterly, Radical History Review, Colorlines, The Abolitionist, and Scholar & Feminist Online. He has served as an editor or editorial board member for numerous journals and presses, including the University of California Press, American Quarterly, Journal of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association, and the recently founded Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics.
Dylan is a founding member of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association and Critical Resistance, a national carceral abolitionist organization. He is part of the Abolition Collective and Scholars for Social Justice, and continuously works in and alongside various radical social movements and activist collectives. He has appeared in a variety of broadcast media venues, including programs hosted by Huffington Post Live, The Real News Network, and radio stations in Los Angeles, New York City, the the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area, Montreal, and Santa Barbara.