Book Salon with Stephen Dillon on Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State

Wednesday, February 13 2019, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM [EST]

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Event Information

Wednesday, February 13 2019, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM [EST]

About the Event

Join us for a discussion of Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State (Duke University Press) by Stephen Dillon (Assistant Professor of Critical Race and Queer Studies, Hampshire College).

During the 1970s in the United States, hundreds of feminist, queer, and antiracist activists were imprisoned or became fugitives as they fought the changing contours of U.S. imperialism, global capitalism, and a repressive racial state. In Fugitive Life, Stephen Dillon examines these activists' communiqués, films, memoirs, prison writing, and poetry to highlight the centrality of gender and sexuality to a mode of racialized power called the neoliberal-carceral state. Drawing on writings by Angela Davis, the George Jackson Brigade, Assata Shakur, the Weather Underground, and others, Dillon shows how these activists were among the first to theorize and make visible the links between conservative "law and order" rhetoric, free market ideology, incarceration, sexism, and the continued legacies of slavery. Dillon theorizes these prisoners and fugitives as queer figures who occupied a unique position from which to highlight how neoliberalism depended upon racialized mass incarceration. In so doing, he articulates a vision of fugitive freedom in which the work of these activists becomes foundational to undoing the reign of the neoliberal-carceral state.

Discussants: Cameron Awkward-Rich (Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, UMass Amherst), Jen Manion (Associate Professor of History, Amherst College) and Britt Rusert (Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies, UMass Amherst)

About the Organizer

The Five College Women's Studies Research Center initiates and supports collaborative projects dedicated to engaged, critical feminist scholarship from diverse perspectives. With an emphasis on emerging fields in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies in all disciplines, the Center also provides a forum in which faculty and graduate students in the Five Colleges, visiting scholars at all ranks from around the world, and partner organizations can present their work.

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