Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Course notes for Monday, November 30

jschlosser's picture


We'll take a few minutes to check-in about the final event as well as to discuss what would best serve your final projects in the next few days. Remember that we do not have readings scheduled for next Monday (12/7).



As I described in my message over the weekend, I'd like to break into groups to present the four articles supplementing our readings of Olson & Davis as well as the Dean Spade & Reina Gossett conversations. As I wrote on Friday:

We'll start our class by having each group below meet to discuss briefly how they'd like to present the article to the class. Then each group will have the floor for a few minutes to explain the article and answer any questions. That way, we can all benefit from all the articles without having to read all four.

a) ABBY, HAN, RILEY, FARIDA: Morgan Bassichis, Alexander Lee, and Dean Spade, 2012, “Building an Abolitionist Trans and Queer Movement with Everything We’ve Got” in Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, Edinburgh: AK Press, pp. 15-40.

b) JOIE, JULIA, KIERES: Setsu Shigematsu, Gwen D’Arcangelis, and Melissa Burch, 2008, “Prison Abolition in Practice: The LEAD Project, The Politics of Healing, and ‘A New Way of Life’” in Abolition Now!: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex, Oakland, CA: AK Press, 137-143.

c) MEERA, MADISON, ROSA, SHIRAH: Russell Maroon Shoatz, 2011, “Democracy, Matriarchy, Occupy Wall Street, and Food Security” in Maroon the Implacable, pp. 218-226.

d) SULA, SYLVIA, TONG, RHETT: Che Gossett, Bo Brown, Reina Gossett, and Dylan Rodríguez, 2012, “Abolitionist Imaginings” in Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex, pp. 323-342.


After brief presentations, I'd like to spend about thirty minutes discussing these pieces take together, with a special focus on making connections with some of the themes from the other readings both for this class and previous classes. Here are a few of my ideas and questions still open:

1) What is abolitionism? What is its history (i.e. where does it come from)? What are its ethical practices (i.e. how does one live as an abolitionist at an everyday level)? What are its political visions (i.e. its connection to democracy especially)?

2) How does abolitionism connect with some of the previous social movements we've discussed: arts of freedom in Tocqueville; reconstruction in DuBois; Alexander's call for a new social movement; the Freedom Movement as carried forward by SNCC or volunteers in Freedom Summer or the Women's Liberation Movement; the organizers and activists of Black Lives Matter?

3) How does abolitionism speak to questions of citizenship and inclusion that we've been discussing? What is its vision of freedom?




We have three experimental essayists: Sylvia, Shirah, and Riley. I'd like to do one before the break and two afterwards. I'm looking forward to finishing strong!