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Beyond Prisons: Abolition Is Our Obligation feat. Dylan Rodríguez

Professor, author, and abolitionist scholar Dr. Dylan Rodríguez joins Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein on an episode of the Beyond Prisons podcast. 

This is the first part of a two part conversation. In Part 1, Dr. Rodríguez explains his belief that abolition is our obligation, touching on the development of anti-Black algorithms used to keep people in prison, what it means to be vulnerable in the context of doing this work and how vulnerability is the starting point for an abolitionist practice, and the profound impact that Robert Allen’s book Black Awakening in Capitalist America had on shaping Dylan’s own thinking. 

We also talk about how academia declares institutional solidarity with white supremacy, and how some academics are the planners and architects of domestic war. Dr. Rodríguez reminds us that terror is not a thing that you can fix with training and he shares some of the conditions he places on conversations about prison reform. 

Dylan Rodríguez is President of the American Studies Association (2020-2021). He served as the faculty-elected Chair of the UC Riverside Academic Senate (2016-2020) and a Professor at the University of California, Riverside. He spent the first sixteen years of his career in the Department of Ethnic Studies (serving as Chair from 2009-2016) and joined the Department of 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.  His work raises the question of how insurgent communities of people inhabit oppressive regimes and logics in ways that enable the 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 practice—transformations of power and community?  

In addition to co-editing the field-shaping anthology Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2016), Dylan is the author of two books: 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). His next book, White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logic of Racial Genocide, is forthcoming from Fordham University Press in Fall 2020 and will be followed in 2021 by White Reconstruction II

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Beyond Prisons

Beyond Prisons

Beyond Prisons is a podcast on incarceration and prison abolition that elevates people directly impacted by the system. Hosted by Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein.