Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Black Political Imprisonment, Here and Now!

There will be a critical symposium on the subject of Black Political Imprisonment
held on April 23rd, 2011 at the African and African Diaspora Studies Department in
the GRG building, 2nd floor at the University of Texas, Austin. The symposium will
serve as a gathering point for Black people to discuss the continued imprisonment of
Black radical activist, discuss key questions surrounding their imprisonment, and
develop practical steps toward freeing these leaders immediately.
To all Black people who are concerned about our conditions in America, your unique
perspectives on the struggle, trials and incarceration of Black political activists
in the US would make a significant contribution to a dialogue with activists and
scholars seeking to build on historical social justice endeavors.
Millions of Black people are ensnared (in prisons, jails, half-way houses, wearing
ankle bracelets, on parole) within the United States. Incarceration itself is
political and its constituent element, the truth though not the totality of
incarceration, is anti-Black racism and gendered violence. We also recognize that
debates abound among Black activists and scholars, inside and outside the Prison
Industrial Complex, about political prisoners and social prisoners, reformist and
radical responses to the prison industrial complex’s racial-sexual impetus.
This symposium recognizes that debate, and supports our focusing on that sector of
the Black incarcerated population imprisoned for its deliberate, organized,
opposition to state violence; and those politicized while incarcerated who become
activists. We hope to come to grips not only with the history and topics surrounding
mobilizations and insurrections dating from the 1970s but also to address forms of
violence that dictate new mobilizations for today. We hope to collectively develop a
constructive critique to animate the activism and scholarship around political
prisoners, something that we have not been able or willing to yet do in order to
address the plight of Black political prisoners and the levels of anti-black
We need to think the “unthought”; to move beyond the museum of political
imprisonment as we seek to better comprehend why Black political incarceration
remains so unchallenged, and what it means in terms of our relation to violence from
the state, from sexual-gendered oppression, and among ourselves.
The organizers of this symposium also invite the community to contribute on the
topic of “Black Political Imprisonment, Here and Now!” to the HTLC digital
They are interested in any relevant articles/essays, art, poetry, music, theoretical
and/or cultural contributions that you have authored and would permit to be posted
on the digital repository. The aim is to upload contributions before the April
23rdgathering in order to have better informed discussions and debates.
Mumia Abu Jamal, Assata Shakur, and Safiyah Bukhari, as well as hundreds and
thousands of others, have struggled for justice despite rejection and repression. In
Black traditions, repression and resistance appear on the same path. We gather to
discuss and debate our options.
Symposium Organizers
Joao Costa Vargas, Anthropology, UT Austin costavargas@mail.utexas.edu
Joy James, Humanities, Williams College jjames@williams.edu
Frank B. Wilderson III, African American Studies and Drama, UC Irvine

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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