by Ruth Wilson Gilmore
Gathering together Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s work from over three decades, Abolition Geography presents her singular contribution to the politics of abolition as theorist, researcher, and organizer, offering scholars and activists ways of seeing and doing to help navigate our turbulent present.
Abolition Geography moves us away from explanations of mass incarceration and racist violence focused on uninterrupted histories of prejudice or the dull compulsion of neoliberal economics. Instead, Gilmore offers a geographical grasp of how contemporary racial capitalism operates through an “anti-state state” that answers crises with the organized abandonment of people and environments deemed surplus to requirement. Gilmore escapes one-dimensional conceptions of what liberation demands, who demands liberation, or what indeed is to be abolished. Drawing on the lessons of grassroots organizing and internationalist imaginaries, Abolition Geography undoes the identification of abolition with mere decarceration, and reminds us that freedom is not a mere principle but a place.
Edited with an introduction by Brenna Bhandar and Alberto Toscano.
“This well-crafted assemblage of thirty years worth of Ruthie Gilmore’s countless, brilliant interventions is a tremendous gift to our movements. While tending to grounded practices and particularities, Ruthie’s meticulous mapping of interconnected histories offers us prescient analyses across scale, geography, and time. At a time of incredible uncertainty and global upheaval, Abolition Geography illuminates a political vocabulary and vision that reorganizes even conventional left ideologies; a tour de force and absolute must read for our collective trajectories of freedom making as world making.” – Harsha Walia, author of Border and Rule and Undoing Border Imperialism
“Abolition geography isn’t shallow romanticism. It is a rigorous criticism of capitalist social relations, which foment premature death and needless suffering of the poor and destroy the planet. Abolition geography is a human necessity for there to be freedom and a livable earth. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, one of the foremost revolutionary thinkers on abolition, draws on real historical traditions of getting free, showing us what is possible and necessary.” – Nick Estes, author of Our History Is the Future
“Ruth Wilson Gilmore is one of the most impactful radical thinkers of our time. This compilation of thirty years’ worth of essays, interviews, and co-written reflections, is evidence of the depth and breadth of her extraordinary political praxis. Powerful, provocative, inspiring and inciting, this edited collection offers a formidable indictment of racial capitalism and the carceral state, a deep, complex and multi-faceted portrait of abolitionist work, and a call to action. Readers concerned with freedom-making and liberation will read this brilliant body of work carefully and act decisively.” – Barbara Ransby, activist, historian and author of several books, including Making All Black Lives Matter and Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement
About the Author:
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and American Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she is also Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. She is the author of Golden Gulag and Opposition in Globalizing California.