Fugitive Life: The Queer Politics of the Prison State

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by Stephen Dillon

Duke University Press

6/1/2018, paperback

SKU: 9780822370826

 

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.

Reviews:

"In this beautifully written work, Stephen Dillon brings together a variety of threads from the literatures on prisons, feminisms, and queer studies to make novel arguments about fugitivity, neoliberalism, and carcerality. His engagement with poetry, accounts of underground activists, and the other highly charismatic materials he works with will be gripping for students as they read through this compelling entry point into the book's topics. Fugitive Life is a wonderful contribution."--Dean Spade, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law

About the Author:

Stephen Dillon is Assistant Professor of Critical Race and Queer Studies in the School of Critical Social Inquiry at Hampshire College.