Abolition Geography

Essays Towards Liberation

hardcover, 512 pages

Published June 7, 2021 by Verso.


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New collection of writings from one of the foremost contemporary critical thinkers on racism, geography and incarceration

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 …

1 edition

An extremely useful introduction

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I was familiar with Ruth Wilson Gilmore but primarily because I've seen her cited by others. This book laid out some core concepts for me when it comes to her work on abolition (anti-state state was one of these).

I also appreciated that many of the essays here both describe and enact activist scholarship, describing her work with organizations and other scholars.

There's a lot here, and it spans many years of an incredible career.