8 December 2020

Imagination and the Carceral State

Joshua Bennett

We’re trying to understand the relationship between abolition and exodus.
—Fred Moten

This portfolio of essays is an occasion to celebrate the fugitive practices of those forced to live in flight from the ever-expanding reach of the carceral state and its extractive everyday protocols. The four texts vary in tenor and form, but all share this emphasis on the irreducible beauty of stolen life, this sociality that persists under unthinkable duress. Our central objects of concern vary widely. The work you will find here explores graveyards, prison education, defunct but exemplary revolutionary art schools, and the search for a political grammar of Black freedom. We have gathered here in the name of an age-old pursuit: the elaboration of our most radical dreams, and a larger commitment to honoring moments of persistence, of meditative tenacity, that might otherwise fall outside of our vision. What forms of conviviality, evasion, recalcitrance, and play have the incarcerated, the undocumented, and the unsung cultivated in order to survive? And how might we more thoughtfully study these practices in the present? In the name of such collective envisioning, we assemble under the banner of imagination, dedicated to the revelation of another world.

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