Annual Daphne Harrison Lecture
Making Abolition Geographies: Social Justice Organizing for Vulnerable Households, Workers, and Communities
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, the Graduate Center, City University of New York
The talk explores how visions of abolition guide and connect organizing across a range of social justice struggles. The examples highlight environmental justice, public sector labor unions, farm workers, undocumented households, criminalized youth, and community-based approaches to prevent and resolve gender and interpersonal violence. The vivid stories presented show that abolition is a practical program for urgent change based in the needs, talents, and dreams of vulnerable people.
Speaker bio: Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences and Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center. A co-founder of many grassroots organizations, including California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network, Gilmore works on racial capitalism, organized violence, organized abandonment, and abolition as a green, red, and internationalist project of liberation. She is the author of the prize-winning Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California, as well as many other publications. The documentary Racial Capitalism with Ruth Wilson Gilmore features her internationalist political work. Her books Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and The Case for Abolition and Abolition Geography are forthcoming in 2021. Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. Her honors include the American Studies Association Angela Y. Davis Award for Public Scholarship (2012); the Association of American Geographers Harold Rose Award for Anti-Racist Research and Practice (2014); the SUNY-Purchase College Eugene V. Grant Distinguished Scholar Prize for Social and Environmental Justice (2015-16); the American Studies Association Richard A. Yarborough Mentorship Award (2017); The Association of American Geographers Lifetime Achievement Award (2020); and the Lannan Foundation Lifetime Cultural Freedom Award (2020).
Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery; the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems; the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Public Health; and the Department of Political Science.
Photo by Don Usner.
[Image description: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, gray-haired Black woman, is wearing a black top and glasses smiles towards the camera.]