Against the Counterinsurgency Machine
Defying some recent academic, philanthropic, nonprofit, and state-crafting expropriations and rebranding of “abolition” as funding stream, career path, and voluntaristic public-facing identity, to take the creative-destructive imperative of abolition seriously may mean losing and/or severing organizational, epistemic, and ideological attachments to the guarantees of (certain kinds of) sociality and order that are inscribed on both institutions and “our” own varied attachments to institutionality (from state and sexuality to citizenship and subjectivity). Lingering in the abolition imperative, there is a persistent and endless collectively reimagined objective, that is, a mirage or collective dream of something on the other side of tyranny and terror, a something that slips and escapes definitive description even as it must actively be saturated with insurgent people’s audacious, wild, autonomous imaginations.
This event is part of the Interseminars series for "Improvise and Intervene," supported by the Mellon Foundation.
About the Speaker
Dylan Rodríguez is a teacher, scholar, organizer and collaborator who has maintained a day job as a Professor at the University of California-Riverside since 2001. He is a faculty member in the recently created Department of Black Study as well as the Department of Media and Cultural Studies. Dylan served as Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies from 2009-2016, Chair of the UCR Academic Senate from 2016-2020, and has worked as the Co-Director of the UCR Center for Ideas and Society since 2021. Dylan was elected President of the American Studies Association by his peers in 2020, the same year in which he was named to the inaugural class of Freedom Scholars.
Dylan’s lifework focuses on liberationist, anticolonial, and abolitionist confrontations with the antiblack, colonial, and white supremacist violences that permeate the ongoing Civilization project. He is devoted to studying and teaching the historical, collective genius of rebellion, survival, and insurgent futurity that radically challenge dominant forms of authority, power, and institutionality.
Since the late-1990s, Dylan has participated as a founding member of organizations like Critical Resistance, Abolition Collective, Critical Ethnic Studies Association, Cops Off Campus, Scholars for Social Justice, and the UCR Department of Black Study, among others. He has worked closely with Southern California Library, Critical Resistance Abolitionist Educators, Strike MoMA, Underground Scholars Initiative, Dissenters, and numerous other organizations and collectives. He is the author of three books, Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime (University of Minnesota Press, 2006), Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), and most recently White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logic of Racial Genocide (Fordham University Press, 2021) which won the 2022 Frantz Fanon Book Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. He is a co-editor of the field shaping text Critical Ethnic Studies: A Reader (Duke University Press, 2016).
Dylan has written for a wide variety of scholarly and popular venues, including Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Harvard Law Review, American Quarterly, Social Text, and Radical History Review. He has appeared in dozens of podcasts, live interviews, experimental media projects, and livestreams including Huffington Post Live, The Real News, “Beyond Prisons,” “iMixWhatiLike,” “This Is Revolution,” “In the Black Podcast,” “Millennials Are Killing Capitalism,” and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, among others.