Artaud’s Metamorphosis: From Hieroglyphs to Bodies without Organs

A great new book from Pavement Books:

by Jay Murphy

£18.99 (inc. postage)
ISBN: 978-0-9571470-9-6

Despite being one of the most influential artists and writers of the mid-20th Century, Antonin Artaud’s voice remains inadequately deciphered. Artaud’s Metamorphosis is the first book on the transformation from his ‘early’ to ‘late’ work, and it shows how the ‘final’ Artaud leads straight into our digital present. This Artaud will alter how you think of media, the virtual, the political, and thought itself.

‘Only after reading Jay Murphy’s beautifully crafted, thought-provoking, scholarly yet light fingered, account did I become aware of the crucial role the benighted Artaud plays in capitalism-and-schizophrenia. Murphy is a most wonderful guide to the madness that is our voyage through reality as a body without organs.’
Michael Taussig, Columbia University

‘Jay Murphy’s book excels as a forensic investigation of the continuing explosion that was Artaud. It collects the traces left by his devastating passage through poetry, art, politics, philosophy, film and theatre and shows how Artaud’s “war unto eternity” pushed him beyonds the limits of the hieroglyph towards the “body without organs”. Lucid without compromising the darkness of Artaud’s suffering, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the madness of the 20th and 21st centuries.’
Howard Caygill, Kingston University

‘There is in Artaud a high velocity veering composed of lucidity and imaginative derangement. To figure out what he is really about is an extraordinary challenge. The most important aspect of Murphy’s contribution is his awareness that Artaud’s bizarre images and propositions carry visionary components relative to virtuality and digitality and may also address new relations of time, space, body and awareness. Such work indicates sophistication in reading Artaud that is far from the American 1960s attitude toward him.’
Clayton Eshleman, Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Metabolism and Immortality


The matter of theory: updating ‘cosmos=chaos’

Artaud’s difference: sense and signification

Artaud’s glossolalia: a user’s guide

The yoga of the scream

The ‘figural’ and the language of the body

The revelation of how the ‘hieroglyph’ works in Artaud’s film scenarios

The persistence of myth: Artaud the mystic without mysticism, the shaman without community


Artaud on ancient Mayan hieroglyphs: the ‘Space where Life dies’

Explaining ‘occult geometry’: Artaud’s art criticism

The visit to the Tarahumaras

Interpreting the Tarahumara rites

‘Stopping the world’: Artaud’s double, triple worlds

Touching the outside


Maps of the ‘unconscious’

Putting ‘time back on track’

The body is the operator

The conflict of the faculties

The case of Artaud’s ‘Tutuguri’ (1948)

The space of Artaud’s apocalypse


Casting spells

Artaud’s apocalypse as initiation, or ‘complete voyage’

The world of sorcery as ‘permanent liminality’

Artaud and Jesus Christ

The cross and the crossroads, redux

The ‘universal’ cross: enter Guénon

Artaud’s The New Revelations of Being (1937)

The cross as a test of rhythm


Artaud’s becoming versus being

The fulcrum of the Cross: Artaud’s ‘Gnostic’ delirium

Artaud begins his re-formation: the cross and the sexuality of the ‘true body’

The ‘search for fecality’ in the creation of the new body

The cross is the pivot in this creation of the ‘true body’

The full ‘body without organs’ emerges

Artaud’s  ‘cure’


The spherical body

Artaud’s 1947-8 notebooks: the combustion of hieroglyphics

The opening to animism: the ‘body without organs’ as mythic autoreference

Artaud on Van Gogh: the totem and the implosion of the
hieroglyphic figure

Derrida’s Artaud: the vicissitudes of the ‘subjectile’

Artaud’s ‘graphic cruelties’: the face of the void

The voice at the end of the world: the final sound works


Artaud’s subversion of hieroglyphics

Artaud in the 21st century: the ‘present body’

 order here:

Prison Abolition Syllabus

(This very impressive reading list from the USA compounds).
((Such scholarship needs to be replicated for other places. And start with the prison support stuff))

African American Intellectual History Society
Header Right







Prison Abolition Syllabus

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images.
American prison. Source: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images.
On September 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, prisoners from at least twenty-one states began striking against what they called “modern-day slavery.” The strike stands as one of the largest in U.S. history (figures are difficult to verify and the California prison hunger strike in 2013 involved at least 30,000 people) and several prisoners have lost their lives in this struggle. Prison strikers’ language is not hyperbolic. As Ava DuVernay’s new documentary on the 13th Amendment highlights, the very amendment that abolished slavery and guaranteed the legal emancipation of nearly four million enslaved people also carved out space for the continuation of slavery “as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

In 2015, President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a U.S. prison. Since then, he banned the use of solitary confinement in federal juvenile prisons and the Bureau of Prisons recommended ending its contracts with private prisons. Obama has also commuted the sentences of hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders. Yet these changes only affect a small number of people housed in the federal prison system, which itself accounts for less than 10% of the total incarcerated population in the U.S. And while the war on drugs has ruined countless lives, most people in prison are not incarcerated for drug offenses. So Obama’s commutations do not address the main reasons people have been incarcerated; further, commutations shorten their sentence while leaving intact a host of restrictions—including disenfranchisement—faced by people with felony convictions. In a recent presidential election decided by fewer than one million votes, there were over six million voters disenfranchised for felony convictions.

Other aspects of the mass incarceration are not withering so much as transforming. Private prison corporations, which have been visible but small players in the system of mass incarceration, have already moved toward immigration detention, reentry, and electronic monitoring as new sources of carceral revenue. Within hours of the election of Donald Trump, stocks of Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group skyrocketed, signaling another ratcheting up of private prisons and their relationship with the federal government. The excitement for bipartisan prison reform inside the beltway has dissipated amidst a modest reform agenda whose biggest focus has been on reducing government spending rather than ameliorating human suffering. These neoliberal cost-benefit analyses have placed more burdens on the backs of prisoners and their loved ones while leaving untouched the basic outlines of mass incarceration. The failures of contemporary prison reform serve as a reminder of the massive human and environmental costs of prisons.

The current prison strike’s struggle to achieve visibility (organizers have alleged a “mainstream-media blackout”) has been a central obstacle since the origins of prison organizing. In light of the dangerous implications of neoliberal prison reform and the marginalization of the current prison strike from the public political sphere, the Prison Abolition Syllabus (modeled after #FergusonSyllabus, #Charlestonsyllabus, #WelfareReformSyllabus and Trump Syllabus 2.0) seeks to contextualize and highlight prison organizing and prison abolitionist efforts from the 13th Amendment’s rearticulation of slavery to current resistance to mass incarceration, solitary confinement, and prison labor exploitation.

Week 1. Theories and Origins of Punishment

Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishments (Cambridge University Press, 1995).
Jeremy Bentham, The Panopticon and Other Prison Writings (Verso, 1995).
Simone Browne, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (Duke University Press, 2015).
Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (Seven Stories Press, 2003).
Colin Dayan, The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons (Princeton University Press, 2011).
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Pantheon, 1977).
Paul Knepper and Anja Johansen, eds., The Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Glenn Loury, et al., Race, Incarceration, and American Values (MIT Press, 2008).
Manning Marable, “Black Prisons and Punishment in a Racist/Capitalist State,” in How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society (Haymarket Books, 2015; 1st edition 1983), 94–115.
Norval Morris and David Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison (Oxford University Press, 1995).
Caleb Smith, The Prison and the American Imagination (Yale University Press, 2011).
Week 2. Race, Sex, Labor, and Prisons in the Early Republic

Estelle Freedman, Their Sisters’ Keepers: Women’s Prison Reform in America, 1830-1930 (University of Michigan Press, 1981).
Adam Jay Hirsch, The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishment in Early America (Yale University Press, 1992).
Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (University of Chicago Press, 2008).
Michele Lise Tarter and Richard Bell, eds., Buried Lives: Incarcerated in Early America (University of Georgia Press, 2012).
Jen Manion, Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).
Rebecca McLennan, The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the Making of the American Penal State, 1776-1941 (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Dario Melossi and Massimo Pavarini, The Prison and the Factory: Origins of the Penitentiary System (Barnes and Noble Books, 1981).
Michael Meranze, Laboratories of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution, and Authority in Philadelphia, 1760-1835 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Jen Manion, “Liberty’s Prisoner’s: Prisons and Prison Life in Early America,” podcast audio, Ben Franklin’s World.
Eastern State Penitentiary, directed by Christine Bowditch (Forged Images Production Cooperative, 1998).
Week 3. Convict Leasing, the Chain Gang, and Contesting the Southern Prison Regime

Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (Doubleday, 2008).
Mary Ellen Curtin, Black Prisoners and their World, Alabama, 1865-1900 (University Press of Virginia, 2000).
Talitha LeFlouria, Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
Talitha LeFlouria, “‘Under The Sting Of The Lash’: Gendered Violence, Terror, and Resistance in the South’s Convict Camps,” The Journal of African American History 100.3 (Summer 2015), 366–84.
Alex Lichtenstein, Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South (Verso, 1996).
Timothy Gilfoyle, “‘America’s Greatest Criminal Barracks’: The Tombs and the Experience of Criminal Justice in New York City, 1838-1897,” Journal of Urban History 29.5 (July 2003), 525–54.
Sarah Haley, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).
LaShawn D. Harris, “The ‘Commonwealth of Virginia vs. Virginia Christian’: Southern Black Women, Crime & Punishment in the Progressive Era,” The Journal of Social History 47.4 (Summer 2014), 922–42.
Matthew Mancini, One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928 (University of South Carolina Press, 1996).
David Oshinsky, Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (Free Press, 1996).
Geoff K. Ward, The Black Child-Savers: Racial Democracy and Juvenile Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Library of Congress, “Convict Lease System.”
Ida B. Wells, “The Convict Lease System,” 1893.
“Slavery by Another Name,” website.
Slavery by Another Name, directed by Sam Pollard (PBS, 2012).
13th, directed by Ava DuVernay (Kandoo Films, 2016).
Week 4. Punishment in the New Metropolis

Jeffrey Adler, “Less Crime, More Punishment: Violence, Race, and Criminal Justice in Early Twentieth-Century America,” The Journal of American History 102.1 (2015), 34–46.
Miroslava Chávez-García, States of Delinquency: Race and Science in the Making of California’s Juvenile Justice System (University of California Press, 2012).
W.E.B. Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study (University of Philadelphia, 1899).
Shaun L. Gabbidon, W.E.B. Du Bois on Crime and Justice: Laying the Foundations of Sociological Criminology (Ashgate Publishing, 2007).
Kali Nicole Gross, “African American Women, Mass Incarceration, and the Politics of Protection,” The Journal of American History 102.1 (2015), 25–33.
Kali Nicole Gross, Colored Amazons: Crime, Violence, and Black Women in the City of Brotherly Love, 1880-1910 (Duke University Press, 2006).
Kali Nicole Gross, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Kali Nicole Gross and Cheryl D. Hicks, “Introduction—Gendering the Carceral State: African American Women, History, and the Criminal Justice System,” The Journal of African American History 100.3 (Summer 2015), 357–66.
Kelly Lytle Hernández, “Hobos in Heaven: Race, Incarceration, and the Rise of Los Angeles, 1880–1910,” Pacific Historical Review 83.3 (2014), 410–47.
Cheryl D. Hicks, Talk With You Like a Woman: African American Women, Justice, and Reform in New York, 1890-1935 (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
Cheryl D. Hicks, “‘In Danger of Becoming Morally Depraved’: Single Black Women, Working-Class Black Families, and New York State’s Wayward Minor Laws, 1917-1928,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 151.6 (June 2003), 2,077–121.
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (Harvard University Press, 2010).
Sowande’ Mustakeem, “‘Armed With A Knife In Her Bosom’: Gender, Violence, And The Carceral Consequences Of Rage In The 19th Century,” The Journal of African American History 100.3 (Summer 2015), 385–405.
Cookie Woolner, “‘Woman Slain In Queer Love Brawl’: African American Women, Same-Sex, Desire, And Violence In The Urban North,” The Journal of African American History 100.3 (Summer 2015), 406–27.
Week 5. Anti-Lynching and Prisoner Defense Campaigns

James Acker, Scottsboro and its Legacy: The Cases That Challenged American Legal and Social Justice (Praeger, 2007).
Mia Bay, To Tell the Truth Freely: The Life of Ida B. Wells (Hill and Wang, 2010).
Dan T. Carter, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South (Louisiana State University Press, 1979).
Andrew Cornell, Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Twentieth Century (University of California Press, 2016).
Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World (University of Illinois, 2013).
Megan Ming Francis, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
Christina Heatherton, “University of Radicalism: Ricardo Flores Magon and Leavenworth Penitentiary,” American Quarterly 66.3 (September 2014), 557–81.
Rebecca N. Hill, Men, Mobs, and Law: Antilynching and Labor Defense in U.S. Radical History (Duke University, 2007).
James W. Messerschmidt, “‘We Must Protect Our Southern Women’: On Whiteness, Masculinities, and Lynching,” in Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror, Mary Bosworth and Jeanne Flavin, eds. (Rutgers University Press, 2007), 77–94.
James Miller, Remembering Scottsboro: The Legacy of an Infamous Trial (Princeton University Press, 2009).
James Miller, Susan D. Pennybacker, and Eve Rosenhaft, “Mother Ada Wright and the International Campaign to Free the Scottsboro Boys, 1931-1934,” American Historical Review, 106.2 (2001), 387–430.
Kenyon Zimmer, “Positively Stateless: Marcus Graham, the Ferrereo-Sallitto Case, and the Anarchist Challenges to Race and Deportation,” in The Rising Tide of Color, Moon-Ho Jung, ed. (University of Washington, 2014), 128–58.
Primary Sources and Multimedia

The Scottsboro Boys: An American Tragedy, directed by Barak Goodman and Daniel Anker (PBS, 2000).
Andy Wright, “Letter to the Editors: Plea from a Scottsboro Boy,” July 24, 1937.
Scottsboro Boys, Appeal from Death Cells, May 1932.
Scottsboro Protest Exhibit, Modern American Poetry, University of Illinois.
“The Scottsboro Boys” Trials, 1931-1937, website.
Ida B. Wells, “Lynch Law in America,” 1900.
Ida B. Wells, “This Awful Slaughter,” 1909.
“The Long List: Compiling A Lynching Database,” website.
Week 6. Liberal Punishment and Its Discontents

Ethan Blue, Doing Time in the Depression: Everyday Life in Texas and California Prisons (New York University, 2012).
Kathleen Cairns, Hard Time at Tehachapi: California’s First Women’s Prison (University of New Mexico Press, 2009).
Mary Ellen Curtin, “‘Please Hear Our Cries’: The Hidden History of Black Prisoners in America,” in The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration, Deborah McDowell, Claudrena Harold, and Juan Battle, eds. (University of Virginia Press, 2013), 29–44.
Edward J. Escobar, “The Unintended Consequences of the Carceral State: Chicana/o Political Mobilization in Post-World War II America,” Journal of American History 102.1 (2015), 174–84.
Marie Gottschalk, The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America (Cambridge University Press, 2006).
Kelly Lytle Hernández, MIGRA! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press, 2010).
Volker Janssen, “When the ‘Jungle’ Met the Forest: Public Work, Civil Defense, and Prison Camps in Postwar California,” The Journal of American History 9. 3 (2009), 702–26.
Naomi Murakawa, First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Mira Shimabukuro, Relocating Authority: Japanese Americans Writing to Redress Mass Incarceration (University of Colorado Press, 2015).
Heather Ann Thompson, “Rethinking Working Class Struggle through the Lens of the Carceral State: Toward a Labor History Inmates and Guards,” LABOR: Studies in the Working Class History of the Americas 8.3 (2011), 15–45.
Primary Sources and Multimedia

The Suyama Project, Digital Archive of Japanese American Resistance to Incarceration.
Week 7. The Civil Rights Movement, Prisoners, and Legal Reform

Robert Chase, “We Are Not Slaves: Rethinking the Rise of Carceral States through the Lens of the Prisoners’ Rights Movement,” The Journal of American History 102.1 (2015), 73–86.
Zoe Colley, Ain’t Scared of Your Jail: Arrest, Imprisonment, and the Civil Rights Movement (University of Florida, 2013).
Malachi Crawford, Black Muslims and the Law: Civil Liberties from Elijah Muhammad to Muhammad Ali (Lexington Books, 2015).
Eric Cummins, The Rise and Fall of California’s Radical Prison Movement (Stanford University Press, 1994).
Malcolm M. Feeley and Edwin L. Rubin, Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America’s Prisons (Cambridge University Press, 1998).
James Jacobs, Stateville: The Penitentiary in Mass Society (University of Chicago Press, 1977).
Toussaint Losier, “‘. . . For Strictly Religious Reasons,’ Cooper v. Pate and the Origins of the Prisoners’ Rights Movement,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, 15, 1-2 (2013), 19–38.
Malcolm X and Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Random House, 1965).
Donna Murch, Living For the City: Migration, Education, and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Robert Moses, “Letter from a Mississippi Jail,” 1961.
Martin Luther King, “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963.
Arrest records of Rosa Parks, National Archives.
“‘Jail, No Bail,’ A Strategy of Civil Disobedience.”
“Ain’t Scared of Your Jails, 1960-1961,” Eyes on the Prize, Blackside, Inc (Films Media Group, 2014).
Week 8. The Prison Rebellion Years

Mumia Abu-Jamal, Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A. (City Lights Books, 2009).
Bettina Aptheker, The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (International Publishers, 1975).
Bettina Aptheker and Angela Davis, eds., If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (Third Press, 1971).
Ronald Berkman, Opening the Gates: The Rise of the Prisoners’ Movement (Lexington Books, 1979).
Dan Berger, Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2014).
Lee Bernstein, America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
Jamie Bissonette, When the Prisoners Ran Walpole: A True Story in the Movement for Prison Abolition (South End Press, 2008)
Daniel Burton-Rose, Guerrilla USA: The George Jackson Brigade and the Anticapitalist Underground of the 1970s (University of California Press, 2010).
Jordan Camp, Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State (University of California Press, 2016).
Daniel S. Chard, “Rallying for Repression: Police Terror, ‘Law-and-Order’ Politics, and the Decline of Maine’s Prisoner Rights Movement,” The Sixties 5: 1 (2012), 47–73.
Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice (McGraw-Hill, 1968).
Alan Eladio Gómez, “Feminism, Torture, and the Politics of Chicana/Third World Solidarity: An Interview with Olga Talamante,” Radical History Review 101 (2008), 160–78.
Alan Eladio Gómez, “Resisting Living Death at Marion Federal Penitentiary, 1972,” Radical History Review 96 (Fall 2006), 58–86.
Diane Hope and Warren Schaich, eds., “The Prison Letters of Martin Sostre: Documents of Resistance,” The Journal of Black Studies 7.3 (1977), 281–300.
George Jackson, Soledad Brother: The Prison Writings of George Jackson (Coward-McCann, 1970).
James Jacobs, “The Prisoners’ Rights Movement and Its Impacts, 1960-1980,” Crime and Justice 2 (1980), 429–70.
Tony Platt and Paul Takagi, eds., Punishment and Penal Discipline (Social Justice, 1980).
Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography (L. Hill, 1987).
Donald Tibbs, From Black Power to Prison Power: The Making of Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union (Palgrave, 2012).
Heather Ann Thompson, Blood is in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy (Pantheon, 2016).
Erik Olin Wright, The Politics of Punishment: A Critical Analysis of Prisons in America (Harper Colophon, 1973).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Frame-up! The Imprisonment of Martin Sostre, directed by Joel Sucher, Steven Fischler, and Howard Blatt (Pacific Street Films, 1974).
Freedom Archives, Prisons on Fire: George Jackson, Attica, and Black Liberation, audio documentary (Freedom Archives, 2001).
“The Attica Liberation Faction Manifesto of Demands,” 1971.
Week 9. Anticarceral Feminism

Joanne Belknap, The Invisible Woman: Gender, Crime, and Justice (Watsworth, 1996).
Christina Greene, “‘She Ain’t No Rosa Parks’: The Joan Little-Murder Case And Jim Crow Justice In The Post-Civil Rights South,” The Journal of African American History, 100.3 (Summer 2015), 428–47.
Jacklyn Huey and Michael Lynch, “The Image of Black Women in Criminology: Historical Stereotypes as Theoretical Foundation,” in Race, Crime, and Justice: A Reader, Shaun Gabbidon and Helen Taylor Greene, eds. (Routledge, 2005), 127–40.
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, ed., The Color of Violence: The Incite! Anthology (South End Press, 2006).
Joy James, ed., The Angela Y. Davis Reader (Blackwell, 1998).
Vikki Law, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press, 2009).
Toya Like and Jody Miller, “Race, Inequality, and Gender Violence,” in The Many Colors of Crime: Inequalities of Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America, Ruth Peterson, Lauren Krivo, John Hagan, eds. (New York University Press, 2006), 157–76.
Danielle McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance – A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (Alfred Knopf, 2010).
Genna Rae McNeil, “The Body, Sexuality, and Self-Defense in State vs. Joan Little, 1974-1975,” The Journal of African American History 93.2 (2008), 235–61.
Beth Richie, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation (NYU Press, 2012).
Emily Thuma, “Lessons in Self-Defense: Gender Violence, Racial Criminalization, and Anticarceral Feminism,” Women’s Studies Quarterly 43, 3-4 (2015), 52–71.
Emily Thuma, “Against the Prison/Psychiatric State: Anti-violence Feminisms and the Politics of Confinement in the 1970s,” Feminist Formations 26, 2 (2014), 26-51.
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Histories of Sexuality and the Carceral State, website.
Week 10. Expanding the Prison Industrial Complex

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New Press, 2010).
Lawrence Bobo and Victor Thompson, “Racialized Mass Incarceration: Poverty, Prejudice, and Punishment,” in Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century, Hazel Markus and Paula Moya, eds., (Norton, 2010), 322–55.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (University of California Press, 2007).
Jennifer Gonnerman, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett (Picador, 2005).
Elizabeth Hinton, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (Harvard University Press, 2016).
Joy James, States of Confinement: Policing, Detention, and Prisons (St. Martin’s Press, 2000).
Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, “The Attila the Hun Law”: New York’s Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Making of a Punitive State,” Journal of Social History 44.1 (2010), 71–95.
Jill McCorkel, Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment (NYU Press, 2013).
Deborah McDowell, Claudrena Harold, and Juan Battle, eds., The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration (University of Virginia Press, 2013).
Christian Parenti, Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis (Verso, 2001).
Mary Pattillo, David Weiman, and Bruce Western, eds., Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration (Russell Sage Foundation, 2004).
Doris Marie Provine, Unequal Under the Law: Race in the War on Drugs (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Robert Perkinson, Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire (Metropolitan Books, 2010).
Henry Ruth and Kevin R. Reitz, The Challenge of Crime: Rethinking Our Response (Harvard University Press, 2003).
Jonathan Simon, Governing Through Crime: How the War on Crime Transformed American Democracy and Created a Culture of Fear (Oxford University Press, 2007).
Michael Tonry, Punishing Race: A Continuing American Dilemma (Oxford University Press, 2011).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Michael J. Love, excerpt from “The Prison-Industrial Complex: An Investment in Failure,” May 1998.
Broken on All Sides: Race, Mass Incarceration and New Visions for Criminal Justice in the U.S., directed by Matthew Pillischer (Matthew Pillischer, 2012).
Prison Policy Initiative, website.
Knotted Line, website
Week 11. Health, Justice, and Resistance in the Neoliberal Order

Katherine Beckett, Making Crime Pay: Law and Order in Contemporary American Politics (Oxford University Press, 1997).
Safiya Bukhari, The War Before: The True Life Story of Becoming a Black Panther (Feminist Press, 2010).
Tara Herivel and Paul Wright, eds., Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration (New Press, 2007).
Nancy Kurshan, Out of Control: A 15-Year Battle Against Control Unit Prisons (Freedom Archives, 2013).
Gordon Lafer, “The Politics of Prison Labor: A Union Perspective,” in Prison Nation: The Warehousing of America’s Poor, Tara Herivel and Paul Wright, eds. (Routledge, 2003), 120–28.
Mona Lynch, Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment (Stanford Law Books, 2010).
Staughton Lynd, Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising (PM Press, 2011).
Members of the ACE Program, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Breaking the Walls of Silence: AIDS and Women in a New York State Maximum Security Prison (Overlook Books, 1998).
Matt Meyer, ed. Let Freedom Ring: A Collection of Documents from the Movements to Free Political Prisoners (PM Press, 2008).
Donna Murch, “Paying for Punishment: The New Debtors’ Prison,” Boston Review, August 1, 2016.
Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, “Organized Inside and Out: The Angola Special Civics Project and the Crisis of Mass Incarceration,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society 15.3 (2013), 199–217.
Becky Pettit, Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress (Russell Sage Foundation, 2012).
Susan Rosenberg, An American Radical: Political Prisoner in My Own Country (Citadel Books, 2011).
Loïc Wacquant, Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Security (Duke University Press, 2009).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Critical Resistance and INCITE! “Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex,” 2001.
Esther Kaplan, “Organizing Inside,” Poz Magazine, November 1, 1998.
Mothers of Bedford, directed by Jenifer McShane (Women Make Movies, 2011).
The Last Graduation: The Rise and Fall of College Programs in Prison, directed by Barbara Zahm (Deep Dish TV, 1997).
Tattooed Tears, directed by Joan Churchill and Nicholas Broomfield (Gugo Film Production, 1978).
Week 12. Carceral Intersections

Nell Bernstein, Burning Down the House: The End of Juvenile Prison (The New Press, 2016).
Chris Chapman, Allison C. Carey, and Liat Ben-Moshe, eds., Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).
Jenna M. Loyd, Matt Michelson, and Andrew Burridge, eds., Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis (University of Georgia Press, 2012).
Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock, eds., Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (Beacon Press, 2011).
Julia Oparah, “Feminism and the (Trans)Gender Entrapment of Gender Nonconforming Prisoners,” UCLA Women’s Law Journal 18.2 (2012), 239–71.
Mary Beth Pfeiffer, Crazy in America: The Hidden Tragedy of our Criminalized Mentally Ill (Basic Books, 2007).
Luana Ross, Inventing the Savage: The Social Construction of Native American Criminality (University of Texas Press, 1998).
Donald Specter, “Cruel and Unusual Punishment of the Mentally Ill in California’s Prisons: A Case Study of a Class Action Suit,” Social Justice 21.3 (1994), 109–16.
Eric Stanley and Nat Smith, eds., Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011).
Eric Stanley, Dean Spade, and Queer (In)Justice, “Queering Prison Abolition, Now?” American Quarterly 64.1 (2012), 115–27.
Judah Schept, Progressive Punishment: Job Loss, Jail Growth, and the Neoliberal Logic of Carceral Expansion (NYU Press, 2015).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Behind Bars, directed by Louis Theroux (Kanopy Streaming, 2015).
Week 13. Voices from Inside

Jack Henry Abbott, In the Belly of the Beast: Letters from Prison (Random House, 1981).
Mumia Abu Jamal, Live From Death Row (Harper Perennial, 1996).
Mumia Abu Jamal, Writings on the Wall: Selected Prison Writings (City Lights, 2014).
Bruce Franklin, ed., Prison Writing in 20th Century America (Penguin, 1998).
Tara Green, ed., From the Plantation to the Prison: African-American Confinement Literature (Mercer University Press, 2008).
Joy James, ed., The New Abolitionists: (Neo)Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings (State University of New York Press, 2005).
Kevin Rashid Johnson, Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art (Kersplebedeb, 2010).
Joy James, ed., Imprisoned Intellectuals: America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).
Dylan Rodríguez, Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime (University of Minnesota Press, 2006).
James Yaki Sayles, Meditations on Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings (Kersplebedeb, 2010).
Shaka Senghor, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison (Convergent Books, 2016).
Yusef Shakur, The Window 2 My Soul: My Transformation from a Zone 8 Thug to a Father and Freedom Fighter (Urban Guerilla Publishing, 2008).
Colton Simpson, Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.’s Most Notorious Gang (St. Martin’s Press, 2005).
Doran Larson, ed. The Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America (Michigan State University Press, 2014).
Sanyika Shakur, Stand Up, Struggle Forward: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings on Nation, Class, and Patriarchy (Kersplebedeb, 2013).
Primary Sources and Multimedia

Prisoners at Sing Sing Prison, excerpt from “Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters.”
What I Want My Words to Do to You: Voices from a Maximum Security Women’s Prison, directed by Eve Ensler (PBS Home Video, 2004).
Mumia, Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal, directed by Stephen Vittoria (First Run Features, 2013).
Week 14. The Future of Prison Activism

Hadar Aviram, Cheap on Crime: Recession-Era Politics and the Transformation of American Punishment (University of California Press, 2015).
Dan Berger, “Social Movements and Mass Incarceration: What is to be Done?” Souls 15, 1-2 (2013), 3–18.
CR10 Publications Collective, Abolition Now: Ten Years of Strategy and Struggle Against the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2008).
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “The Worrying State of the Anti-Prison Movement,” Social Justice Journal, February 23, 2015.
Marie Gottschalk, Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics (Princeton University Press, 2015).
Kelly Lytle Hernández, “Amnesty or Abolition: Felons, Illegals, and the Case for a New Abolition Movement,” Boom: A Journal of California 1.4 (Winter 2011), 54–68.
Keramet Reiter, “The Pelican Bay Hunger Strike: Resistance within the Structural Constraints of a US Supermax Prison,” South Atlantic Quarterly 113.3 (Summer 2014), 579–611.
Julia Sudbury, “Reform or Abolition?: Using Popular Mobilizations to Dismantle the Prison-Industrial Complex,“Criminal Justice Matters 77.1 (2009), 17–19.
Primary Sources and Multimedia

A Vision for Black Lives, website.
Mariame Kaba, Prison Culture Blog, website.
Sentencing Project, website.
Concrete, Steel and Paint, directed by Cindy Burstein (New Day Films, 2009).

Dan Berger is an assistant professor of comparative ethnic studies at the University of Washington Bothell. He is the author of several books including Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era. He is the co-author of the forthcoming Rethinking the American Prison Movement. Follow him on Twitter @dnbrgr.

Garrett Felber is a scholar of 20th-century African American history. He earned a PhD in American Culture at the University of Michigan in the American Culture Department. His scholarship has been published in the Journal of African American History, South African Music Studies, and SOULS. He has also contributed to The Guardian, The Marshall Project, and Viewpoint Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @garrett_felber.

Kali Gross is Professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. Her research concentrates on black women’s experiences in the United States criminal justice system between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She is author of the award-winning book, Colored Amazons: Crime, Violence and Black Women in the City of Brotherly Love, 1880-1910, and the newly released, Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America. Follow her on Twitter @KaliGrossPhD.

Elizabeth Hinton is an assistant professor in the Departments of History and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. A Ford Foundation Fellow, Hinton completed her Ph.D. in United States History from Columbia University in 2013. She is the author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America. Follow her on Twitter @elizabhinton.

Anyabwile Love is an Assistant Professor at the Community College of Philadelphia. He earned a Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University. He is currently writing a project on John William Coltrane. Follow him on Twitter @AnyabwileLove.

maoistroad: Stop Operation Green Hunt! MalkaNGIRI & Bhopal

“Why are some lives cheaper than others?
Looking at the brutal extra-judicial killings in Malkangiri and Bhopal
In the last few weeks, two brutal killings sent shockwaves through the country – the massacre of 40 Maoist cadre and supporters in a remote jungle in Malkangiri region on the Andhra-Odisha border and the cold-blooded murder of 8 undertrials accused of being members of SIMI in Bhopal.
The two killings are not unrelated, but are part of a pattern. In both cases, it is the police and the security forces who are the proud perpetrators, the very people who are supposed to safeguard the rule of law in the country. In both cases, the victims are poor, from the margins of Indian society, associated with political movements proscribed and vilified by the state. And in both cases, the killings, brutal and blatantly extra-legal, have been lauded by the government of the day.”

Alliances not self promotion. Bataille would already have joined 

Dear comrades on my news feed,

Am sure you probably already will have seen this but I’m sending it out in place of any comment about either Trimp or Clampton just to underline the importance of organisation – organising with a broad array of comrades that will obviously include Maoists and hell, with eyes wide open for their devious ways even Trotskyites. This instead of identitarianisms, egoisms and ‘belligerent superiority signalling’ in blog or FB posts by people saying we must organise, whether or not they are in organisations (ie like this one). Organisations are there, build, join, rejoin, and they must support and sustain us where otherwise fascism, and individualist/quixotic posturing will leave us to be picked off one by one. 

Lal salaam

Begin forwarded message:
Subject: In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America

Dear Friends,

A seismic shift has taken place with the election of Donald Trump. I urge you to read and share this statement. For those of you in the NYC area, Revolution Books will be holding an emergency forum at 4 pm Sunday–437 Malcolm X Blvd at 132nd St.


From Revolution newspaper:

In the Name of Humanity,

We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America
Rise Up… Get Into The Streets… Unite With People Everywhere to Build Up Resistance in Every Way You Can

Don’t Stop: Don’t Conciliate… Don’t Accommodate…Don’t Collaborate
Donald Trump has now won the presidency. Under the slogan “Make America Great Again,” he has viciously attacked Mexicans and Muslims, threatened to deport millions and boasted that he will build walls and close borders. He incites people to fear and hate those who are “different,” or who come from other countries or nationalities, or practice different religions. He crudely demeans and degrades women, and openly boasts about molesting them. He’s a champion of white supremacy who has insulted and threatened Black people, and whipped up racist lynch-mob mentality. Trump has mocked the disabled. He is an aggressive and unapologetic militarist, who threatens to use nuclear weapons and will have his fingers on the nuclear codes. He openly advocates war crimes and crimes against humanity–including torture and killing the families of people accused of terrorism. He plans to pack the Supreme Court with justices who will gut and reverse the right to abortion, gay rights, and other important legal rights. He calls climate change a hoax and his policies will wreak further devastation on the environment. He has attacked and threatened the press and stirred up his supporters to do the same. Trump has utter contempt for facts and the truth, and consistently lies to advance his agenda. As for the rule of law, Trump went so far as to openly threaten his opponent, Hillary Clinton, not only with jail, but even assassination. Donald Trump is an outright fascist. And he is now the president-elect.

Share this meme, use #NotMyPresident 

Fascism is a very serious thing. Fascism foments and relies on xenophobic nationalism, racism, and the aggressive reinstitution of oppressive “traditional values.” Fascism feeds on and encourages the threat and use of violence to build a movement and come to power. Fascism, once in power, essentially eliminates traditional democratic rights. Fascism attacks, jails, and executes its opponents, and launches violent mob attacks on “minorities.” In Nazi Germany in the 1930s and ’40s, under Hitler, fascism did all these things. They imprisoned millions in concentration camps and exterminated millions of Jews, Roma people (Gypsies), and other “undesirables.” And Hitler did almost all of this through the established institutions and the “rule of law.” This is where this goes. And yes, Hitler himself could “talk graciously” when he felt it would serve his interests and lull his opponents.
Trump did not even win the popular vote, (even though he did win the “electoral college” which decides elections in the U.S.). Hitler himself came to power through democratic procedures, including through the process of elections. Should people have accepted Hitler?! Unfortunately, they did, at a horrific cost to humanity. Today, with nuclear weapons, that cost could be far higher.
In the name of humanity, we must refuse to accept a fascist America!
The fact that Trump won as many votes as he did must be understood. The fact that he got more than even 10 percent of the vote is disgraceful and reveals some very ugly things about America. So why did this happen? The world today is turbulent, full of changes. Those who supported Trump’s fascist program were overwhelmingly sections of white people, especially but not only white men, who yearn for the days of open white supremacy and American global domination, and the blatant subjugation of women. A significant minority of white people did oppose him, but we have to confront how deep the racism, the national chauvinism, and the hatred of women is woven into this society… and not give into this, but vigorously challenge and fiercely oppose it. 

But even more than this, Trump was backed by powerful forces in this society. Beyond those who directly supported him, the media, the Democratic Party, and others treated him as a legitimate candidate, refused to call him out as the fascist he is, and now call on everyone to accept his ascension to power. All the major powerful forces in this society bear the responsibility–it is they who have, over decades, either built up this fascist force or have “enabled” it.
You cannot try to “wait things out” with fascists. Those who lived through Hitler’s Germany and sat on the sidelines, looking on as Hitler rounded up one group after another, became shameful collaborators with monstrous crimes against humanity. Trump and his regime must be resisted and defied, beginning now, in many different ways and in every corner of society. 
Reconciliation and collaboration would be nothing less than criminal and deadly. Literally. Come together… resist… and let the whole world know that we will not allow this to stand!

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