Angela Davis: Academics are trained to fear the unexpected…and that is boring.

YES.

Feminist methodologies can assist us all in major ways; as researchers, academcs, and as activists and organizers. When we discover what appears to be one relatively small and marginal aspect of the category, of what is struggling to enter the category so that it can basically bust up the category, this process can illuminate so much more than simply looking at the normative dimensions of the category. Academics are trained to fear the unexpected. But also activists always want to have a very clear idea of our trajectories and our goals. And in both instances we want control. We want control so that, often times, our scholarly and activist projects are formulated just so that they reconfirm what we already know. And that is not interesting. That is boring. That is boring. And so how to allow for surprises. And how do we allow these surprises to be productive?

[…]

The personal is political. Everybody remembers that, right? … Thinking about the dangerous ways in which the institutional violence of the prison complements and extends the intimate violence of the family, of the relationship, the individual violence of battery and sexual assault. We also question whether incarcerating individual perpetrators does anything more than reproduce the violence that the perpetrators have allegedly committed. There is criminalization, but the problem persists. And it seems to me that people who are working on the frontline of the struggle against violence against women, they should also be on the front line of abolitionist struggles. And people opposed to police crime should be opposed to domestic, what is constructed as domestic violence…There is a feminist philosophical dimension of both abolitionists theories and practices. The personal is political. There is a deep relationality that links struggles against institutions and struggles to reinvent our personal lives and re-craft ourselves. We know, for example, that we replicate the structures of retributive justice in our emotional responses: someone attacks us verbally or otherwise, our response is what? A counter attack. The retributive impulses of the state are inscribed in our very emotional responses. The political reproduces itself through the personal. This is a feminist insight. A marxist inflected feminist insight that perhaps reveals some influence of Foucault. This is a feminist insight regarding the reproduction of the relations that enable something like the prison industrial complex.

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