Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
I am excited to announce the release of States of Incarceration: Rebellion, Reform, and America's Punishment System, which I co-authored with Zhandarka Kurti, out today on the Field Notes Series of Reaktion Books.
You can purchase the book here.
Critical praise includes:
“Bold and brilliant, States of Incarceration is essential reading for those who labor to counter repression and movement capture. The authors offer fierce, fluid analyses of police/state violence and critique progressives' contradictions. The analyses of US history, contemporary uprisings, and current conflicts enlighten and strengthen the work of freedom communities. Share and debate this book.” ― Joy James, author of In Pursuit of Revolutionary Love, and editor of Imprisoned Intellectuals and The New Abolitionists
“Deeply researched and tightly argued, States of Incarceration offers a nuanced history of the US carceral state and the politics of its abolition, deftly demonstrating why the latter emerged as the political horizon of the 2020 George Floyd Rebellion. Breaking with those committed to burying the inspiration of this insurrectionary moment as well as those who have lost hope in abolitionism’s potential in the wake of the rebellion’s demise, this book makes a clear and convincing case for holding firm to abolitionism as a dynamic revolutionary politic.” ― Toussaint Losier, co-author of Rethinking the American Prison Movement
“Abolition is a brick. Will it be used to build the courthouses and carceral institutions of the future, or will it be thrown through their windows? States of Incarceration makes a powerful case for the latter, poring over the blueprints of our carceral present while imagining what might be born from its smoldering ashes." ― Geo Maher, author of A World Without Police
“A manifesto written by and for activists. A call to deeply informed activism. A defense and critique of revolutionary violence. A polemic to be taken very seriously. An invitation to leap into an imagined future without carceral states.” ― Tony Platt, University of California, Berkeley, author of Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Monday, October 31, 2022
The first is a review of Travis Linnemann's The Horror of Police, in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Check it out here.
The second is a lengthy assessment of the Hellraiser franchise in light of the 2022 reboot, in Hard Crackers. Check it out here.
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
States of Incarceration: Rebellion, Reform, and America's Punishment System can be pre-ordered here. I've heard it is already shipping, though the nominal US release is in November.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
I am very excited to be discussing Captives at two Buffalo area events on Friday, 9/30.
The first is at Niagara University, Dunleavy Hall (room 127), 9 Varsity Drive, Niagara Falls, NY, from 2:30 to 4pm.
The second is at Burning Books, 420 Connecticut Street, Buffalo, NY, at 7pm.
Thanks to the Social Justice Speaker Series at Niagara University for making this happen!
Thursday, September 15, 2022
On Thursday, September 22nd at 1pm ET, Abby and I will appear on the Brooklyn Rail's "Common Ground" discussion series, in dialogue with Judah Schept about his book Coal, Cages, Crisis. What a treat! You can tune in online by following this link and registering in advance.
This event grew out of my and Abby's review of that book in the Rail's September issue. Check it out here.
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Thursday, September 1, 2022
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Thursday, July 14, 2022
Friday, July 1, 2022
Pick up the book here.
Check out this advance praise:
—Marcus Rediker, author of The Slave Ship: A Human History
“This collection of Noel Ignatiev’s writings over the past six decades could not come at a more important time in the struggle against white supremacy; they are as pertinent today as they were when they were written.”
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
“Noel Ignatiev was a tiller in the field of identity studies long before most of us even knew there was such a field. Beyond that, he located the field at the crossroads of race and class. He was an important, innovative thinker, as well as a committed activist for social justice.”
—Russel Banks, author of Continental Drift and Cloudsplitter
“Noel Ignatiev was a giant in one of the most important fields of research to emerge in recent times: how was it that those who had been warring on the shores of Europe on religious and ethnic grounds were magically transformed upon crossing the Atlantic into the new Identity Politics of ‘whiteness’? As the brilliant Ignatiev correctly suggests, the survival of humanity may very well hang on understanding this phenomenon—then acting decisively.”
—Gerald Horne, author of White Supremacy Confronted: US Imperialism and Anti-Communism versus the Liberation of Southern Africa, from Rhodes to Mandela
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022
I went back to see my friends at Kite Line Radio for a two-part discussion of Captives and the lessons of Rikers history for abolitionists today. Check out Part 1 now, look out for Part 2 next week, and never miss an episode of this crucial program.
Update 7/1: Part 2 is now available here.
Friday, June 10, 2022
We discussed Gittlitz’s book I Want To Believe, the enigmatic Latin American revolutionary J. Posadis, the enduring legacy of twentieth century radicalism, revolutionary politics in 2022, meme culture, internet irony, vibe shifts, and why so many dedicated micro-sects turn into cringey cults.
If you haven't picked up this book yet, what are you waiting for?
Thursday, June 9, 2022
I recently sat down with good friend and former political prisoner David Campbell, who spent a year at Rikers during the height of Covid, for a lively exchange now transcribed and available on Truthout. We discussed Captives, captivity, and the lessons we have drawn from our respective experiences. Click here to read it.
David is working hard to rebuild his life post-release. If you enjoy this content, consider pledging to his Patreon.
Thursday, June 2, 2022
Monday, May 30, 2022
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Monday, May 23, 2022
We will discuss Posadism and many related themes at Pilsen Community Books on Friday, May 27th at 7pm. Be sure to support this important community space and pick up Andy's awesome book.
Saturday, May 21, 2022
|A two-page spread in the 5/22 Daily News|
Abby Cunniff, "Brutal Island," in Los Angeles Review of Books
Kay Gabriel, "The Island," in The Nation
Brendan O'Connor, "The Long Crisis on Rikers Island," in The Baffler
Jacqueline Cutler, "Chronicling Rikers Island's Descent from Humane Jail to Lawless Lockup," in the New York Daily News
Thanks to these critics for their time and careful attention.
Friday, May 20, 2022
The panel can be viewed here.
Thanks to Shemon for facilitating and the Red May comrades for setting this up. Zhana and my book States of Incarceration will be out in September, and can be pre-ordered here.
Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
Monday, May 16, 2022
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
On Tuesday May 17th, at 7:30pm ET, Zhana and I will be taking part in an online discussion of Captives hosted by Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We have had some great discussions at our Chicago-area events, and hope to see you there! It can be accessed here.
Update 5/18: the video of this event can be viewed here. Thanks to Community Bookstore and everyone who attended!
Sunday, May 8, 2022
The panel can be viewed here.
Thanks to Dan Berger for facilitating, and my co-panelists Donna Murch and Annie Gray Fischer.
Be sure to check out the rest of Red May's excellent programming, including a panel with my old friends Zhandarka Kurti and Shemon Salam later this month!
Monday, May 2, 2022
The first, on Sunday May 8th, is called "Policing the City." It features the excellent historians Donna Murch, Anne Gray Fischer, and Dan Berger. I will be discussing Captives.
The second, on Friday, May 20th, is called "States of Incarceration." It features old friends and activist-scholars Shemon Salam and Zhandarka Kurti. Zhana and I will be discussing our forthcoming book States of Incarceration (Field Notes/Reaktion, 2022).
Both events are at 3pm PT.
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
I am excited to announce two Chicago-area release events for Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage.
The first event will be at Loyola University (Lake Shore Campus), on Wednesday April 27th, at 5:30pm in room 109 of Cuneo Hall.
The second will be at Governors State University, In University Park, IL, on Monday, May 2nd, at 2pm, in room B1200.
Both events will be discussions of Captives with my wonderful colleague Zhandarka Kurti.
Copies of the book will be available for the first time. If you cannot make it, and would like to pre-order the book in advance of its May 17th release, you can do so here.
Tuesday, March 15, 2022
I am excited to announce the coming release of my book Captives: How Rikers Island Took New York City Hostage (448 pp., Verso) on May 17th.
From the jacket: "Captives combines a thrilling account of Rikers Island’s descent into infamy with a dramatic retelling of the last seventy years of New York politics from the vantage point of the city’s jails. It is a story of a crowded field of contending powers—city bureaucrats and unions, black power activists and guards, crooked cops and elected leaders—struggling for power and influence, a tale culminating in mass incarceration and the triumph of neoliberalism. It is a riveting chronicle of how the Rikers Island of today—and the social order it represents—came to be."
I also am highly honored to have the book released to this advance praise from a number of excellent activists and scholars:
“Captives is an amazingly detailed journey into a New York City jails system fueled by capitalist greed, political expediency, and racist exploitation. Conditions have deteriorated on Rikers Island even compared to the oppressive and inhumane environment that I experienced detained as a 16-year-old member of the New York Panther 21. Jarrod Shanahan’s incisive history challenges us to thought and action. The longer Rikers stays open and the push for new carceral facilities continues, the longer our collective humanity remains caged.”
– Jamal Joseph, author of Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention
“Rikers Island has the same relationship to New York as his picture did to Dorian Gray in the famous story by Oscar Wilde: the notorious super-jail is the grotesque face of the institutional cruelty and racism that lies behind so much of the Big Apple’s preening dazzle. Shanahan, who personally experienced Rikers’ violence, has crafted a masterpiece of synthesized social observation, analytic history and political critique. Now that the city has a new mayor who loudly champions the jailers and bad cops, Captives is urgent and obligatory reading.”
– Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and Planet of Slums
“Shanahan’s lively must-read explains the power politics shaping New York City’s municipal lockup frenzy.”
– Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Abolition Geography and Golden Gulag
“Captives reveals the long history of racial oppression and unaccountable violence in the Rikers Island jail complex that has been hidden in plain sight … This extraordinary book demonstrates the centrality of jails to life in New York City.”
– Matthew Lassiter, author of The Silent Majority
“Captives is more than a history of the notorious Rikers Island; it is a riveting, caged bird’s-eye view of the tumultuous shift from postwar liberal dreams of penal reform to neoliberal punishment, police power, and the rise of the carceral state. Ultimately, it is a book about class struggle—how we got from ‘build better’ to ‘lock ’em up’ to ‘shut it down.’”
– Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
“Captives is an important and timely book that vividly depicts how decades of class struggle and oppression, especially along the lines of race and gender, shaped the rise of Rikers Island as we know it today. A must read!”
– Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch