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Fugitive Thought

Prison Movements, Race, and the Meaning of Justice

2004
Author:

Michael Hames-García

Fugitive Thought

Looks to the philosophy and experience of prisoners to reinvigorate our concepts of justice, solidarity, and freedom

Michael Hames-García argues that writings by prisoners are instances of social theory that seek to transform the world. Fugitive Thought reinvigorates moral concepts like “justice,” “solidarity,” and “freedom” through focusing on writings by black and Latina/o lawyers and prisoners to flesh out the philosophical underpinnings of ethical claims within legal theory and prison activism.

Fugitive Thought makes significant contributions to critical social, political, and legal theory. Michael Hames-Garcia's discussion of incarcerated writers and social thinkers will benefit theorists and activists alike.

Joy James, editor of Imprisoned Intellectuals: America's Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion

In Fugitive Thought, Michael Hames-García argues that writings by prisoners are instances of practical social theory that seek to transform the world. Unlike other authors who have studied prisons or legal theory, Hames-García views prisoners as political and social thinkers whose ideas are as valuable as those of lawyers and philosophers.

As key moral terms like “justice,” “solidarity,” and “freedom” have come under suspicion in the post–Civil Rights era, political discussions on the Left have reached an impasse. Fugitive Thought reexamines and reinvigorates these concepts through a fresh approach to philosophies of justice and freedom, combining the study of legal theory and of prison literature to show how the critiques and moral visions of dissidents and participants in prison movements can contribute to the shaping and realization of workable ethical conceptions. Fugitive Thought focuses on writings by black and Latina/o lawyers and prisoners to flesh out the philosophical underpinnings of ethical claims within legal theory and prison activism.


Fugitive Thought

Michael Hames-García is associate professor of English and of philosophy, interpretation, and culture at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

Fugitive Thought

Fugitive Thought makes significant contributions to critical social, political, and legal theory. Michael Hames-Garcia's discussion of incarcerated writers and social thinkers will benefit theorists and activists alike.

Joy James, editor of Imprisoned Intellectuals: America's Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion

Michael Hames-García investigates and rejuvenates the concepts of justice and freedom, and, most important, looks to prisoners for the lessons and models for advancing those concepts.

Avery Gordon, University of California, Santa Barbara

An innovative and engrossing text. Among the few truly interdisciplinary projects to address the recent history of U.S.-based radical anti-prison movements as well as the post-1970s renaissance of political texts produced by imprisoned intellectuals, activists, and artists, Fugitive Thought is simultaneously a rigorous scholarly text and incisive political critique. Among the first texts of its kind, Hames-Garcia’s project is an intellectual gift as well as a valuable political intervention in this crucial historical moment.

Radical Philosophy Review

Hames-Garcia develops compelling notions of justice and freedom in his ‘mutable theory of law.’

American Literature

Fugitive Thought

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

PART I. Justice, Race, and Law

1. Toward a Critical Theory of Justice
2. In Contempt: Lawyering out of Bounds

PART II. The Practice of Freedom and U.S. Prison Movements

3. The Practice of Freedom: Assata’s Struggle
4. Resistant Freedom: Piri Thomas and Miguel Piñero

PART III. Rebellion, Poetry, and Praxis

5. Toward a Praxical Moral Theory: Prison Poets and Intellectuals

Conclusion

Notes
Bibliography

Index