Abolition Time

Abolition Time

Grammars of Law, Poetics of Justice

Jess A. Goldberg

How Black Atlantic literature can challenge conventions and redefine literary scholarship

264 Pages, 6 x 9 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517917890
  • Published: December 10, 2024
BUY
  • Hardcover
  • 9781517917883
  • Published: December 10, 2024
BUY

Details

Abolition Time

Grammars of Law, Poetics of Justice

Jess A. Goldberg

ISBN: 9781517917890

Publication date: December 10th, 2024

264 Pages

5 black and white illustrations

8 x 5

How Black Atlantic literature can challenge conventions and redefine literary scholarship

Abolition Time is an invitation to reenvision abolitionist justice through literary studies. Placing critical race theory, queer theory, critical prison studies, and antiprison activism in conversation with an archive of Black Atlantic literatures of slavery, Jess A. Goldberg reveals how literary studies can help undo carceral epistemologies embedded in language and poetics.

Goldberg examines poetry, drama, and novels from the nineteenth century through the twenty-first—such as William Wells Brown’s The Escape, Angelina Weld Grimké’s Rachel, Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen—to consider literature and literary scholarship’s roles in shaping societal paradigms. Focusing on how Black Atlantic literature disrupts the grammar of law and order, they show how these texts propose nonlinear theories of time that imagine a queer relationality characterized by care rather than inheritance, property, or biology. 

Abolition Time offers a framework for thinking critically about what is meant by the term justice in the broadest and deepest sense, using close reading to inform the question of abolishing prisons or the police and to think seriously about the most fundamental questions at the heart of the abolitionist movement.

Jess A. Goldberg is assistant professor of American literature at New Mexico Highlands University. They are coeditor of Queer Fire: Liberation and Abolition, a special issue of GLQ.

Contents

Preface

Introduction: Justice Is Not an Event

1. Accumulation: The Excessive Present, the Middle Passage, and the Juridical Event

2. Perforation: Inhabitation and the Vulnerability of the Law

An Interlude on Method, or Abolition Is Not a Metaphor

3. Witnessing: Impossible Recovery, Failed Recognition, and the Obligation of Risk

4. Breath: Aspiration, Ungendered Mothering, and Im/Possible Futures

Coda: On Thinking the Impossible

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index