Antipode: Abolitionist Geographies

By Christopher Taylor

Abolitionist Geographies by Martha SchoolmanMartha Schoolman’s Abolitionist Geographies ends but does not conclude. I mean this quite literally. There is no subunit of the book bearing the title “Conclusion”, “Coda”, or anything of the sort. It’s all rather abrupt, the ending. The reader never has a moment to bid adieu to the book, to revisit the characters, concepts, and cartographies one has moved with and through over the course of Schoolman’s intellectual peregrinations. The abruptness of the book’s end is not just a formal fluke. Rather, it encodes the eruption of the historical event in whose horizon Schoolman and her subjects write–the U.S. Civil War. It is as if the event of war, even one perhaps already finished, dispossesses us, even today, of the reflexive time required to revisit what we had spent time doing. War takes time, it steals our time, its grim presence and unknowable future collude in refusing to let us look back. In stealing time, war steals space as well. The “strategic machinations of all-out-war” reset the geographic scales through which we think history (p.188). What some might call the War Between the States imposes the macrological optics of the state itself on our perspective of history’s spaces. It thus renders invisible the tracks and trails marked out as abolitionists felt out different articulations between space and freedom. If Schoolman’s book abruptly ends, then, it is because these other routes to freedom did not go really anywhere, because war forcibly halted the construction of alternative tracks and trails to abolitionist futures. As she shows, abolitionists wrote–and then fought– precisely because they did not want a war. 

Read the full article.

University of Minnesota Press Podcast

More than two dozen essays of Indigenous resistance to the privatization and allotment of Indigenous lands

Allotment Stories: Daniel Heath Justice and Jean M. O'Brien.

A fascinating and unprecedented ethnography of animal sanctuaries in the United States

Saving AnimalsElan Abrell and Kathryn (Katie) Gillespie on sanctuary, care, ethics.

How popular debates about the so-called digital generation mediate anxieties about labor and life in twenty-first-century America

Making creative laborers for a precarious economy: Josef Nguyen, Carly Kocurek, and Patrick LeMieux.



Browse our Fall/Winter 2022-23 catalog for exciting forthcoming books!

Viewing options:

Web collection

PDF (with accessibility features)