Abolition Pedagogies

Gina Dent
Feminist Studies
UC Santa Cruz

Abolition Pedagogies established a multi-campus working group to address problems in prison education—especially for those in advanced degree programs—and their broader implication for both university instruction and the struggle to build an anti-carceral society. The working group collaborated with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a PhD student at the University of California, Santa Cruz who is currently incarcerated at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution, Mahanoy. Programming took three stages: first, participants held a series of online, seminar-style meetings, including a screening of Gilda Sheppard’s 2020 film, Since I Been Down; second, participants held a series of in-person meetings with Abu-Jamal at SCI Mahanoy; and to conclude, participants and collaborators gathered for an in-person meeting at UC Santa Cruz. This programming responded to some of the most pressing problems of our moment of upheaval, especially the issue of how our systems of knowledge production address enduring legacies of historical injustice. Our project investigated and responded to the specific challenges of incarcerated people seeking post-secondary education with the goal of envisioning and enacting critical university pedagogies that conjure an abolitionist future.