Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies
Date: November 14 7:00pm Location: Council Chamber, Templeton Campus Center
Council Chamber, Templeton Campus Center
Dylan Rodriguez, professor and chair of ethnic studies, University of California, Riverside
“Inhabiting the Impasse: Incarceration, Insurgencies, and the Logic of Racial Genocide”
Presentation abstract: To exist in the impasse of racial genocide is not a choice—it is an involuntary, coerced historical condition. Racial genocide’s historical regimes of epochal violence—from chattel slavery and land displacement to gendered sexual violence and cultural extermination—never truly go away. Rather, they lurk within our historical present tense in ways that make it clear that these regimes of violence remain significantly intact. This discussion begins with a definition of racial genocide that considers the ways in which physical death is often secondary to the immediate, distended violence of terror, humiliation, and degradation. Racial genocide is, in this sense, as focused on the creation of oppressive conditions of existence as it is with constructing systems of physical human extermination. The discussion will direct attention to the political and cultural work emanating from two recent struggles, both of which emerge from the prison and criminalization regime, which is the primary institutional apparatus of US racial genocide. We will consider, for a sustained moment, the significance of the 2010 Georgia Prison Strike and the 2011/2013 Pelican Bay Prison (and California prison-wide) hunger strike.