I am indebted to Jakeya Caruthers, Xandra Ibarra, Colby Lenz, Xhercis Mendez, and Emily Thuma for their helpful feedback and reflections, and to philosophers at the grassroots taking risks to re-think the world in radical terms.


  • 1 I review the details of SRR’s closure and the emergence of CARA in the article, “Pursuing A Radical Anti-Violence Agenda Inside/Outside a Non-Profit Structure” (Bierria 2007). Also, because so much of CARA’s work occurred in rich collective praxis, I should note that the description of CARA’s work laid out here is meant to reflect my own memory and experiences.
  • 2 Notably, philosopher and former political prisoner, Angela Y. Davis, had key roles in the inaugural conferences for both of these organizations—milestone events for the contemporary abolitionist movement.
  • 3 This tension is explored in the 2001 INCITEl-Critical Resistance Statement on “Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex,” a document written by a national group of feminist of color anti-violence scholars, advocates, and activists, including CARA members Eboni Colbert and Theryn Kigvamasud’Vashti. The statement became a key document that supported feminist critiques of criminalizing responses to violence.
  • 4 The emergence of this movement is explored in Brazzell (2015) and Rojas Durazo et al. (2012). Transformative justice/community accountability efforts have resonance with more radical forms of restorative justice, but are distinct in that they are deliberately grounded in a feminist, social justice, and abolitionist politics. Also, it should be noted that “Taking Risks” was published at a time when mainstream discourse and anti-violence advocacy rarely engaged the concept of abolishing carceral systems as a serious political position; the abolitionist movement, however, has since achieved important growth. Calls to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and policing have since entered the mainstream with meaningful engagement, and calls for non-carceral “alternative” responses to gender violence have become more common in feminist anti-violence fields, a development made possible by decades of community organizing led by many people and organizations.
  • 5 Regarding the relationship between demographics and philosophical areas of study, Anita Allen notes,

During the past 60 years, new fields of specialization have emerged—philosophy of race, African-American philosophy, Africana philosophy, black feminist/womanist thought, and so on. These have appeared in tandem with an increase in the number of professionally trained philosophers of black descent.

(Yancy 2018)

Allen’s observation resonates with a 2014 study asserting that, for Black philosophers who have earned, or are working towards, PhDs in philosophy, race theory, social and political philosophy, ethics, Africana philosophy, and feminist philosophy were among the most popular areas of specialization (Botts et al. 2014).

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