Symposium – “Abolition Ecologies” edited by Nik Heynen and Megan Ybarra

Forthcoming in Antipode 53(1) in January 2021, and available online now, “Abolition Ecologies” consists of five essays brought together as the culmination of conversations that began at the AAG annual meeting in New Orleans to bring the insights of abolition geography to political ecology. The authors engage with abolition geography as a way to bring forth political projects that are premised on the end of policing, immigrant detention, and prisons. Across various studies in radical place-making, the authors trace activist scholarship, providing conjunctural and multiscalar analyses that illuminate unequal power relations as they are challenged by Black, Indigenous, and people of color who find ways to come into right relations with the land and each other.

An introductory essay traces the importance of key thinkers in abolitionist thought, focusing on W.E.B. Du Bois and Ruth Wilson Gilmore, for geographers working on race and nature. The essay argues for the importance of coalitional land-based politics in dismantling institutions of oppression and building relations of repair and community. Each of the essays in this Symposium therefore attends to the specificities of place while tracing the scales of oppression, particularly white supremacy in state violence. Ultimately, this Symposium expands on the possibilities for political ecology to grapple with the ways that white supremacy and racialization shape human / non-human relations.

Nik Heynen (University of Georgia) and Megan Ybarra (University of Washington)

The papers

On Abolition Ecologies and Making “Freedom as a Place”
Nik Heynen and Megan Ybarra

Site Fight! Toward the Abolition of Immigrant Detention on Tacoma’s Tar Pits (and Everywhere Else)
Megan Ybarra

Struggles for Environmental Justice in US Prisons and Jails
David Pellow

Accompaniment Through Carceral Geographies: Abolitionist Research Partnerships with Indigenous Communities
Laurel Mei-Singh

“A plantation can be a commons”: Re-Earthing Sapelo Island through Abolition Ecology
Nik Heynen

From Urban Resilience to Abolitionist Climate Justice in Washington, DC
Malini Ranganathan and Eve Bratman