Progressive Dystopia

Abolition, Anti-Blackness, and Schooling in San Francisco

Progressive Dystopia
Book Pages: 224 Illustrations: 4 illustrations Published: November 2019

Author: Savannah Shange

Subjects
African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Anthropology, Critical Ethnic Studies

San Francisco is the endgame of gentrification, where racialized displacement means that the Black population of the city hovers just over 3%. The “Robeson Justice Academy” opened to serve the few remaining low-income neighborhoods of the city, with the mission of offering liberatory, social justice-themed education to youth of color. While it features a progressive curriculum where students read Frantz Fanon and Audre Lorde, the majority Latinx school also has the district's highest suspension rates for Black students. In Progressive Dystopia Savannah Shange explores the potential for reconciling the school's marginalization of Black students with its sincere pursuit of multiracial uplift and solidarity. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and six years of experience teaching at the school, Shange outlines how the school fails its students and the community because it operates within a space predicated on antiblackness. Seeing San Francisco as a social laboratory for how Black communities survive the end of their worlds, Shange argues for abolition over either revolution or progressive reform as the needed path toward Black freedom.

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Savannah Shange is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and principal faculty in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Paper: 978-1-4780-0668-8 / Cloth: 978-1-4780-0576-6
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