Queer Abolition

Thursday, October 15, 2020, 4-8 pm, Zoom


“Remember to imagine and craft the worlds you cannot live without, just as you dismantle the worlds you cannot live within” – Ruha Benjamin (

“Queer Abolition,” the 2020 InQueery Symposium, explores how queer politics has been, continues to be, and may expand as a site for abolitionist critique. This summer, the overlapping pandemics of police brutality and COVID-19 led to the replacement of Pride Marches across the nation with Black Lives Matter protests. Despite its contemporary corporate manifestations, historically the spirit of Pride is rooted in abolitionist politics. It commemorates the Stonewall riot against police brutality directed toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender bodies. The call by BLM and abolitionist activists to defund police and abolish systems of incarceration that disproportionately target black and brown bodies are therefore not “replacements” in lieu of Pride. Instead, they sit beside Pride’s history of queer rebellion against legal systems and institutions of mass incarceration. How do queer and feminist politics imagine systems of accountability beyond state punishment? How might queer abolition offer tools for the future and mutual accountability beyond what Eric Stanley calls “law and order fantasies”? How are prisons sites of racialized and ableist gender norms and gender conformity?  InQueery 2020 calls for papers that address the dreaming projects that lie at the foundations of queerness and abolitionist visions of transformation. Papers could address (but need not be limited to) the following topics:

  • Black Feminism and anti-carceral critique
  • Queer and abolitionist critiques of militarization
  • Anti-carceral Politics within Prisons/Institutionalization
  • Disability Justice
  • Mutual Aid Projects and Abolition
  • Critiques of law and social constructions of crime
  • Politics of redistribution (from prisons, policing, militarization to healthcare, education, and housing)
  • Queer and feminist critiques of neoliberalism
  • Abolitionist/anti-carceral responses to domestic violence and sexual harassment
  • LGBTQ criminalization
  • Queer and feminist challenges to rhetorics of safety and protection
  • Alternatives to Policing
  • Anti-carceral Feminist Coalition Work
  • Transnational Abolitionist Critiques
  • Queering discourses of “looting” and private property
  • Indigenous alternatives to policing

Students are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by October 1, 2020. Presenters will be notified October 5, 2020.


Keynote Speaker: Andrea J. Ritchie

Author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color (2017) and Co-author of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States (2011), Andrea J. Ritchie is a Black lesbian immigrant police misconduct attorney and organizer. More information here.