Carceral Liberalism

Feminist Voices against State Violence
Author: Edited by Shreerekha Pillai
Foreword by Demita Frazier
Offering feminist carceral studies a valuable new analytical lens
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 08/15/2023
Cloth: 08/15/2023
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About the Book

Carceral liberalism emerges from the confluence of neoliberalism, carcerality, and patriarchy to construct a powerful ruse disguised as freedom. It waves the feminist flag while keeping most women still at the margins. It speaks of a post-race society while one in three Black men remain incarcerated. It sings the praises of capital while the dispossessed remain mired in debt.

Shreerekha Pillai edits essays on carceral liberalism that continue the trajectory of the Combahee River Collective and the many people inspired by its vision of feminist solidarity and radical liberation. Academics, activists, writers, and a formerly incarcerated social worker look at feminist resurgence and resistance within, at the threshold of, and outside state violence; observe and record direct and indirect forms of carcerality sponsored by the state and shaped by state structures, traditions, and actors; and critique carcerality. Acclaimed poets like Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Solmaz Sharif amplify the volume’s themes in works that bookend each section.

Cutting-edge yet historically grounded, Carceral Liberalism examines an American ideological creation that advances imperialism, anti-blackness, capitalism, and patriarchy.

Contributors: Maria F. Curtis, Joanna Eleftheriou, Autumn Elizabeth and Zarinah Agnew and D Coulombe, Jeremy Eugene, Demita Frazier, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Alka Kurian, Cassandra D. Little, Beth Matusoff Merfish, Francisco Argüelles Paz y Puente, Shreerekha Pillai, Marta Romero-Delgado, Ravi Shankar, Solmaz Sharif, Shailza Sharma, Tria Blu Wakpa and Jennifer Musial, Javier Zamora

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About the Author

Shreerekha Pillai is a professor of humanities at the University of Houston, Clear Lake. She is the author of Women Writing Violence: The Novel and Radical Feminist Imaginaries.



“This intergenerational and eclectic mix of scholars, activists, and artists, lay out clearly just what is at stake when these twin systems of oppression, carcerality, and liberalism intertwine. Shreerekha Pillai has amassed an incredible cadre of fierce freedom fighters here whose words will likely light a fire in you to stamp it out wherever you find it. Carceral Liberalism will be a touchstone text in our efforts towards abolition and liberation.”--Moya Bailey, author of Misogynoir Transformed: Black Women’s Digital Resistance

“A uniquely valuable intervention. Those of us--and I would say that is the majority of us who live our lives ‘in freedom’--are importuned by the book’s address, to wake up, to care, because what we perceive as our ‘freedom’ made available, so we think, as a consequence of living in the crucible of liberal ideals and beliefs--is inextricably bound up with the logics of incarceration.”--Fawzia Afzal-Khan, author of Siren Song: Understanding Pakistan Through Its Women Singers


• One of Ms. Magazine's Most Anticipated Books of 2023
• One of Autostraddle's Most Anticipated Books of 2023