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AngelaDavisThrough her activism and her scholarship over the last decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in our nations quest for social justice. Her work as an educator both at the university level and in the larger public sphere has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender equality. She is known internationally. Davis teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She has also taught at UCLA, Vassar, the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. She has spent the last fifteen years at the University of California-Santa Cruz as a professor of History of Consciousness, an interdisciplinary Ph.D program, and a professor of Feminist Studies. Davis is the author of eight books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBIs Ten Most Wanted List. She has also conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her most recent books are Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? She is now completing a book on prisons and American history.
Davis is a member of the executive board of the Women of Color Resource Center, a San Francisco Bay Area organization that emphasizes popular education of and about women who live in conditions of poverty. She also works with Justice Now, which provides legal assistance to women in prison and engages in advocacy for the abolition of imprisonment as the dominant strategy for addressing social problems. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, a similar organization based in Queensland, Australia. Like many other educators, Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a prison industrial complex, she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.
Angela Davis - Possible Lecture Topics Cultural and Historical Studies of Race and Ethnicity Feminist Theory Cultural and Ideology Democracy and Civil Engagements American History and Prisons Prisons and Democracy Institutional Racism in the Penal and Criminal Justice System Youth and the Prison Industrial Complex Leadership for the 21st Century Building Communities of Activism Activism and Diversity in Higher Education How Does Change Happen? Art and the Feminist Revolution Art and Resistance The Role of Art in Society Women and the Blues Women and Music Civil and Human Rights in a Democracy Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture Radical Theories of Penalty Women of Color Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Challenge to Racism Transformative Strategies for Women
Books by Angela DavisAbolition Democracy(Seven Stories 2005) Since the breaking of the Abu Ghraib prison story in April 2004, a debate has raged regarding what is and what is not acceptable behavior for the world's leading democracy. Within this context Angela Davis gave a series of interviews to discuss resistance and law, institutional sexual coercion, politics, and prison. Davis talks about her own incarceration, her experiences as an "enemy of the state," and about having been put on the FBI's most wanted list. She talks about the crucial role that international activism played in her case and the cases of many other political prisoners.
Are Prisons Obsolete?(Open Media 2003) In this brilliant, thoroughly researched book, Angela Davis swings a wrecking ball into the racist and sexist underpinnings of the American prison system. Her arguments are well wrought and restrained, leveling an unflinching critique of how and why more than 2 million Americans are presently behind bars, and the corporations who profit from their suffering. Davis explores the biases that criminalize communities of color, politically disenfranchising huge chunks of minority voters in the process. Uncompromising in her vision, Davis calls not merely for prison reform, but for nothing short of 'new terrains of justice. Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman from Georgia
The Angela Y. Davis Reader(Wiley-Blackwell 1998) "Over the past thirty years Angela Davis has stood as a courageous voice of conscience on matters of race, class, and gender in America. Since her imprisonment in the early 1970s hers has been a voice of principle on behalf of the rights of the incarcerated. Joy James has provided a great service in pulling together and making accessible for the first time in a single volume Angela Davis's seminal writings, revealing at once the considerable range of her insightful intellectual contributions across politics, philosophy, and culture." -- David Theo Goldberg, Arizona State University "This collection refutes that often-heard statement - that it is impossible today to be both a true intellectual and a true activist. Everyone who is concerned with the life of the mind as it illuminates the struggle for social justice will be provoked, even inspired, by these writings." - Barbara T. Christian, Professor of African-American Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday(Vintage 1999) In her provocative book, Davis finds, in the work of three pivotal artists of the blues and jazz era, rich terrain for examining a historical feminist consciousness that reflected the lives of working-class black communities. Through her close readings of their lyrics, Davis explores the meanings behind the performances of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey and Bessie Smith. Toppling the prevailing image of the tragic blues woman, she finds that the songs don't portray the desolate and deserted woman; rather, the most frequent stance assumed by the women in these songs is independence and assertiveness, indeed defiance, bordering on and sometimes erupting into violence. Publishers Weekly
Women, Culture and Politics(Vintage 1990) In this 1983-1987 collection of speeches, essays, lectures, and conference reports, Angela Davis continues her unrelenting effort to bring the light of intelligence, internationalism, and inclusion to United States politics. A classically trained scholar who took her learning to heart and put it into action despite the personal risks and political persecution that resulted, she makes her message clear: "The roots of sexism and homophobia are found in the same economic and political institutions that serve as the foundation of racism in this country. . . .Drawing from a vast store of knowledge gathered from statistics, history, classic literature, contemporary poetry, political speeches, international events, and official government policies, Davis offers wisdom and hope in her ruthless analysis of how things are, and an elegant vision of how things could be. -- Jesse Larson
Women, Race and Class(Vintage Books USA 1983) Angela Davis brings us this expose of the women's movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. She uncovers a side of the fight for suffrage many of us have not heard: the intimate tie between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women's suffrage. She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women's movement have divided its own membership. Davis' message is clear: If we ever want equality, we're gonna have to fight for it together. Amazon.com review
Angela Davis: An Autobiography(International Publishers 1989) The political autobiography was published in 1974 by Random House and reissued in 1988 and 2004. The book is built around Davis evading police, but finally being captured in New York City and being charged with three capital offenses due to her alleged participation in an escape attempt at the Marin County Hall of Justice. Davis then weaves her story through her 16 months in jail while awaiting trial, a world-wide campaign calling for her release and her acquittal of all charges in 1972.
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance(Signet; 2nd edition 1972) This is an account of Angela Daviss early days. Topics include revolution, racism, sexual discrimination, the incident, and imprisonment, her own experience as well as many others. In addition, there are contributions from some of the most famous revolutionaries of the 20th century.
All books by Angela Davis are available for purchase from the SpeakOut website.
'We Used to Think There was a Black Community'With her towering afro and radical rhetoric, Angela Davis was one of the iconic faces of black politics in 1970s America. She talks to Gary Younge about Barack Obama, the racism of the black middle class, and how it feels to be remembered as a hairdo by Gary Younge The Guardian, Thursday 8 November 2007 Angela Davis was intrigued to see recently that a significant number of young black women to whom she was delivering a talk were wearing images of her from the 70s on their T-shirts. She asked what the image meant to them. "They said it made them feel powerful and connected to other movements," she says. "It was really quite moving. It really had nothing to do with me. They were using this image as an expressio