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Fordham University Press author Dylan Rodríguez named 2020 Freedom Scholar

1st October 2020

Dylan Rodríguez, Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and author of White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logics of Genocide (Fordham University Press, 2020), is one of 12 scholars to win the Freedom Scholars Award—a $250,000 scholarship that supports academics whose influential works are invested in economic and social justice. 

The Marguerite Casey Foundation and Group Health Foundation partnered to create the Freedom Scholars program—a $3 million initiative that awards financial grants to academics who “work at the forefront of abolitionist, Black, feminist, queer, radical, and anti-colonialist studies and critical fields of research that are often underfunded or ignored.” These foundations created this award because they “[recognize] the role that scholars play in cultivating the intellectual infrastructure necessary to nurture movements toward freedom.”  

His new book, White Reconstruction, considers how the creative, imaginative, speculative collective labor of abolitionist praxis can displace and potentially destroy the ascendancy of White Being and Civilization in order to create possibilities for insurgent thriving. 

In accepting the award, Rodríguez says, “I am obligated to contribute my scholarly energy to the advancement of revolts, insurgencies, and abolitionist and liberation struggles that are continuously unfolding nearby and around the world. This is a time to cultivate radical collective genius, and I am committed to challenging all forms of reaction to this genius—including liberal reformism—that threaten to undermine its transformative potential.”

Thinking across a variety of archival, testimonial, visual, and activist texts—from Freedmen’s Bureau documents and the “Join LAPD” hiring campaign to Barry Goldwater’s hidden tattoo and the Pelican Bay prison strike, Rodríguez counter-narrates the long “post–civil rights” half-century as a period of White Reconstruction, in which the struggle to reassemble the ascendancy of White Being permeates the political and institutional logics of diversity, inclusion, formal equality, and “multiculturalist white supremacy.” 

White Reconstruction will be published on October 13, and is available at a 30% discount on using the following code: Freedom2020*

*Expires 12/31/20

“Drawing from a deep reservoir of radical writing and activism, leading abolitionist thinker Dylan Rodríguez creatively frames the current multiculturalist moment as the latest stage of historical reconstructions of white domination. He astutely distinguishes anti-Blackness and racial–colonial power while demonstrating how they remain linked by global white supremacist aspirations and logics. White Reconstruction challenges us to think more radically both by eschewing reformist ideas and terms and by learning from the creative genius of liberationist insurgencies that call us to abolitionist struggle.” –Dorothy Roberts, author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty

“As thoughtful as it is fierce, White Reconstruction is a pleasure for those of us who study and teach history. Refusing to imagine the historian’s concerns as at odds with those of the theorist, Rodríguez shows white supremacy reinventing its forms without losing sight of its imperatives. In consolidating slick new moments of control, rulers retain old modes of domination. Moments of multiculturalism and those of terror against vulnerable populations do not succeed, but instead structure each other in this compelling study.” –David Roediger, author of The Sinking Middle Class: A Political History

About the Author 

Dylan Rodríguez, Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside, served as Chair of Ethnic Studies from 2009 to 2016, and as President of the American Studies Association in 2020–2021. He is the author of Forced Passages: Imprisoned Radical Intellectuals and the U.S. Prison Regime and Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition. He is a founding member of Critical Resistance and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association.

White Reconstruction: Domestic Warfare and the Logics of Genocide
By Dylan Rodríguez 
Fordham University Press; Paperback; October 13, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-8232-8939-4
Critical Race Theory | American Studies | $30.00 
256 pages, 6 b/w illustrations
Ebook Available

Media Contact: If you would like to receive a review copy, request additional information, or schedule an interview with the author, please contact Kate O’Brien-Nicholson, Fordham University Press, 646-868-4204, [email protected].