Of Schools and Prisons: Marronage and Futurity in Late Capitalist New Orleans

Authors: Justin Hosbey*, Emory University
Topics: Cultural Geography, United States
Keywords: blackness, race, black geographies, futurity, education
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Napoleon D2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in 2005, the Louisiana State legislature fired over 7,000 New Orleans educators, administrators, and employees. The state then immediately ordered the conversion of all New Orleans public schools into privately managed charter schools. Using insights from 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork in two working class Black communities in New Orleans, this paper examines Black sociality in neoliberal, post-Katrina New Orleans by exploring the social consequences of this privatization of the city’s public school system. This paper elucidates the ways that collective trauma and social memory of state retrenchment after previous environmental catastrophe influence the expressive culture and subjectivities of Black residents, informing their critiques of school privatization and anti-Black state violence. Also explored is the way that local activists invoke the cultural memory of historical Black insurgency in New Orleans to stimulate contemporary political mobilization and generate new, ethical human cartographies for the future of Black life in the city.

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