"A Profound Tenderness" - Orisanmi Burton On Black Masculine Care Work Within Zones Of War


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Orisanmi Burton is a social anthropologist, his research examines grassroots resistance and state repression. He is an assistant professor of anthropology at American University. Currently, as he will discuss briefly in the episode, he is working on a book on prisoner organizing in the New York State prison system, and the Attica Rebellion.

In this episode we are talking about Burton’s recent essay, “Captivity, Kinship & Black Masculine Care Work Under Domestic Warfare.” It was published in the scholarly journal American Anthropologist so if listeners are unable to access a copy and would like to get their hands on one feel free to hit us up or reach out to Orisanmi directly. His twitter is @orisanmi.

In this discussion we talk about understanding prisons as a zone and technology of domestic warfare, about the Black radicals who have theorized this understanding and their place within current academic thought on the prison system. We also talk a bit about Joy James’s concept of the captive maternal, and how letter writing with prisoners has informed Burton’s own intellectual work, specifically around the role that care work or socially reproductive labor has among Black incarcerated men as a mode of resistance to the war waged against Black familial, kinship and communal structures.

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