It may seem that freedom is the condition for writing: freedom from material necessity, afforded by money; freedom of expression in politics and society; or freedom for words to wander, perhaps, in no hurry. From these forms of freedom we derive elements of literary society: full-time jobs and protected programs, token writers, and institutions at large dedicated to the enterprise. But if freedom is incorporated, what is writing stripped of?
In this seminar, we will read those who wrote in prison. Works may include Sonallah Ibrahim's novel, Antonio Gramsci's notebooks, Assata Shakur and Malcolm X's biographies, Michel Foucault's history, and recent writing from Palestine. How do these writers acquire agency in the midst of constraint? In fiction, biography, and theory, how do they respond not only to their own condition, but to society at large, illuminating the nature of freedom - or lack thereof - beyond the prison walls?
Throughout the course, we will engage with ongoing black and Palestinian, as well as anti-fascist, prison struggles. As such, we will reflect on our own moment. Do forms of freedom popular today imprison our own capacities, literary or otherwise? How is writing affected by hegemony and convention, colonial ways of knowing and of expression? What, then, can the radical thought of Malcolm and Gramsci, the words of Basel and Mohanad, teach us about freedom, abolition, urgency?
Course convener: A. M. Awad
Tuition: 200 JDs. Scholarships are available to all those who cannot afford the full cost, regardless of age, nationality, or employment status.