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Fugitive Thought: Prison Movements, Race, and the Meaning of Justice

Synopsis

In Fugitive Thought, Michael Hames-Garcma argues that writings by prisoners are instances of practical social theory that seek to transform the world. Unlike other authors who have studied prisons or legal theory, Hames-Garcma views prisoners as political and social thinkers whose ideas are as important as those of lawyers and philosophers.

As key moral terms like "justice," "solidarity," and "freedom" have come under suspicion in the post-Civil Rights era, political discussions on the Left have reached an impasse. Fugitive Thought reexamines and reinvigorates these concepts through a fresh approach to philosophies of justice and freedom, combining the study of legal theory and of prison literature to show how the critiques and moral visions of dissidents and participants in prison movements can contribute to the shaping and realization of workable ethical conceptions. Fugitive Thought focuses on writings by black and Latina/o lawyers and prisoners to flesh out the philosophical underpinnings of ethical claims within legal theory and prison activism.

Michael Hames-Garcma is assistant professor of English and of philosophy, interpretation, and culture at Binghamton University, State University of New York.