On Abolition Ecologies and Making “Freedom as a Place”

Heynen, N. and M. Ybarra (2020) “On Abolition Ecologies and Making ‘Freedom as a Place’” Antipode.


This introduction calls for political ecology to systematically engage with the ways that white supremacy shapes human relationships with land through entangled processes of settler colonialism, empire and racial capitalism. To develop the analytic of abolition ecology, we begin with the articulation of W.E.B. Du Bois’ abolition democracy together with Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s spatially attuned analytic of abolition geography. Rather than define communities by the violence they suffer, abolition ecologies call for attention to radical place‐making and the land, air and water based environments within which places are made. To that end, we suggest that an abolition ecology demands attention to the ways that coalitional land‐based politics dismantle oppressive institutions and to the promise of abolition, which Gilmore describes as making “freedom as a place”.