Reading for Liberation

GenForward Reading Room

The GenForward Reading Room is a space for activists, organizers, and early career scholars of color to foster community and deepen their engagement with the logics that organize our day-to-day lives. We seek to facilitate a space for collaboration and growth together, particularly with those who might otherwise be excluded from the production of knowledge in their organizations, institutions, or the broader society.

About the Project

The GenForward Reading Room is a curated space for early career academics and activists/organizers of color seeking to learn together about, deepen their engagement with, and examine the logics which organize our day-to-day lives. The reading room is not only a space to engage with texts about colonialism, abolitionism, decarcerality, intersectionality, queer theory, and the like, it is also a space to foster community and inclusion for young scholars and thinkers who who might otherwise be excluded from the production of knowledge in their organizations, institutions, or the broader society. The syllabus for this reading group will be highly adaptable and interactive and will include full length books, podcasts, films, public-facing articles, and other forms of media that align with the goals of this endeavor.

Some examples of pieces that we’ll engage with together include Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna Samarashinha, Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter by Tehama Lopez Bunyasi and Candis Watts Smith, NPR’s Code Switch podcast, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law by Dean Spade, Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism by Laura E Gómez, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation by Jasmine Syedullah, Lama Rod Owens and Angel Kyodo Williams, and The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Partner Violence Within Activist Communities by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Chin-In Chen and Jai Dulani. We have a public syllabus forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Our Goals
  • We seek to facilitate a reading and learning space dedicated to challenging existing patriarchal, white supremacist, and carceral logics which lie at the foundation of higher education and academic knowledge production.
  • We intend to develop this space in collaboration with one another’s intellectual contributions, respecting and centering each participant’s inherent value, worth, and knowledge.
  • We will decenter whiteness, patriarchy, and notions of capitalist production which dominate the academy. Instead, we will focus on healing, mutual accountability, and the expansiveness of what it means to rest at multiple margins of identity today.
  • We hope to interrogate how our reliance on “canonical” readings within our disciplinary boundaries or “experts” in public facing media foreclose on liberationist modes of knowledge production.

The Reading Room is curated and led by Drs. Jenn M Jackson, Diane Wong, & Vlad Medenica