This multi-medium workshop, performance and presentation—including poetry, creative prose, legal theory and arguments/practices of fugitive lawyering/planning—seeks to chart a path forward in the understanding of how law operates as the public logic of power and how Black interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners of law might engage in re-readings of legal texts, histories and aftermaths in this crucial moment. This rendering argues that Black Americans have been—and remain—fugitives by law and the embracement of this fugitive criminality opens pathways to autonomies and languages of freedom. As fugitives from justice, we are understood as the legal property, debtor and irritant of state; enduring what Hartman has called the “afterlives of slavery.” The blood and conception of the Black Fugitive provides the bounds and ink of jurisprudence; first defining constitutional “freedom” through the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, swimming through the criminality exceptions of the 13th amendment, and continuing with mass deportations and ongoing acquittals of vigilante police, citing constitutional protections. To the settled body the world of the fugitive—the life of flight—is at once unimaginable and the province of fantasy. It cannot be mapped because there is no fixed location, no temporal landing place. It is a place, a practice, an epistemology that is best understood in terms of escape; as escape is the lodestar of the fugitive. But what is the fugitive? How does one become fugitive? Is it of their own making or imputed; a politic, predicament or perhaps some blend? What of fugitive law? And what of a life of flight? Is it possible to imagine life, law and flight together; as projects, predicaments and/or politics of the same community? This rendering poses and attempts to answer these questions in languages and mediums most familiar to the Black experience and linked to conceptions of freedom.
This workshop will be facilitated by Tabias Olajauwon Wilson. Olajuawon Wilson is a 27 year old author, consultant, scholar and artist: a modern twist on the traditional Black griot. Recognized in 2012 as one of the “Top 100 Emerging LGBTQ Leaders” by the White House Office of Public Engagement, their work focuses on the intersections and compounded effects of race, law, sexuality and gender in the United States. A zealous advocate for reproductive and sexual rights, Olajuawon-Wilson also speaks regularly about HIV criminalization, vulnerability, gender, critical love ethics, afro-pessimism, black queer theory, racial capitalism, masculinities, humanization and access to power within and across racial-sexual formations.
Light snacks will be provided.