Schools, Prisons, and Blackness in America: A Conversation with Damien Sojoyner

In this episode AnthroPod travels to the Southern California Library to speak with Damien Sojoyner, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine. Recorded in November 2017, the conversation begins by addressing the library itself, which has served as an archival institution as well as community organizing space in Los Angeles since the 1970s. We also discuss Sojoyner's recent book project, First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles, which critiques the trope of the school-to-prison pipeline by examining public schools in California as sites of enclosure for various forms of Black life. Scaling out, Sojoyner reflects on the current political moment, including educational policies under the Donald Trump administration and the relevance of racial capitalism to contemporary race relations in the United States.

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Photo courtesy of Damien Sojoyner.
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Archival boxes at the Southern California Library. Photo by Tariq Rahman.

Tariq Rahman produced this episode of AnthroPod. Special thanks to Damien Sojoyner for sitting down with us, and to Marios Falaris for his invaluable feedback as Executive Producer.

AnthroPod features interviews with anthropologists about their work, experiences in the field, and current events. To pitch your own episode ideas or to offer feedback, email us at anthropod@culanth.org.

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Further Reading and Listening

Music

Intro: All the Colors in the World by Podington Bear

Transitions: Improvisations 12_14_12 by Split Phase; Catching Glitter by Split Phase

Outro: cure by fascinating earthbound objects