book cover of Insubordinate Spaces Insubordinate Spaces

Improvisation and Accompaniment for Social Justice

by Barbara Tomlinson and George Lipsitz

How contemporary activists, artists, and academics oppose oppressive structures of power and unjust social relations to create a more decent and democratic future

Insubordinate spaces are places of possibility, products of acts of accompaniment and improvisation that deepen capacities for democratic social change. Barbara Tomlinson and George Lipsitz’s Insubordinate Spaces explores the challenges facing people committed to social justice in an era when social institutions have increasingly been reconfigured to conform to the imperatives of a market society.

In their book, the authors argue that education, the arts, and activism are key terrains of political and ideological conflict. They explore and analyze exemplary projects responding to current social justice issues and crises, from the Idle No More movement launched by Indigenous people in Canada to the performance art of Chingo Bling, Fandango convenings, the installation art of Ramiro Gomez, and the mass protests proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” in Ferguson, MO. Tomlinson and Lipsitz draw on key concepts from struggles to advance ideas about reciprocal recognition and co-creation as components in the construction of new egalitarian and democratic social relations, practices, and institutions.

Insubordinate Spaces: Improvisation and Accompaniment for Social Justice is from the Insubordinate Spaces series, edited by George Lipsitz, a home for books that resist and rethink the increasingly outsized power market forces wield over public and private life and over the rules and assumptions of scholarly investigation and discourse. The series seeks to explore the origins and evolution of these contemporary and historical subordinating institutions and practices, as well as emergent insubordinate social spaces and institutions crafted to resist market imperatives and provide alternatives to them in the form of new publics, new polities, and new politics.

To read the excerpt Introduction Listening to Jerome Smith and/or buy the book visit the Temple University Press website.

About the Authors

Barbara Tomlinson is a Professor of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is also the author of Undermining Intersectionality: The Perils of Powerblind Feminism and Feminism and Affect: Beyond the Trope of the Angry Feminist (both Temple) and Authors on Writing: Metaphors and Intellectual Labor. She received the Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

 George Lipsitz is a Professor of Black Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His previous books include The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics, How Racism Takes Place and A Life in the Struggle: Ivory Perry and the Culture of Opposition (all Temple). Lipsitz serves as Chair of the boards of Directors of the African American Policy Forum and of the Woodstock Institute and is senior editor of the comparative and relational ethnic studies journal KALFOU.