Books·Canadian

Abolitionist Intimacies

Abolitionist Intimacies is a book by El Jones.

El Jones

Illustrated bees and hummingbirds hover over green, white and yellow illustrations of flowers. The stems of the seven flowers form what appears to be prison bars with the stems connected at the bottom to form a prison cell. The title of the book cover is underneath the drawing.

In Abolitionist Intimacies, El Jones examines the movement to abolish prisons through the Black feminist principles of care and collectivity. Understanding the history of prisons in Canada in their relationship to settler colonialism and anti-Black racism, Jones observes how practices of intimacy become imbued with state violence at carceral sites including prisons, policing and borders, as well as through purported care institutions such as hospitals and social work. The state also polices intimacy through mechanisms such as prison visits, strip searches and managing community contact with incarcerated people.

Despite this, Jones argues, intimacy is integral to the ongoing struggles of prisoners for justice and liberation through the care work of building relationships and organizing with the people inside. Through characteristically fierce and personal prose and poetry, and motivated by a decade of prison justice work, Jones observes that abolition is not only a political movement to end prisons; it is also an intimate one deeply motivated by commitment and love. (From Fernwood Publishing)

El Jones is an award-winning poet, journalist, professor and activist from Halifax. Nova Scotia. She is also a journalism instructor at the University of King's College and the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax.

Interviews with El Jones

El Jones performs her powerful poem for Emancipation Day

1 year ago
Duration 4:56
El Jones, a poet and educator from Halifax, sheds light on the brutal history of slavery in Nova Scotia, and why the struggle for freedom continues today.
Poet and activist El Jones is one of a growing chorus of voices calling on Canadians to speak out against racism within our borders, and calling attention that anti-black racism isn't limited to the United States.
El Jones, Desmond Cole, and Ricardo Lamour talk about the use of the N-word on a program on Radio-Canada in Quebec in 2020, and the debate surrounding the CRTC's majority decision.

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