Become Ungovernable: An Abolition Feminist Ethic for Democratic Living (Black Critique) (Paperback)

Become Ungovernable: An Abolition Feminist Ethic for Democratic Living (Black Critique) By H.L.T. Quan Cover Image
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'Phenomenal ... Offers us possibilities for rescuing the concept of democracy from its fatal entanglement with racial, heteropatriarchal capitalism' -- Angela Y. Davis

'Embraces the unruliness of collective struggle, and recognizes freedom not as a destination but practice—an abolitionist, feminist, anticapitalist, antiracist, radically inclusive practice' -- Robin D.G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams

'A compelling and inspiring book that belongs in our movements and our classrooms' -- Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of Feminism Without Borders

'An elegantly written masterpiece' -- Barbara Ransby, author of Making All Black Lives Matter 

Become Ungovernable is a provocative new work of political thought setting out to reclaim “freedom”, “justice”, and “democracy”, revolutionary ideas that are all too often warped in the interests of capital and the state. Revealing the mirage of mainstream democratic thought and the false promises of liberal political ideologies, H.L.T. Quan offers an alternative approach: an abolition feminism drawing on a kaleidoscope of refusal praxes, and on a deep engagement with the Black Radical Tradition and queer analytics.

With each chapter anchored by episodes from the long history of resistance and rebellions against tyranny, Quan calls for us to take up a feminist ethic of living rooted in the principles of radical inclusion, mutuality and friendship as part of the larger toolkit for confronting fascism, white supremacy, and the neoliberal labor regime.

H.L.T. Quan is a political theorist, award-winning filmmaker and Associate Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Quan is the author of Growth Against Democracy and editor of Cedric J. Robinson.

About the Author


H. L. T. Quan is a political theorist and an award-winning filmmaker. She is an Associate Professor of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Quan is the author of Growth Against Democracy: Savage Developmentalism in the Modern World and editor of Cedric J. Robinson: On Racial Capitalism, Black Internationalism, and Cultures of Resistance.

Praise For…


'In Become Ungovernable, H.L.T. Quan offers us possibilities for rescuing the concept of democracy from its fatal entanglement with racial, heteropatriarchal capitalism. This phenomenal text urges us to seek radical democratic futures, not in more equitable modes of governance, but rather in revolutionary community-making practices – especially those emanating from anti-racist and abolition feminist traditions.'
Angela Y. Davis

'Quite simply a brilliant, original, and capacious work of political theory anchored in an erudite analysis of core concepts like representative democracy, democratic elitism, authoritarianism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, justice, and governance. A compelling and inspiring book that belongs in our movements and our classrooms.'
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, author of Feminism Without Borders, Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity

'An elegantly written masterpiece that covers a breathtaking amount of intellectual, political, and geographic territory: from the pre-Civil War American South to rebellions in northern China to the Zapatista experiment in Chiapas, Mexico. Building on a vast body of feminist, Black radical, and abolitionist literature, H.L.T. Quan calls for a feminist ethic of care as a guiding principle for the future, rejecting state-centered solutions as non-solutions to our collective longing for freedom and free spaces.'
Barbara Ransby, historian, writer, longtime activist, author of Making All Black Lives Matter

'A masterpiece expression of H.L.T. Quan’s lifework. Reflecting analytical, theoretical, and creative insights cultivated through 25+ years as a documentary filmmaker and several decades as one of the most careful, uncompromising, thoughtful critical caretakers of the living Black radical archive conceptualized by the late, great Cedric Robinson, this book is a gift to all who are serious about the conjoined tasks of abolition and liberation.'
Dylan Rodríguez, University of California at Riverside, founding member of Critical Resistance and Cops Off Campus

'An unruly book. Leaping across broad swaths of time and space, H.L.T. Quan exposes the prison house of liberal antidemocracy and the accumulation of rebellions inside in order to construct a theory of democracy as radical praxis. “Democratic living,” as she calls it, refuses the tyranny of order, embraces the unruliness of collective struggle, and recognizes freedom not as a destination but practice—an abolitionist, feminist, anticapitalist, antiracist, radically inclusive practice. In other words, to preserve life and break liberalism’s hold, we have to make a living. Quan shows us a way.'
Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination


Product Details
ISBN: 9780745349114
ISBN-10: 0745349110
Publisher: Pluto Press
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: Black Critique