An inspiring personal testimonial woven with political analysis, Community as Rebellion offers a meditation on the possibilities of creating spaces of freedom within the university for students and faculty of color who often experience violence and unbelonging due to the colonizing, racializing, classist, and unequal structures that sustain academia and the university.
Sharing stories, personal reflections, and experiences, the author invites readers—in particular Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian women—to engage in liberatory practices of boycott and abolition, in contrast with the university’s tokenizing and exploitative structures that shape our experiences in the academy, and hinder our possibilities of survival and success. Paired with radical community building, these practices are necessary for survival and critical for fighting back against a system that destroys us. One key site of freedom-making in the university is the classroom. Meditating on teaching ethnic studies, the author invites teachers to think about activism and social justice as central to what she calls “teaching in freedom,” a progressive form of collective learning that prioritizes subjugated knowledge, silenced histories, and the epistemologies that come from the Global South and from Indigenous, Black, and brown communities. By teaching in and for freedom we not only acknowledge the harm that the university has inflicted on our persons and our ways of knowing since its inception, but also create alternative ways to be, to create, to live, and to succeed through our work.
“With characteristic clarity, courage, and conviction, Lorgia García Peña draws on her remarkable history as an engaged scholar and committed activist to demonstrate the necessity of living in community and accompanying others as keys to both personal liberation and social transformation.” —George Lipsitz, author of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness
“Unflinching, brilliant, and absolutely necessary. In these pages, Lorgia García Peña shares her experiences—and others’—to reflect on what it means to be ‘the stranger’ in academia: that sole symbol for diversity that still remains an outsider. Unwavering in its clarity and compassion, this powerful book reminds us that true belonging comes from actively building communities unafraid to center care and rebellion. Everyone should read this.” —Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize
“‘What does it mean to teach for freedom?’ Dr. García Peña asks and boldly beckons us toward its practice across the policed borders of discipline, nation, theoretical traditions, and entrenched racial categories. A capacious thinker, rigorous researcher, brilliant activist, and path-breaking scholar, Dr. García Peña calls on us not simply, as she writes, to ‘mind the historical gaps’ for long-subjugated stories but alerts us to the ways these gaps have been historically mined in extractive ways in the service of colonial projects and neoliberal calls for diversity. Her astonishing work gathers us under its broad canopy to plot and persevere toward communal rebellion and renewal.” —Deborah Paredez, Columbia University