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Darryl Li

Captive Passages: Empire, Race, and Law in the Forever War

Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 4:00–5:30pm

Foster 107

Two draft chapters will be pre-circulated to all registrants in advance of this workshop.

Two decades on and sliding ever-deeper into public oblivion, the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay endures, zombie-like, going through motions without movement, going nowhere fast: not going away, but hardly a going concern to the outside world. This project attends to the captivity practices of the Forever War—of which Guantánamo was only ever the most notorious example—by situating them in the broader turn to debates over prisons, policing, and white supremacy within the territorial ambit of the United States. It does so by theorizing captivity as a relation of holding, one that enables various forms of subjectivization, narrative, and abstraction. Captive Passages explores the commonalities and connections between the Forever War’s domestic and overseas aspects, but just as importantly attends to their differences. Along the way, some of the questions confronted by this project include theorizing Muslim racialization, regimes of Blackness and anti-Blackness from North America to Muslim-majority societies, law’s relationship to racial capitalism in an empire based largely on indirect influence, and the relationship between abolition and anti-imperialism.

Darryl Li is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Associate Member of the Law School at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Universal Enemy: Jihad, Empire, and the Challenge of Solidarity (Stanford University Press, 2020) and is an attorney licensed in Illinois and New York.

This event is free and open to the public, and registration is required. Please email us at  if you require any accommodations to enable your full participation.