Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions

Power, Diversity, and the Emancipatory Struggle in Higher Education

Edited by Bianca C. Williams, Dian D. Squire, and Frank A. Tuitt

Subjects: Higher Education, African American Studies, Sociology, Education Policy And Leadership
Series: SUNY series, Critical Race Studies in Education
Paperback : 9781438482682, 362 pages, July 2021
Hardcover : 9781438482675, 362 pages, March 2021

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


Introduction: "Carving Out a Humanity": Campus Rebellions and the Legacy of Plantation Politics on College Campuses
Bianca C. Williams and Frank A. Tuitt

Part I: Capitalism and Colonial Vestiges of White Supremacy in Higher Education

1. Framing Plantation Politics: Allochronism's Pull on Contemporary Formations of Higher Education
Dian D. Squire

2. Plantation Pedagogies in Contemporary Higher Education Classrooms: Instruments of the Slave Society and Manifestations of Plantation Politics
Saran Stewart

3. "Troubling the Waters": Unpacking and (Re)Imagining the Historical and Contemporary Complexity of Historically Black College and University Cultural Politics
Steve D. Mobley Jr., Sunni L. Solomon II, A. C. Johnson, and Patrick Reynolds

4. Fugitive Slave Act(s): The Emergence of Black Studies as an Exemplar for Black Future(s) Insurrection
Wilson Kwamogi Okello

Part II: Institutional Rhetoric and the False Promises of "Diversity" and "Inclusion"

5. Inclusion = Racial Violence? Time, Space, and the Afterlife of the Plantation
Armond Towns

6. Future Thinking and Freedom Making: Antidiversity as an Intervention to the Plantation Politics of Higher Education
Jesse Carr, Nicole Truesdell, Catherine M. Orr, and Lisa Anderson-Levy

7. The Contemporary Chief Diversity Officer and the Plantation Driver: The Reincarnation of a Diversity Management Position
Frank A. Tuitt

8. The Campus Underground Railroad: Strategies of Resistance, Care, and Courage within University Cultural Centers
Toby S. Jenkins, Rosalind Conerly, Liane I. Hypolite, and Lori D. Patton

Part III: Resistance and Repression: Campus Politics and Legislative Acts of Anti-Blackness

9. Resistance In and Out of the University: Student Activist Political Subjectivity and the Liberal Institution
Kristi Carey

10. Repurposing the Confederacy: Understanding Issues Surrounding the Removal and Contextualization of Lost Cause Iconography at Southern Colleges and Universities
R. Eric Platt, Holly A. Foster, and Lauren Yarnell Bradshaw

11. Codes of Silence: Campus and State Responses to Student Protest
Kevin J. Bazner and Andrea Button

12. "When Lions Have Historians": Black Political Literacy in the Carceral University
Orisanmi Burton

Afterword: Against Higher Education: Instruments of Insurrection
D-L Stewart

About the Editors

Argues that plantation life, its racialized inequities, and the ongoing struggle against them are embedded in not only the physical structures but also the everyday workings of higher education.


Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions provides a multidisciplinary exploration of the contemporary university's entanglement with the history of slavery and settler colonialism in the United States. Inspired by more than a hundred student-led protests during the Movement for Black Lives, contributors examine how campus rebellions—and university responses to them—expose the racialized inequities at the core of higher education. Plantation politics are embedded in the everyday workings of universities—in not only the physical structures and spaces of academic institutions, but in its recruitment and attainment strategies, hiring practices, curriculum, and notions of sociality, safety, and community. The book is comprised of three sections that highlight how white supremacy shapes campus communities and classrooms; how current diversity and inclusion initiatives perpetuate inequality; and how students, staff, and faculty practice resistance in the face of institutional and legislative repression. Each chapter interrogates a connection between the academy and the plantation, exploring how Black people and their labor are viewed as simultaneously essential and disruptive to university cultures and economies. The volume is an indispensable read for students, faculty, student affairs professionals, and administrators invested in learning more about how power operates within education and imagining emancipatory futures.

Bianca C. Williams is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and author of The Pursuit of Happiness: Black Women, Diasporic Dreams, and the Politics of Emotional Transnationalism. Dian D. Squire is Assistant Professor of Counseling-Student Affairs at Northern Arizona University. Frank A. Tuitt is Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, and Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut and coeditor (with Chayla Haynes and Saran Stewart) of Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment: The Global Relevance of Critical and Inclusive Pedagogies in Higher Education.


"…Plantation Politics and Campus Rebellions is notable in that it signals one of the first extended meditations on antiblackness in higher education in its collection of writings and engagements across disciplinary type. Further, what this text makes most crucially clear in its investment in mapping the power relations of plantation is an invitation to center the actions of Black people directly––often painfully absent in scholarship that attends anti-black racism. And for that reason alone, the text deserves more than credit." — Professor Educator Advance

"This collection of essays is a timely and vital contribution to the examination of race in higher education. These are hard-hitting essays from an extraordinary slate of contributors." — Ms. Magazine