University hosts 'Abolish the Family' book talk

Sophie Lewis, an author and professor, spoke at UMass Boston on November 16 to discuss her book 'Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation.'

Lewis is a faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research where she 'teaches courses on feminist, trans and queer politics and philosophy.'

Sophie Lewis, an author and professor, spoke at UMass Boston on November 16 to discuss her book “Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation.”

Lewis is a faculty member at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research where she “teaches courses on feminist, trans and queer politics and philosophy.” “Abolish the Family” suggests that the nuclear family is racist and sexist. Her scholarship also argues that children should have more say in healthcare choices such as gender transitions. 

Ideas from “Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation” stem from utopian socialist and sex radical Charles Fourier, communist family abolitionist Alexandra Kollontai, feminist Shulamith Firestone, and “queer marxists bringing family abolition to the twenty-first century” according to Verso Books. 

Lewis’ book suggests that “Nobody is more likely to harm you than your family.”

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Lola Olufemi’s review of “Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation” states, “Lewis draws on a number of radical political genealogies to say ‘no’ - the nuclear family is a deficient provider of care and resource, a conceptual footstool for the racist nation-state and its many border regimes, a hotbed of gendered exploitation and violence.” 

“You can’t overthrow capitalism, I think, without changing the family,” Lewis told Ben Smoke of Verso Books in a recent interview discussing her book.

Lewis finds it terrifying that the left is afraid to “say children are people with bodily autonomy and sexualities and have the right to be part of the world and to determine perhaps not just their healthcare needs but also maybe who they live with and how they live.”

She feels her work “is especially important right now with the assault on transgender children.” 

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Lewis’ Brooklyn Institute biography mentions Blind Field Journal, a publication that lists her as a frequent contributor. Through Blind Field Journal, Lewis fosters “communities of Marxist-feminist cultural criticism.” 

The Center for the Humanities, Culture, and Society at UMass Boston hosted Lewis.

This year’s focus for the Center for the Humanities, Culture, and Society is the word “break,” which they define as “the desire to break down structures and begin anew as well as the need to reinscribe the separation between work and life.”

Campus Reform has reported a trend in universities producing scholarship and hosting events that reflect Marxist ideas.

The Interdisciplinary Marxist Working Group at the University of California, Berkeley, focuses on the “ongoing relevance of Marxism to the current historical moment, as an explicitly global project.”

Multiple Universities hosted “'Marxist Schools'” this fall sponsored by Socialist Revolution, the International Marxist Tendency’s publication. 

Campus Reform contacted UMass, Sophie Lewis, and the Center for the Humanities, Culture, and Society for comment and will update accordingly.