Ruha Benjamin at Harvard Book Store
Imagination: A Manifesto
in conversation with TRACY K. SMITH
February 8, 2024
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes RUHA BENJAMIN—author of the Stowe Prize-winning Viral Justice—for a discussion of her new book Imagination: A Manifesto. She will be joined in conversation by TRACY K. SMITH—22nd Poet Laureate of the United States and author of the Pulizter Prize-winning Life on Mars.
About Imagination: A Manifesto
A world without prisons? Ridiculous. Schools that foster the genius of every child? Impossible. Work that doesn’t strangle the life out of people? Naive. A society where everyone has food, shelter, love? In your dreams. Exactly. Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University professor, insists that imagination isn’t a luxury. It is a vital resource and powerful tool for collective liberation.
Imagination: A Manifesto is her proclamation that we have the power to use our imaginations to challenge systems of oppression and to create a world in which everyone can thrive. But obstacles abound. We have inherited destructive ideas that trap us inside a dominant imagination. Consider how racism, sexism, and classism make hierarchies, exploitation, and violence seem natural and inevitable―but all emerged from the human imagination.
The most effective way to disrupt these deadly systems is to do so collectively. Benjamin highlights the educators, artists, activists, and many others who are refuting powerful narratives that justify the status quo, crafting new stories that reflect our interconnection, and offering creative approaches to seemingly intractable problems.
Imagination: A Manifesto offers visionary examples and tactics to push beyond the constraints of what we think, and are told, is possible. This book is for anyone who is ready to take to heart Toni Morrison’s instruction: “Dream a little before you think.”
Praise for Imagination: A Manifesto
"Ruha Benjamin reminds us that in our collective imaginations we already have everything we need to make the world we want to live in. Imagination is a lovely volume with a meditation on the power of being human: we can dream, if we only believe that we can." ―Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of Thick: And Other Essays
"Only Ruha Benjamin could have written this gift of a book. Science and technology’s most astute social critic, she knows the power of imagination―the incubator of breathtaking beauty and the atomic bomb. Bold, brilliant, and visionary, Benjamin’s manifesto asks us to wage love, to imagine an abolitionist, compassionate, just world against the venal dreams of warmongers and billionaires. An essential weapon in our struggle to save life." ―Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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