Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production

Edited by Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich
Published by OR Books, in association with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics



230 pages, $17.00 | e-book $10.00
Available for purchase at OR Book
Boycott and divestment are essential tools for activists around the globe. Today's organizers target museums, universities, corporations, and governments to curtail unethical sources of profit, discriminatory practices, or human rights violations. They leverage cultural production – and challenge its institutional supports – helping transform situations in the name of social justice.

The refusal to participate in an oppressive system has long been one of the most powerful instruments in the organizer's arsenal. Since the days of the 19th century Irish land wars, when Irish tenant farmers defied the actions of Captain Charles Boycott and English landlords, "boycott" has been a method that's shown its effectiveness time and again. In the 20th century, it notably played central roles in the liberation of India and South Africa and the struggle for civil rights in the U.S.: the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott is generally seen as a turning point in the movement against segregation.

Assuming Boycott is the essential reader for today's creative leaders and cultural practitioners, and includes original contributions by artists, scholars, activists, critics, curators and writers examine four key areas: the historical precedent of South Africa; the current cultural boycott of Israel; freedom of speech and self-censorship; and long-distance activism. Far from representing withdrawal or cynicism, boycott emerges as a special condition for discourse, artmaking and political engagement.

Assuming Boycott features twelve newly commissioned essays and six contributions by Nasser Abourahme, Ariella Azoulay, Tania Bruguera, Noura Erakat, Kareem Estefan, Mariam Ghani with Haig Aivazian, Nathan Gray and Ahmet Öğüt, Chelsea Haines, Sean Jacobs, Yazan Khalili, Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich, Svetlana Mintcheva, Naeem Mohaiemen, Hlonipha Mokoena, John Peffer, Joshua Simon, Ann Laura Stoler, Radhika Subramaniam, Eyal Weizman and Kareem Estefan, and Frank B. Wilderson III.


Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency, and Cultural Production is published by OR Books, in association with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.

For pre-orders -- at a discount! -- please visit OR Books.

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