Brendan Hornbostel is an MA student in American Studies at George Washington University interested in studying the history and political philosophy of antiracist and anticapitalist social movements in the US. Previously, they studied English and philosophy at UCLA and have continued to organize in white antiracist spaces against police brutality and mass incarceration in Los Angeles and DC.
What are you studying/working on right now?
My current work is focused on studying marronage (the creation of autonomous fugitive slave communities) as a political theory for modern antiracist and anticapitalist movements, as well as analyzing the importance of political economy to a historical understanding of racialized policing, surveillance, and incarceration.
Where/what did you study as an undergraduate?
I got my undergraduate degree from UCLA with a major in English and a minor in philosophy.
Why American Studies and why GW?
As someone with interests in history, political philosophy, cultural studies, and journalism, American Studies gives me the opportunity to engage with all these disciplines and methodologies. And the faculty in American Studies at GW have been incredibly helpful and thoughtful in challenging my thoughts and ideas every day for the better.
If you were stuck on an island and could only have one book to read, which would you choose?
George Jackson's Blood in My Eye, because it keeps me grounded.
What American city would you spend the rest of your life in and why?
DC (as long as my rent control holds up) or my hometown of San Francisco (if my parents ever wanted to house-swap)
What advice would you give to GW undergraduates in American Studies?
Don't be afraid to challenge everything and everyone, including scholars, professors, peers, and especially me (your TAs)!