When faced with questions about the history of civil disobedience, most political theorists today turn to the same threefold genealogy, to which besides Henry David Thoreau, civil disobedience's “founding father,” the Indian independence movement, the antinuclear movement, and the African American civil rights movement are said to rightfully belong. The correspondent pantheon of civil disobedience is constituted by well-known figments of the field's political imagination: political activists and theorists ranging from Mohandas Gandhi and Bertrand Russell to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. are all said to be part of what has been called since the 1960s a great tradition.

Sarah Schulman's detailed oral history of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) New York offers materials that enable us to enrich such genealogies—and to pluralize, in Erin Pineda's (2022: 31) words, “the intellectual resources that are taken to be the stuff of political theory.” In...

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