Astra Taylor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Astra Taylor
Taylor in 2014
Born (1979-09-30) September 30, 1979 (age 44)
Alma mater
(m. 2008)
RelativesSunaura Taylor (sister)

Astra Taylor (born September 30, 1979)[1] is a Canadian-American documentary filmmaker, writer, activist, and musician. She is a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation for her work on challenging predatory practices around debt.[2]


Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Taylor grew up in Athens, Georgia,[3] and was unschooled until age 13 when she enrolled in ninth grade.[4] At 16 she abandoned high school to attend classes at the University of Georgia; at the university she studied Deleuze and Guattari under Ronald L. Bogue.[5] She has described herself as a "teenage Deleuzian."[6]

Taylor enrolled at Brown University, where she attended classes for a year before dropping out. Reflecting on her decision to leave, Taylor stated "Why had I felt compelled to enroll in an Ivy League school, to excel by the standards of conventional education and choose a 'difficult' major, instead of making my own way? What was I afraid of?"[7] Taylor completed a Master of Arts in liberal studies at The New School, though stated that she ultimately "wearied" of academia.[8]

Taylor has taught sociology at the University of Georgia and SUNY New Paltz. Her writings have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dissent,[9] n+1,[10] Adbusters,[11] The Baffler,[12] The Nation,[13] Salon,[14] and The London Review of Books.[15]

Taylor at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society in 2015

Taylor is the sister of painter and disability activist Sunny Taylor,[16] and is married to Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel.[17] She joined Neutral Milk Hotel onstage for a number of shows in 2013 and 2014, playing guitar and accordion.[18] She is a vegan.[19] She lives in New York.[20]


Taylor was active in the Occupy movement and was the co-editor of Occupy!: An OWS-Inspired Gazette with Sarah Leonard of Dissent magazine and Keith Gessen of n+1.[21] The broadsheet covered Occupy Wall Street in five issues over the course of the first year of the occupation and was later anthologized by Verso Books.[22] Taylor is a co-founder of Debt Collective, a debtors' union fighting to cancel debts.[23][24]

Taylor has resisted the label "activist" in her writing[25] and advocates organized movement building, which she says is a necessary supplement to activism which makes it more durable and effective.

She is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America[26] and on the Progressive International council.[27]




  • Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers (editor), The New Press, 2009, ISBN 9781595584472[30]
  • Occupy!: Scenes From Occupied America (co-editor), Verso, 2012, ISBN 9781844679409[31]
  • The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, Henry Holt and Company, 2014, ISBN 9780007525591[32]
  • "The faux-bot revolution", in A Field Guide to The Future of Work, RSA Future Work Centre, 2018[33]
  • Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone, Metropolitan Books, 2019, ISBN 9781250179845
  • Can't Pay, Won't Pay: The Case for Economic Disobedience and Debt Abolition (forward), Haymarket Books, 2020, ISBN 9781642594003[34]
  • Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions, Haymarket Books, 2020, ISBN 9781642594546[35]
  • The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together as Things Fall Apart (CBC Massey Lectures), Anansi Press, 2023, ISBN 1487011938


Other works[edit]

Taylor occasionally performs with her husband's band, Neutral Milk Hotel.


  1. ^ Tortorici, Dayna, ed. (2013), "Group three", No Regrets: Three Discussions, Brooklyn, New York, p. 71, retrieved December 30, 2014{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  2. ^ "Astra Taylor". September 2015. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Archived January 3, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Astra Taylor's official bio, accessed February 8, 2009
  4. ^ Drew, Michelle. "Interview with Unschooled Filmmaker, Astra Taylor". CitizenShift. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Interview: Astra Taylor, Director EXAMINED LIFE". Still in Motion. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  6. ^ Toro, Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, Nick Scholl, David. "Astra Taylor | Digital Democracy and Direct Action". DIS Magazine. Retrieved November 21, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ "The Unschooled Life: Astra Taylor's Story". PopularResistance.Org. January 16, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "Interview: Astra Taylor, Director EXAMINED LIFE". Still in Motion. Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  9. ^ "Authors: Astra Taylor". Dissent Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  10. ^ "Astra Taylor - Authors". n+1. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  11. ^ "Astra Taylor". Adbusters. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  12. ^ "Astra Taylor - The Baffler". The Baffler. June 5, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2023.
  13. ^ "Author Bios: Astra Taylor". The Nation. April 2, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  14. ^ "Astra Taylor". Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  15. ^ "Astra Taylor". The London Review of Books. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  16. ^ Brown, A.L. (January 2002). "Aardvarks, Armadillos, and an Artist in Greenpoint - Sunny Taylor: A Profile". Free Williamsburg. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2009.
  17. ^ Article from Glorious Noise, accessed February 8, 2009.
  18. ^ Jarnow, Jesse. "Neutral Milk Hotel's First Show in 15 Years Was Ragged, Glorious". Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  19. ^ "Jeff Mangum Benefit for WFAS". Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. October 28, 2011. Archived from the original on April 5, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  20. ^ Taylor, Astra (2014). The People's Platform. New York.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  21. ^ "Read Our New Gazette". n+1. October 21, 2011. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  22. ^ Verso Books. December 2011. ISBN 9781844679409. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  23. ^ Remake the World: (Part 1), archived from the original on December 15, 2021, retrieved May 14, 2021
  24. ^ "You are not a loan • Debt Collective". Retrieved May 14, 2021.
  25. ^ Astra., Taylor, Remake the World : Essays, Reflections, Rebellions, ISBN 978-1-6661-2886-4, OCLC 1285604061, retrieved December 10, 2021
  26. ^ @DemSocialists (August 8, 2021). ".@astradisastra quotes Richard Trumka and talks about the importance of organization for socialists" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  27. ^ "New council member Astra Taylor United States". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved September 19, 2023.
  28. ^ Phillips, Charlie (June 11, 2018). "What Is Democracy? review searing analysis of who's really in control". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  29. ^ Brown, Drew (September 11, 2018). "The Epic Conversation About Democracy We Need Right Now". Vice. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  30. ^ Dougherty, Sally (December 2009). "Book Review Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers edited by Astra Taylor". Theosophy Northwest. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  31. ^ Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America. Verso Books. December 2011. ISBN 9781844679409. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  32. ^ Wu, Tim (July 18, 2014). "Content and Its Discontents". The New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2014. "The People's Platform" should be taken as a challenge by the new media that have long claimed to be improving on the old order. Can they prove they are capable of supporting a sustainable cultural ecosystem, in a way that goes beyond just hosting parties at the Sundance Film Festival?
  33. ^ "Field Guide to the Future of Work: Essay collection - RSA". January 9, 2019. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  34. ^ "Can't Pay, Won't Pay".
  35. ^ Remake the World: Essays, Reflections, Rebellions. Haymarket Books. May 4, 2021. ISBN 9781642594546.

External links[edit]

External videos
video icon "Utopian Potential of the Internet": Astra Taylor on How to Take Back Power & Culture in Digital Age, Democracy Now, April 25, 2014