Carceral Studies Reading Group

This group offers a space for interdisciplinary study, discussion, and engagement on the prison and abolition, through the scholarly field of carceral studies and through the writings of prisoners themselves.

All meetings are at 4:30 PM unless otherwise noted.

September 7: Race, technology, and policing—Carceral Studies’ current questions 

Ruha Benjamin, ed., Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (Durham: Duke University Press, 2019), 1–22, 107–29.

September 14: Prison Writing

September 21: Foucault and his Limitations

Selections from Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York: Vintage Books, 1995).

Mary Gibson, “Global Perspectives on the Birth of the Prison,” The American Historical Review 1116, no. 4 (October 2011): 1040–63.

September 28: Prison Writing

October 5: Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: The New Press, 2012), 175–220.

Jacob Dlamini, The Terrorist Album: Apartheid’s Insurgents, Collaborators, and the Security Police (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2020), 1–9, 13–22, 168–90.

October 12: Prison Writing

October 26: Mass Incarceration

Selection from Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

Heather Ann Thompson, “Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History,” The Journal of American History 97, no. 3 (December 2010): 703–34.

November 2: Prison Writing

November 9: The Visual and the Carceral

Nicole R. Fleetwood, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2020), chapter 1.

Stephen Dillon, “The Prisoner’s Dream: Queer Visions from Solitary Confinement,” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 23, no. 2 (2015): 161–84.

November 16: Prison Writing

November 23: Gendering Confinement

Assata Shakur, “Women in Prison: How We Are,” The Black Scholar 9, no. 7 (1978): 8–15.

Sarah Haley, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016), 1–57

November 30: Prison Writing

December 7: Abolition