[URBANTH-L]AAA 2008 CFP: Penal Cities and Carceral States: Activism, Anthropology and Mass Incarceration

Nina Brown nbrown at mica.edu
Fri Mar 14 20:41:06 EDT 2008

Call for Papers
Proposed Session
American Anthropological Association (AAA), Nov. 19-Nov. 23, 2008 Hilton 
Park and Towers, San Francisco

Penal Cities and Carceral States: Activism, Anthropology and Mass 

Kristi Brian (Temple University) and Nina Brown (Maryland Institute College 
of Art)

As the United States continues to outpace the rest of the world in 
incarceration rates with over 2 million people in prison and nearly 5 
million people on parole, probation or house arrest, more North American 
lives are affected by imprisonment than ever before. This panel will 
highlight the convergence and collaboration between activists and 
anthropologists working to uncover the myriad ways in which policies and 
practices of confinement are changing our national landscape.

The papers on this panel will explore Angela Davis' paradoxical notion of 
"the multiple invisibilities of imprisonment" through ethnographic work that 
makes visible the lives disappeared by the workings of penal cities and 
carceral states--the very lives that fuel the profit of the prison 
industrial complex. Because the prison system is one of the clearest 
manifestations of state-based social control, the incarcerated, formerly 
incarcerated and their families inevitably form concrete understandings of 
the state's intervention in their lives. As those social actors most 
affected by the prison system problematize the state, the visible impact of 
the expansion of "get tough" law and order politics, new forms of 
surveillance, and extremely aggressive technologies of confinement serve to 
decenter our understanding of criminality. This panel will consider how 
these conceptualizations of the state and criminality inform the various 
modes of resistance or community activism that emerge both inside and 
outside of prisons.

As anthropologists concerned about the growth and influence of penal 
institutions we are being increasingly informed by incarcerated men and 
women witnessing the prison boom from the inside, ex-offenders turned 
community activists, and the family members left at home during their loved 
ones incarceration. This panel will highlight these perspectives and also 
include papers that illustrate the critical connections prison activists are 
making between the military industrial complex, the prison industrial 
complex and the global export of U.S.-styled warehousing of the condemned.

We invite paper submissions addressing the following or related areas:

- Intersections of imprisonment with gender constructions, hyper masculine 
policies of confinement, or constrained motherhood
- Ex-offender and  environmentalist collaborations addressing the three 
Ps--police, prison and pollution
- Collaborations between prisoner-led initiatives and law enforcement 
personnel or community organizers
- Activist and anthropologist collaborations to address mass incarceration
- Prisoner narratives or prison-based ethnographies
- Urban social policies leading to increased arrests and incarceration
- Populations detained as a result of immigration and homeland security 

Please send 250 word abstracts by March 27th to Kristi Brian
(kbrian at temple.edu) or Nina Brown (nbrown at mica.edu)

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