The United States incarcerates more of its own citizens than any other country in the world. We are the only Western democracy to retain the death penalty. The racism endemic to our criminal justice system has led Michelle Alexander to call it “The New Jim Crow.” And even from a purely economic standpoint, mass incarceration has become a burden that many states are finding difficult to bear. The time has come to rethink prisons and the multiple systems of power that intersect behind bars.
This conference brings together over 100 scholars, activists, and practitioners from across the US, as well as Canada and Brazil, to discuss issues raised by prisons and the death penalty. Some of the presenters have spent time behind bars; others are currently incarcerated, and will be represented by friends, family, and colleagues on the outside (see, in particular, presentations by Talib Shakir and Adam Clausen, live from a federal prison in Pennsylvania, as well as the presentations of SALT (a think tank based in Unit 6 of Nashville’s Riverbend Maximum Security Institution), and REACH Coalition (a coalition of prisoners on death row at Riverbend and members of the community, who meet weekly to discuss philosophy, art, and politics)).
The format for the conference is discussion-based workshops. To facilitate discussion, we ask that speakers limit their formal presentation to 10-15 minutes. We invite you to speak extemporaneously about the issues, methods, strategies, and motivations that shape your work, and to explain these in a way that is accessible to others beyond your field and/or home institution. And we invite audience members to share their experience, questions, and suggestions for how we can work together to transform the current criminal justice system into something that is worthy of its name.
If you are driving to the conference and need a place to park, try:
- Terrace Place Garage Spaces 41-92
- Wesley Place Garage Spaces 52-170
- meter parking on the following streets:
- Garland Avenue
- 24th Avenue South
- Highland Avenue
- West End Avenue
Click here for a full guide to visitor parking at Vanderbilt, including a visitor parking map: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/traffic_parking/visitor-parking.php
Please note that all keynote sessions have been moved from Buttrick 101 to Furman 114 to accommodate larger audiences.
Presidential Professor of Humanities and Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Austin
Author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics (2002), Resisting State Violence: Race, Gender and State Violence (1996) and editor of The New Abolitionists: (Neo) Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings (2005), Imprisoned Intellectuals (2003), and States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons (2002)
Writer, Educator, Former Political Prisoner
Author of An American Radical: A Political Prisoner In My Own Country (2011)
Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary
Author of The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World (2011) and The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America (2001)
Final Conference Program: Rethinking Prisons conference booklet_FINAL
Registration: Rethinking Prisons 2013 Registration. If the PDF link is giving you trouble, try our Web Registration. If you’re still having trouble, please register by contacting us rethinkprisons2013 [at] gmail [dot] com. Please include your name, e-mail address, and whether you will be attending the whole conference (if not, let us know what days you will attend).
CONFERENCE SCHEDULEFRIDAY, MAY 3 Breakfast 8:30 Buttrick Atrium Welcoming Remarks 9:00-9:15 Lisa Guenther, Vanderbilt University Buttrick Atrium Friday Morning Session I 9:15-10:45 Gender and Prison Education Moderator: Sarah Tyson, University of Colorado, Denver Buttrick 205 “Transforming Spaces: The Experiences of Women Teaching in Women’s Prisons,” Breea C. Willingham, SUNY Oneonta “Abolition Pedagogy: Bringing Antiprison Movements into Women’s Studies Classrooms, “Courtney D. Marshall, University of New Hampshire “To Instill Love for Our People”: Recovering Religion in Formerly Incarcerated People’s Movements for Transforming the Prison System,” Laura McTighe, Columbia University “‘Bad Like Us': Abolitionist Challenges to Prison Ministry,” Alexandra Chambers, Vanderbilt University Friday Morning Session I 9:15-10:45 Rethinking Prisons through the Lens of Reproductive Justice Moderator: Amy McKiernan, Vanderbilt University Buttrick 206 “Birthing Behind Bars: Formerly Incarcerated Women Lead a Campaign for Reproductive Justice,” Victoria Law, Independent Scholar “‘I Never Thought of Advocating Outside of Prison’: Lived Experience as Expertise,” Mercedes Smith, Women on the Rise Telling HerStory (WORTH) “‘She Doesn’t Deserve to be Treated Like This’: The Violation of Pregnant Women’s Rights and Health in Prison,” Rachel Roth, Independent Scholar Friday Morning Session I 9:15-10:45 Neoliberalism and Punishment Moderator: Rob Scott, University of Illinois Buttrick 306 “Death Penalty Abolition in Neoliberal Times: The failure of the SAFE California Act and the Nexus of Savings and Security,” Andrew Dilts, Loyola Marymount University “‘It’s Going to Happen Again’: Queer Time and the Future of the Neoliberal-Carceral State,” Stephen Dillon, University of Minnesota “Hypothecation: Neoliberal ‘Bondage,’” Salmon Frye, Independent Scholar and Micol Seigel, Indiana University Bloomington Friday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Transformative Prison Education and its Challenges Moderator: Lora Bex Lempert, University of Michigan Buttrick 205 “Therapeutic Philosophy in Prisons,” Dan Cheon, University of Oklahoma “Bob Ross in Prison: Rethinking Art in Prison,” Treacy Zeigler, Center for Transformative Action, Cornell University “Rethinking Prisons, Reconsidering Philosophy: Doing Philosophy with Prison Inmates,” Michael D. Burroughs, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Friday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Prison Mentorship from the Inside Out Moderator: Lisa Guenther, Vanderbilt Buttrick 101 – Note room change! “The Reconstruct Program: Reconstructing Lives One at a Time,” Talib Shakir, Federal Correctional Institution McKean “Inmate Mentorship,” Adam Bentley Clausen, Federal Correctional Institution McKean Friday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Safety Beyond Incarceration: Normative Foundations and Community Moderator: Adam Turk, Vanderbilt University Buttrick 306 “Kant, Bakunin and a ‘Constellation of Ends’: The Categorical Imperative of Prison Abolition, James A. Manos, DePaul University “Incarceration, Debt, and Right as Social Pathology,” Chad Kautzer, University of Colorado, Denver “Precarious Safety: Toward Noncarceral Communities,” Sarah Tyson, University of Colorado, Denver Friday Afternoon Session I 2:00-3:30 Entries Down the Rabbit Hole: Exploring Zero Tolerance and the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Moderator: Janet Wolf Buttrick 205 Damien Durr, Independent Scholar and Activist Shakya Cherry-Donaldson, Independent Scholar, Activist, Educator, Sister of Ex-Insider Ndume Olatushani, Ex-Deathrow Insider, Activist, Artist Friday Afternoon Session I
2:00-3:30 Gender Noncomformity and Queer/Trans Sexuality in Prison Moderator: Geoffrey Adelsberg, Vanderbilt University Buttrick 206 “‘A Means of Assuring the Safe and Efficient Operation of a Prison’: Administrative Segregation, Security, and Gender Nonconformity,” Elias Vitulli, University of Minnesota “Constellating Connections: Trans Justice, Prison Activism, and Participatory Action Research,” Pascal Emmer, University of California at Santa Cruz “Epistemic Injustices in Correctional Health Care: Policies Affecting LGBTQI Prison Populations,” Andrea Pitts, Vanderbilt University Friday Afternoon Session I 2:00-3:30 Foucault Incarcerated Moderator: Brady Heiner, University of California, Fullerton Buttrick 305 “Prison Education and the Myth of Separation,” Steven DeCaroli, Goucher College “Spaces of the Self: Foucault and Goffman on the Micro-Physics of Discipline,” Robert S. Leib, Villanova University “On Being Already Outside: Religious Transcendence and the Great Confinement in Foucault’s History of Madness,” Adrian Switzer, Western Kentucky University “Foucault, Tranquility, and the Work of Reform,” Perry Zurn, DePaul University 3:30-4:00 Coffee Break Friday Afternoon Session II 4:00-5:30 Locked Out: The Challenges of Writing about Prisons in Journalism and the Academy Moderator: Jessica Crowell, Rutgers University Buttrick 205 “(Un)covering Prisons: Reporting on America’s Domestic Black Sites,” Jean Casella, Solitary Watch Liliana Segura, The Nation “From the public technology of chain to the living death of supermax confinement,” Colin Dayan, Vanderbilt University Friday Afternoon Session II 4:00-5:30 The Interstices of Punishment and Discipline: Interrogating Race, Gender, Sexuality and Incarceration Moderator: Courtney Marshall, University of New Hampshire Buttrick 206 “Black Defendants, White Judges: A case study of the distribution of punishment in São Paulo,” Enedina do Amparo Alves, Sao Paulo Catholic University (PUC-SP) “(Re)Building Community and (Re)Creating Alternatives: Black Women and Mass Incarceration,” Haile Eshe Cole , Doctoral Candidate, The University of Texas at Austin “‘The skunk in the box’—The theatrical (re)production of truth and justice at the intersections of sexuality, race, gender, and class,” Elvia Mendoza, The University of Texas at Austin Friday Afternoon Session II 4:00-5:30 From Intractability to Possibility: Intervention and the Carceral Moderator: Michelle Brown, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Buttrick 306 “Reentry from the Bottom Up,” Melissa Burch, University of Texas – Austin “Left and Locking Up: Capital Departures, (Neo) Liberal Politics, and Carceral Expansion,” Judah Schept, Eastern Kentucky University “A Critical Carceral Studies and Global Carceral Formations,” Michelle Brown, University of Tennessee Friday Reception Light Dinner and Drinks 5:30-7:00pm Buttrick Atrium Keynote Address 7:00pm Furman 114 – Note room change! Walking directions to Furman available at registration. Susan Rosenberg Writer, Educator, Former Political Prisoner Author of An American Radical: A Political Prisoner In My Own Country (2011) SATURDAY, MAY 4 Breakfast 8:30 Buttrick Atrium Saturday Morning Session I 9:00-10:30 Legal and Comparative Perspectives on Mass Incarceration Moderator: James Manos, DePaul University Buttrick 205 “The Procedural Entrapment of Mass Incarceration: Prosecution, Race, and the Unfinished Project of American Abolition,” Brady Heiner, California State University, Fullerton “Serving Time by Coming Home: Communicating Hope through a Reentry Court,” Jeralyn Faris, Purdue University “From the Free World to the Carceral Empire – United States Prisons in War and Peace,” Volker Janssen, California State Fullerton “American and Foreign Efforts to Curb Mass Incarceration,” Christopher Slobogin, Vanderbilt University Saturday Morning Session I 9:00-10:30 Slavery, Prison Abolition and Black Radical Politics Moderator: Breea Willingham, SUNY Oneonta Buttrick 206 “‘I can still…teach people’: Genuine Solidarity, African American Literature, and the Coalitional Project of Abolition Pedagogy,” Patrick Elliot Alexander, University of Mississippi “Abolition’s Legacies: Historical Memory and Contemporary Anti-Prison Organizing,” Joshua Mitchell, University of Southern California “The Extermination of the North American Third World Left: How Black Power was Pivotal in the Expansion of the Prison-Industrial Complex,” Lisa M. Corrigan, The University of Arkansas “Implications of African American Incarceration: Foucault, Wacquant and Mendieta,” Shaeeda Mensah, Pennsylvania State University Saturday Morning Session I 9:00-10:30 Remorse and Rehabilitation Moderator: Steve Schaffer, Independent Scholar/Activist Buttrick 306 “Remorse and Criminal Sentencing,” David Gurney, Arizona State University “Prison Inmate Education and Rehabilitation: An International Comparison,” Obi N.I. Ebbe, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga “Void of Grace: A Faith Response to Truth and Sentencing Laws and the Death Penalty,” Jeannie Alexander, Riverbend Maximum Security Institution “Aristotelian Flourishing and Virtue as the Benchmarks for Rehabilitation,” Andrew C. Koehl, Roberts Wesleyan College Saturday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Race, Disability, Gender, and Ageing Beyond Bars Moderator: William Andrews, Chicago Theological Seminary Buttrick 205 “The Role of Empowerment in the Job Search Process of Re-Entering African American Males,” Chloe Jackson, Georgia State University “Dual Stigmas Beyond the Bars: An Initial Investigation into Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities and Criminal Histories,” Jason E. Gines, Penn State University “The Elderly on Death Row: An Exploration of Emerging Issues,” Margaret Vandiver, University of Memphis Saturday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Teaching Freedom: Humanities Education in the Prison Classroom Moderator: Andrew Dilts, Loyola Marymount University Buttrick 206 “Demotic Political Theory, Power, and Prison Education” Bill Dixon, Bard Prison Initiative, Bard College and the Johns Hopkins University “Dignity, Dialogue, and Habilitation,” Eric Anthamatten, New School for Social Research “Dignity and the Prison Classroom,” Grace Hunt, Bard Prison Initiative and Bard College Saturday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Transformation Within/Without: Prisons and the Restoration of Human Dignity Moderator: Ulrike Wiethaus Buttrick 305 “The Children of God: Race, Class, Religion, and Punishment in America,” Ron Neal, Wake Forest University “Correctional Reform: The View From Inside the Walls,” Daniel Redding, Alexander Correctional Institution (Taylorsville, NC) “Comments of a Zen Abbot: The Inside Story of Making Lemonade,” Sandy Gentei Stewart, North Carolina Zen Center Sosen-ji “Racial Tyranny and the Making of the American Gulag,” Rev. Joe Ingle, United Church of Christ Lunch 12:30-2:00 Keynote Address 2:00-3:30pm Furman 114 – Note room change! Walking directions to Furman available at registration. Mark L. Taylor Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary Author of The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World (2011) and The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America (2001) 3:30-4:00 Coffee Break Buttrick Atrium Saturday Afternoon Session II 4:00-5:30 Critical Prison Pedagogy in Theory and Practice Moderator: Wende Ballew, Reforming Arts, GA Buttrick 205 “Punishment and Curing Through Culturally Relevant Curriculum,” Tria Andrews, University of California, Berkeley “Distinguishing Radical Teaching from Merely Having Intense Experiences while Teaching in Prison,” Robert Scott, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Kyes Stevens, “Making a Map for Learning: The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project,” Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project, Auburn University “Building a Post-Secondary Education Program in the Prison: A Model for State Collaboration and Technology in the Prison Classroom,” Julie Doochin, College Program at Charles Bass Correctional Complex Saturday Afternoon Session II 4:00-5:30 Teaching and Learning at Nashville Area Prisons Moderator: Bruce Morill Buttrick 206 Richard Goode, Lipscomb University Daniel Joranko, Vanderbilt University Amy-Jill Levine, Vanderbilt University Bruce Morrill, Vanderbilt University Saturday Afternoon Session II Carceral Geographies 4:00-5:30 Moderator: Micol Seigel, Indiana University Fullerton Buttrick 305 “Organizing for Freedom: Abolitionist Reforms and the Angola Special Civics Project,” Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Graduate Center, City University of New York “Demolition Futures: Camden’s Real Estate,” Mercy Romero, University of California, Berkeley “The Prison ‘Outside': A Rematerialization of the Prison in the Everyday life of the Urban ‘Million-Dollar Block,’” Brett Story, University of Toronto Keynote Address 5:45pm Furman 114 – Note room change! Walking directions to Furman available at registration. Joy James Presidential Professor of Humanities and Professor in Political Science, Williams College; Visiting Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, University of Texas at Austin Author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics (2002), Resisting State Violence: Race, Gender and State Violence (1996) and editor of The New Abolitionists: (Neo) Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings (2005), Imprisoned Intellectuals (2003), and States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons (2002) Conference Dinner and Reception 7:15-11:00pm Vanderbilt Divinity School Reading Room SUNDAY, MAY 5 8:30-9:00 Breakfast Buttrick Atrium Sunday Morning Session I 9:00-10:30 Private Incarceration and Prisons in the Socio-Political Imaginary Moderator: Shela Van Ness, University of Tennessee, Chatanooga Buttrick 205 “‘Criminal Aliens’ and the Critique of Private Incarceration,” Matt Whitt, Warren Wilson College “The Political and Societal Impact of the Private Prison Industry,” Alex Friedmann, Prison Legal News “The Intersection of Supermax Confinement and Politics in an Age of Fear,” Shela Van Ness, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Sunday Morning Session I 9:00-10:30 Philosophy and Critical Prison Pedagogy Moderator: Carolyn Cusick, Vanderbilt University Buttrick 206 “Meliorism and Abolitionism in Prison Teaching and Research Collaborations,” Drew Leder, Loyola University Maryland, and Joshua Miller, Morgan State University “The Prison and the Parallel Polis: Staging Postsecular Pedagogy Through Redemptive Critical Theory,” Sol Neely, University of Alaska Southeast Sunday Morning Session I 9:00-10:30 Rethinking Prisoner Reentry Moderator: Margaret Vandiver, University of Memphis Buttrick 305 “Beyond the Prison Walls: A Du Boisian Analysis of Ex-Offender Reentry in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” Kim Wilson, Temple University “The Role of Broadband Access and Training in Philadelphia’s Prisoner Reentry Programs,” Jessica Crowell, Rutgers University Five Brim, Prison activist, Stop Stop and Frisk Campaign, NYC Leroy Jones, Prison activist, Nashville Sunday Morning Session II 11:00-12:30 Prison Activism and Community Organizing Moderator: TBA Buttrick 205 Clemmie Greenlee- Nashville Peace Makers, Founder and Executive Director
Lamont Lester- Nashville Peace Makers, Program Director
Shirley Sims-Saldana- Nashville Peace Makers, Community Volunteer; The Rights of All – A Global Perspective, Founder; Human Rights Activist
Concluding Plenary 4:00-5:30pm Buttrick 101 REACH Coalition REACH is a coalition of prisoners on death row at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution and volunteers from the Nashville community. More information about REACH: http://reachcoalition.wordpress.com/. 5:30-5:45 Closing Remarks Lisa Guenther, Vanderbilt University Buttrick 101