Rethinking Prisons Conference, May 3-5 at Vanderbilt University, Buttrick Hall

Prison Conference Poster
Join us on May 3-5 for the Rethinking Prisons Conference at Vanderbilt University.  The 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.  Keynote speakers are Joy James (author of 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)), Susan Rosenberg (author of An American Radical: A Political Prisoner In My Own Country (2011)), and Mark Lewis Taylor (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)).

A full conference schedule is available here.  All sessions will be held in Buttrick Hall.  The conference is free and open to the public.

This conference is the final, culminating event in A Year of Rethinking Prisons at Vanderbilt, which has included a lecture by Michelle Alexander, art exhibitions at Sarratt Gallery (featuring work by prisoners currently on Tennessee’s death row) and at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center (featuring the work of Ndume Olatushani, who spent 20 years on death row for a crime he did not commit), a collaborative postcard art project between WUI Collective (including Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Rattner) and prisoners on death row, two roundtable discussions and a book launch for work by political prisoner, Russell Maroon Shoatz, a lecture on solitary confinement by Lisa Guenther, as well as other lectures and presentations at Vanderbilt and in the Nashville community.

Thank you to the following sponsors for making this conference possible: Vanderbilt Department of Philosophy, Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, Robert Penn Warren Center, Program in African American & Diaspora Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Department of Political Science, Ellen Armour, Colin Dayan, Kelly Oliver, and David Wood.

For more information, please contact Lisa Guenther at


About rethinkingprisons

Art, philosophy and activism from Tennessee's death row
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