Call for Papers: Political Theory and Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration

Radical Philosophy Review – Call for Papers

Political Theory and Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration

Special Project organized by Natalie Cisneros (Gettysburg College) & Andrew Dilts (Loyola Marymount University)

The United States has the highest recorded incarceration rate in the world. This mass incarceration operates most severely in communities of color, with recent reports suggesting that rates of imprisonment for Black and Latina/o men and women are twice to over six times as high as those of whites. This project invites papers that engage with this material reality through theoretical and philosophical analyses of prisons as contemporary sites of the functioning of power.  Conversely, we are interested in papers that explore how mass incarceration bears on political theory and philosophy. Submissions from an array of traditions are welcome, including (but not limited to) critical race theory, feminism, postcolonial thought, queer theory, disability studies, political theory, and continental philosophy.

We are also interested in papers that broaden the political and geographic scope beyond the United States, either alone or in comparative perspective.

Possible themes include:

  • How do various forms of imprisonment intersect with racist power and white supremacy in the United States?
  • What is the relationship between immigration, citizenship and prisons in the contemporary U.S. context and beyond?
  • How do discourses and practices of nationalism, neocolonialism, neoliberalism, sexism, heterosexism and classism coincide with practices of imprisonment and the experiences of those who are imprisoned?
  • How should we think about the death penalty and the incarceration of capital offenders in light of both the death penalty abolition movement and the prison abolition movement?
  • How should we theorize race, gender, sex, (dis)ability, and other categories of difference in order to understand the prison? And how might the prison force us to re-conceptualize our ideas of difference?
  • What do historical representations of punishment and imprisonment (or their absence) tell us about the history of political thought and the history of mainstream philosophy?
  • How have mainstream philosophical traditions, concepts, and/or methods succeeded or failed in accounting for the practices of detention and incarceration?

Deadline for submissions: January 15th, 2014.  Word limit: 6000 words, including notes.

We anticipate to publish the articles in two installments, as part of RPR 17.2 (Fall 2014) and 18.2 (Fall2015).

Submissions should be sent as an e-mail attachment (preferably in MS Word) to Natalie Cisneros ( and Andrew Dilts ( with a CC to the RPR editor, Harry van Der Linden (  One copy of the submission should be suitable for blind reviewing. An abstract of no more than 100 words and a short author bio should be included. Citation style should follow the Chicago Manual of Style with bibliographic information in notes.


About rethinkingprisons

Art, philosophy and activism from Tennessee's death row
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