“Sites of Confinement” event at Liverpool John Moores University – March 2013

Many thanks to Monish Bhatia for bringing this upcoming event to my attention – sounds like a great opportunity to discuss some very current ideas.

Sites of Confinement is taking place on 22nd March 2013, at Liverpool John Moores University, 68 Hope Street, Liverpool, UK.

This day conference offers an opportunity to critically discuss increases in the uses of confinement and incarceration in relation to neoliberalism, globally as well as in the UK.

With activists, researchers and academics working in prisons, detention centres and camps, it will consider the roles of social structures, power, and lived experience in relation to confinement. Importantly, this conference will consider increases in incarceration as a method of social control in areas of extreme deprivation, as well as with marginalised groups.

The full details, including speakers and paper titles, and joining instructions, are available here

Carceral Geography at the AAG 2013

Thanks to a wonderful response to the Call for Papers, Shaul Cohen and I have been able to organise a number of sessions on Carceral Geography for the AAG 2013 in Los Angeles this April.

 The so-called ‘punitive turn’ has brought new ways of thinking about geography and the state, and has highlighted spaces of incarceration as a new terrain for exploration by geographers. Geographical engagements with incarceration have put these spaces, and experiences within them, firmly on the disciplinary map. Human geography, and specifically the evolving sub-discipline of carceral geography, have much to offer to the study of incarceration, and taking the carceral as a locus of research offers useful opportunities both to invigorate ongoing developments within human geography, and to contribute to positive social change.

Carceral geography is a new but a fast-moving and fast-developing sub-discipline, and is proving an increasingly vibrant field. These sessions provide a space for discussion of recent scholarship, situating it in the context both of contemporary human geography and of the interdisciplinary literature from criminology and prison sociology upon which it draws, and to also explore a range of potential avenues of future research which are open to transdisciplinarity, which are both informed by and extend theoretical developments in geography, but which also, and critically, interface with contemporary debates over hyperincarceration and the punitive state.

There will be four sessions in all, sponsored by the Cultural Geography Specialty Group of the AAG – three paper sessions and a roundtable session for a forthcoming book: Details are:

Carceral Geography: Debates, Developments and Directions I

Carceral Geography: Debates, Developments and Directions II

Carceral Geography: Debates, Developments and Directions III ‘Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention’

This session coalesces around a new edited book which defines a new field in geographical research, drawing together the work of a new community of scholars and a growing body of work in carceral geography – the geographical engagement with the practices of imprisonment and migrant detention. Increasingly, these spheres overlap. Just as ‘mainstream’ prison populations have expanded over the past twenty-five years, there has also been a veritable explosion in the use of detention for irregular migrants. Migrants are increasingly scrutinized as criminals, so much so that scholars and activists now refer to this nexus as ‘crimmigration’. This book brings together scholars whose work engages practices of imprisonment and/or migrant detention with the goal of opening up a forum within geography and related interdisciplinary fields of study (critical prison studies, criminology, etc.) for conversation / dialogue across these ever more intertwined spheres.

Organisers and Panelists: Dominique Moran, Nick Gill, Deirdre Conlon, Lauren Martin, Kelsey Nowakowski, Mason McWatters, Julie de Dardel

Carceral Geography: Debates, Developments and Directions IV

Call for Papers: RGS-IBG 2013 “exploring social reintegration and rehabilitation into the ‘everyday’”

Agatha Herman and Kim Ward are organising a fascinating session at the RGS-IBG conference later this year, and have issued the following Call for Papers. The session highlights reintegration and rehabilitation, and carceral geographers may be interested in presenting papers which could focus on carceral spaces and the challenges of release from incarceration.

RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 28-30 August 2013

Creativity and transition: exploring social reintegration and rehabilitation into the ‘everyday’

Organizers: Agatha Herman (University of Plymouth) and Kim Ward (University of Cardiff).

This session is sponsored by the Geographies of Justice Research Group and the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group.

Adjusting to ‘civilian’ life can be a challenge whether, within the UK context, you’re one of the 170,000 offenders released each year to the probation service or one of the 20,000 currently leaving the British armed forces annually.  Employment, relationships, finances, mental health, housing… all can become issues for those returning to ‘civilian’ spaces.  Considering the numbers and needs of those transitioning out of military or carceral institutions, particularly against the contemporary backdrop of austerity, highlights the necessity of effective and sustainable reintegration and rehabilitation for economic, social, political and moral reasons.  However, individuals worldwide and outside of these particular spaces can also struggle with exclusion from the ‘everyday’.

This session explores in particular how creative practices can support the reintegration and rehabilitation of those who, in the broadest sense, have become separated from everyday social spaces, practices and communities.  In particular we are looking to explore innovative and resourceful methods of engaging with those in transition, as well as the creative methods that can be used to connect with, and support, reintegration and rehabilitation experiences.  Contributions are welcome from a range of areas across and beyond geography, including engagements from outside academia.

Potential questions/topics for discussion include:

  • Can creativity be inclusive?
  • Theatre, music and arts-based projects
  • Social responsibility towards veterans?
  • Social exclusion, substance abuse and homelessness
  • Mental health
  • Carceral spaces
  • Creative methodologies to engage with social exclusion
  • Challenges of working in disciplinary environments
  • Performing rehabilitation

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Agatha Herman (agatha.herman@plymouth.ac.uk) by Tuesday 5th February 2013.

Funded PhD studentship: “The Carceral Archipelago: Transnational Circulations in Global Perspective, 1415-1960”

The School of Historical Studies at the University of Leicester is offering a PhD studentship package for research on the Russian island of Sakhalin as part of a €1.5 million European Research Council grant for the project ‘The Carceral Archipelago: Transnational Circulations in Global Perspective, 1415-1960’.

This project will take a case study and comparative approach to the history of imperial expansion, unfree labour, confinement, and their legacies through a focus on the history of penal colonies all over the world.

Full details can be found at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/study/research/funding/carceral-archipelago . Please note that the closing date for applications is 8 March 2013.

ESRC PhD studentship: Technical Justice: Examining Video-Linking in Immigration Courts

ESRC PhD studentship: Technical Justice: Examining Video-Linking in Immigration Courts

The College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter is pleased to offer a PhD studentship funded by the ESRC for entry in 2013/14. Successful applicants will be based within Geography (Streatham Campus, Exeter) at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter.


Dr Nick Gill n.m.gill@exeter.ac.uk

Project Description

Video-linking was introduced in 2008 in the UK to allow for speedier determination of asylum appeals, as well as bail hearings for asylum seekers held in detention. According to the Ministry of Justice, video-linking works as follows: “If you are detained it may be possible that your case will be heard by video link. This means that you will remain in your place of detention and give any evidence that you have to give by video link. You will be able to see and hear the hearing room and all the parties on a television where you are detained, and everyone in the hearing room will be able to see and hear you on a television there” (Ministry of Justice webpage, October 2011).

The use of video-linking is justified partly in terms of the time saved: judges, representatives and applicants do not have to travel as far. There have been, however, a series of concerns raised by asylum support groups about the use of video-linking in courts including concerns relating to the adequacy of this form of presence in the courtroom.

This is a fully funded PhD position to run alongside the ESRC project ‘Examining Geographic Disparities in Asylum Appeal Success Rates at Different Hearing Centres Around the UK’. The PhD will explore video-linking in immigration courts from a variety of theoretical perspectives which might include, but are not limited to, socio-technical debates, mobilities, analyses of time, rhythmanalysis, virtuality, absences, synchronicity and simultaneity.

Practical questions that the student might explore include: how does video-linking impact upon the asylum appeal or bail hearing experience from the perspective of the applicant? How does video-linking impact upon the hearing from the perspective of others involved in the appeal process? What different experiences of asylum appeals via video-link do different types of applicant experience (e.g. by gender, nationality, age, language skill and case type)?

More conceptual questions might include: how can the case of video-linking within detention shed more light upon the relationship between virtuality and mobilities? How are different forms of presence distributed through the process of video-linking and what are the key political and social issues that arise as a result of this distribution? What are the implications of the virtualisation of legal processes?

The student will benefit from being part of a wider research team working on related issues, with input from a range of relevant charities and pressure groups. Alongside the standard thesis, the student will be expected to produce and widely disseminate a user-report of their findings.

Academic entry requirements:

Candidates must have (or expect to complete by September 2013) a Masters degree in a social science or relevant discipline with appropriate research training. In addition candidates must have obtained a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a social science or relevant discipline. Applicants with either an academic or personal knowledge of immigration law (especially asylum law) will be at an advantage.

Value of award and residency entry requirements:

The studentship will cover a stipend at the standard Research Council rate (currently £13,590 per annum for 2012-2013), a contribution towards research costs and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who meet the residency requirements outlined by the ESRC (see http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/funding-opportunities/looking-for-funding/eligibility.aspx) for up to three years. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award.

This position is advertised online at: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studying/funding/award/?id=1126 and http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=42797

Application procedures:

Please upload the following documents to the studentship application formClick here to apply

The preferred format for all uploaded files is .pdf and preferred filename should start with your last name.

  • CV
  • Covering letter (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project).
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)
  • 2 references (if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to cles-studentships@exeter.ac.uk)

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email cles-studentships@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706/723310.

The closing date for applications is midnight Thursday 7th March 2013.