Carceral Geography at the AAG 2014: Historical Geographies of Prisons and Jails… and more

logo_aagKaren Morin and I have coorganised two themed sessions at the forthcoming Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in April, in Tampa, FL, USA. Entitled “Historical Geographies of Prisons and Jails I & II”, the two sessions address the following brief:

What have historical geographers contributed to discussions of incarceration – what prison spaces, knowledges, and practices have caught our attention, and why? Following on last year’s AAG Historical Geography plenary, “Carceral Space and the Usable Past,” these sessions bring together the work of historical geographers, as well as those who use historical-geographical logics and perspectives, to examine conceptions of crime, regimes of punishment, and their corresponding spaces of “corrections” and confinement. Broadly, the sessions aim to incorporate a historical-spatial focus into the study of correctional institutions (prisons and jails) and their larger social contexts. Relevant treatments of prison/jail space include: 1) historical study of the nature of spaces of incarceration, individuals’ experiences in them, and their regulatory regimes and systems of punishment; 2) historical study of the spatial or distributional/ locational geographies of carceral systems, particularly with respect to their impact on community economic development and local geographies; and 3) study of the historical relationship between the carceral and an increasingly punitive state. Historical geographers can inform, and be informed by, these three areas of carceral geography that we like to term, after Tosh, “critical applied historical geography” that can be put in action for progressive social transformation.

The first session, scheduled for Wednesday, 4/9/2014, from 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Room 30B, TCC, Fourth Floor, lines up as follows:

8:00 AM   *Kimberley Peters and Jennifer Turner – Aberystwyth University Unlocking the Carceral Atmospheric: Extraordinary Encounters at the Prison Museum

8:20 AM   Susana Draper – Princeton University Cartographies of memory and the poetics of an architecture of the affects

8:40 AM   Katie Hemsworth – Queen’s University Sound(e)scapes: Historical geographies of sound in Canadian prisons

9:00 AM   Cheryl Nye – Georgia State University The Sacred and Profane: Re-building Familial and Social Relationships in the Confines of the Prison

9:20 AM   Dominique Moran – University of Birmingham (Discussant)

and the second, following immediately on at 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Room 30B, TCC, Fourth Floor, looks like this:

10:00 AM   *Jennifer Turner and Kimberley Peters – Aberystwyth University Shackled at Sea: Geographies of Mobility and Agency on the Convict Ship

10:20 AM    Jack Norton – CUNY Graduate Center  Little Siberia, Star of the North: The Political Economy of Prison Dreams in the Adirondacks

10:40 AM   Carol Medlicott – Northern Kentucky University  Prisoners in Zion: Shaker Sites as Foundations for Later Communities of Incarceration

11:00 AM   Treva C. Ellison – University of Southern California  The End(s) of Inclusion: The Impact of LGBT Activism and Advocacy on Sensitivity Policing and Gender and Sexuality Responsive Jailing, 1970 – 1997

11:20 AM   Anne Bonds – University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Discussant)

Karen and I are excited about these sessions and about the dialogues we hope they will engender.

However, for carceral geographers there are many more papers of interest in Tampa. I’m also looking forward to Anthony Stanonis’ paper on Gated Communities: Tourism and Prisons in the American South, Alex R. Colucci’s The Geographies of Death Row: Capital Punishment and Living-Dead Labor within Capitalism, Timothy C. Kelleher on Optimality Modeling New Prison Siting, Richard Merritt and Scott Hurley’s Invisible Geographies: Violence and Oppression in the Prison-Industrial Complex and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, and Anne Bonds’  Enduring Incarceration: Gender, Racial Capitalism, and ‘Prison life’

And, from a grey Birmingham, here’s hoping for some Florida sunshine…