Forthcoming book: Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past

Karen Morin and I are excited to announce that our new edited volume is forthcoming with Routledge, in their new Historical Geography series. This book, Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past, arises from conversations between Karen and I over the past couple of years, and builds both on her Distinguished Historical Geographer Plenary Lecture: Carceral Space and the Usable Past (published here in the Journal of Historical Geography) and on themed sessions we organised at the AAG conference in Tampa earlier this year.

The book, which Routledge intend to launch at the International Conference of Historical Geographers in London in July 2015, analyzes and critiques practices of incarceration, regimes of punishment, and their corresponding spaces of “corrections” from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries in sites spanning the U.S., Canada, Asia, and Latin America. It will be the first volume of its kind to use an explicitly historical-geographical lens to study the development and evolution of prisons. Contributors to the volume collectively argue that an historical geographical approach to studying corrections can improve our understanding of the prison crisis that we see in many parts of the world today (most notably the U.S.), but in order to do so, argue that we must first pragmatically distinguish a “usable” historical geography of the carceral past.

We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring together a volume of original papers, expansive in geographical and historical reach. Our authors range from senior established professors to emerging junior scholars. Contributors to the volume include self-identifying historical geographers as well as experts in carceral pasts who follow historical geography logics and methodologies. We are excited to work with these colleagues, and to bring their work to a diverse audience.

We plan a session at the ICHG in 2015 around the book itself, the themes that it addresses, and the wider context within which it sits – watch this space for more details!