New issue of ‘Sites’ – with contributions from the Space, Race, Bodies II: Sovereignty and Migration in a Carceral Age conference

Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural StudiesThe latest issue of Sites features contributions from the Space, Race, Bodies II: Sovereignty and Migration in a Carceral Age conference:


Edited by

Holly Randell-Moon, Bell Murphy, and Pounamu Jade Aikman 


He Kupu Tīmata: Editorial

Pounamu Jade William Emery Aikman


Space, Race, Bodies – A Conference Theme, A Timely Reminder

Moana Jackson

Carceral Recognition and the Colonial Present at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge

Margaret Rose Boyce

Sovereignty, Indigeneity, and Biopower: The Carceral Trajectories of Canada’s Forced Removals of Indigenous Children and the Contemporary Prison System

David MacDonald, Jacqueline Gillis

Trouble on the Frontier: Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Sovereignty, and State Violence

Pounamu Jade William Emery Aikman

Paperless Arrests as Preventive Detention: Motion and Documentation in the Governance of Indigenous Peoples of Australia

Liam Grealy

Book Reviews Essay

UNDRIP Ten Years On: The Struggle For Peace in a Settler Colonial World

Pounamu Jade William Emery Aikman


CFP: Space, Race, Bodies III – Walls; 30 June – 1 July 2018, University of Otago, New Zealand

Space, Race, Bodies III: Walls is an academic and activist conference that addresses contemporary geographical and cultural practices premised on the construction and maintenance of walls, fences, barriers, and borders of all kinds. The conference is scheduled to take place on June 30th-July 1st, 2018, at the University of Otago.

Space, Race, Bodies III: Walls

June 30th-July 1st, 2018

University of Otago / Te Whare Wānanga o Otago

Dunedin, New Zealand / Ōtepoti, Aotearoa

Featuring keynote speakers: Associate Professor Leonie Pihama (University of Waikato) and Professor Alexander G. Weheliye (Northwestern University)


The construction of walls for security practices related to migration, asylum and refuge, and domestic prisons has significant human rights and social justice implications. Such practices are inextricably tied to social forms of exclusion and discrimination that create barriers to social, political, and economic well-being. The purpose of this conference is to facilitate engagement between academic researchers, criminal justice organisations, and migrant advocates on the local as well as trans-national connections between practices of security and social exclusion as they effect communities of colour, migrants, and Indigenous peoples. The conference invites abstracts, panels, and workshop proposals that address, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • the human rights implications of security practices, particularly in terms of intersections between border exclusions and disability, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity
  • the historical connections between geographies of exclusion and contemporary geopolitical forms of migration management
  • alternatives to violent forms of border management and other creative and activist ways of tearing down walls!
  • Indigenous sovereignties, climate change, and migration
  • carceral politics and practices
  • social forms of inclusion and exclusion premised on race, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, and class
  • barriers to health and education in policy and political communication
  • capitalism and socio-economic forms of inclusion and exclusion
  • the military-industrial complex
  • dataveillance and new technologies of surveillance
  • biotechnologies, race, and racisms
  • geodata and new technologies of mapping and cartography
  • resource commodification and barriers to land and sea for public and Indigenous communities
  • media biopower

SRB III builds on the momentum and opportunities enabled by the first two Space, Race, Bodies conferences in publicising and disseminating scholarship and activism on the intersections between geography, racism, and racialisation. SRB I: Geocorpographies of City, Nation, Empire took place in December, 2014, at the University of Otago and featured keynotes included: Professor Joseph Pugliese (Macquarie University), Professor Jacinta Ruru (University of Otago), Professor Susan Stryker (University of Arizona), and Professor Jasbir Puar (Rutgers University). SRB II: Sovereignty and Migration in a Carceral Age took place in May, 2016, and included: Fadak Alfayadh (RISE: Refugees, Survivors, and Ex-Detainees), Associate Professor Stephanie Fryberg (University of Washington), Tame Iti, Moana Jackson, Crystal McKinnon and Emma Russell (Flat Out), Suzanne Menzies-Culling and Marie Laufiso (Tauiwi Solutions), Professor Margaret Mutu (University of Auckland), Teanau Tuiono, Emmy Rākete (No Pride in Prisons), and Annette Sykes. More information on these events can be found at:

Interested participants should send 200w abstracts and proposals, including a 50w bio, to Abstracts will be accepted on a rolling basis until April 1st, 2018.

All queries and questions can be sent to


New book review: ACE on Cormac Behan’s ‘Citizen Convicts: Prisoners, Politics and the Vote’

Citizen convictsThe Carceral Geography Working Group of the RGS-IBG is delighted to publish the second in its new series of book reviews.

This time, the reviewers are a group of sixteen men imprisoned in the maximum security Oregon State Penitentiary in the United States, and ten individuals currently or formerly involved in higher education at the University of Oregon and Chemeketa Community College (students and faculty) who work with them.  Together this group forms ACE (Another Chance at Education), a steering committee for the University of Oregon Prison Education Committee’s educational efforts within the prison, and its participants in the national Inside-Out Prison Education Exchange Program, which brings together incarcerated and campus-based students for college classes within penal settings.

ACE have reviewed Cormac Behan’s Citizen Convicts: Prisoners, Politics and the Vote, a book which, in addressing prisoner (dis)enfranchisement, is of particular relevance to them.  Their jointly written review is a reflection both of their reading of the text, and of their experience in resisting the civil death, isolation, and disempowerment that is characteristic of mass incarceration in the United States.

Read the review here.

PhD opportunity: ‘Woodlands in Prison; therapeutic landscape elements, high-risk vertical structures, or inappropriate indulgence?’

Applications are invited from prospective candidates for a PhD entitled ‘Woodlands in prison: therapeutic landscape elements, high-risk vertical structures, or inappropriate indulgence?‘ to be undertaken at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, UK, under the supervision of Dr Dominique Moran and Professor Jon Sadler.

There is no funding attached to this PhD project – but the supervisors are keen to work with candidates to support any funding applications they may wish to make, and to consider part-time arrangements, as appropriate. The University of Birmingham has a range of PhD funding opportunities available, and any candidates holding partial funding are invited to make this known, since match-funding is sometimes available.

Project description

This project examines the ways in which trees feature in secure custodial environments (SCEs, such as prisons). SCEs are typically highly-controlled spaces, in which landscape elements (buildings, fences etc.) are carefully planned to maintain a secure perimeter and clear sightlines, and to minimise opportunities for inmates to scale vertical structures, or conceal contraband). They are also environments whose cost, both capital-build and facilities-management, is under constant scrutiny. Further, they are environments about which very strong opinions are held about what is ‘appropriate’ – public opinion, as reported in a vigilant media, complains that prisons resemble ‘holiday camps’ and are ‘too soft’, instead demanding ‘no-frills’ accommodation. However, contemporary prison reform discourse emphasises “normalisation”, and suggests that therapeutic environments can support enhanced rehabilitation and possibly desistance from reoffending. The burgeoning literature on the ‘healing’ properties of contact with nature are under-researched arenas in carceral studies.

The project seeks to explore the following questions:

Under what circumstances are trees present within SCEs? What does their presence or otherwise say about the role they are considered to play in these spaces? How is their presence contested, and debated, and what arguments are made to justify their presence?

What is the significance of the presence of trees in SCEs for those who live and work in them? What difference do trees make to the experience of custody?

A specific and important focus is the intersection between human and forest space- and time-scales. Studies of passage of time for prisoners commonly find that time ‘stands still’, and that the repetitive daily regime and static built environment minimises seasonal cues which mark the passage and quality of time. Similarly, the prison space can feel ‘cut off’ from wider societal space. The project will therefore investigate whether presence of trees (e.g. through growth, seasonality (e.g. bud burst and leaf fall), and attraction of wildlife commonly absent from SCEs) affects the ways in which prisoners perceive space and time.

Findings from the project will contribute to wider debates over the nature and experience of carceral spaces, notions of biophilia, and therapeutic landscape effects; and the formulation of best practice design principles.

This project has a core focus on understandings of forest elements within secure custodial environments (trees as risk, as opportunity for deviant behaviour, as temptation, as potentially therapeutic or ‘normalising’ landscape feature), which in turn affects the decisions which are made about their inclusion or exclusion, species selection, and management, within secure environments. This is addressed by evaluating the potentially therapeutic effect of trees within secure custodial spaces, considering the functions they can perform, and the meanings that they hold, for persons confined to these spaces, either as inmates or staff. In this research context time is critically important, given the widely observed lack of time-reference points in environments which commonly lack visual evidence of seasonality.

The project would investigate the research questions via fieldwork at SCEs, and for each site would involve qualitative data-generation, including interviews with prisoners, staff and senior managers, as well as (for recently-built facilities) interviews with architects, landscape architects and facilities managers, and ethnographic observation on site at each facility.  Ideally, physiological measurements will be made. These are extremely challenging given restrictions on research techniques in SCEs, but potential options will be explored with host facilities during ethical review.


Dominique Moran’s research and teaching is in the sub-discipline of carceral geography, a geographical perspective on incarceration. Her research in the UK, Russia and Scandinavia, supported by the ESRC, has contributed to her transdisciplinary work, informed by and extending theoretical developments in geography, criminology and prison sociology, but also interfacing with contemporary debates over hyperincarceration, recidivism and the advance of the punitive state. She has a particular interest in therapeutic custodial landscapes, and has undertaken research which has touched upon teh potentuial therapeutic effect of trees in custodial settings.

Jon Sadler is a biogeographer and ecologist whose research focuses on species population and assemblage dynamics in animals (sometimes plants). His work is highly interdisciplinary, bisecting biogeography, ecology, urban design, riparian management and island Biogeography. It uses approaches that combine detailed field studies, field and laboratory experimentation, sometimes with social science to examine the links between environmental variability and species (including humans) responses. His research has significant blue skies and applied implications for understanding and responding to the impacts of climate and environmental change variability on urban and island ecosystems, hydrological systems, riparian/riverine ecology, the management/conservation of freshwaters. He is a fan of numbers and coding (especially using open source software such as R).

Host organisation

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences has a renowned history for international excellence in research and teaching. We are proud of our long history and build on our successes through our research and teaching to address the challenges of the 21st Century such as climate change, oil exploration, renewable energy and resilience. Research in the School centres around four research themes that cut across traditional discipline boundaries and respond to major research challenges. The four areas as Human Geography, Physical Geography, Environmental Health Sciences and Geosystems. This PhD project would sit across Human and Physical Geography, and would be able to draw upon the expertise concentrated at Birmingham through the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) The doctoral researcher undertaking this project would be a member of the Carceral Geography Lab at GEES.logo purple 2

Application information and enquiries

In the first instance, please email to register your interest in this project. There is no closing date.

Prison, Architecture and Humans – new open access book

Cover for Prison, Architecture and HumansCarceral geographers interested in the design and experience of carceral spaces will be keen to read this new open access book, the result of an international collaboration between researchers and architects from Italy, Norway and Sweden.

What is prison architecture and how can it be studied? How are concepts such as humanism, dignity and solidarity translated into prison architecture? What kind of ideologies and ideas are expressed in various prison buildings from different eras and locations? What is the outside and the inside of a prison, and what is the significance of movement within the prison space? What does a lunch table have to do with prison architecture? How do prisoners experience materiality in serving a prison sentence? These questions are central to the texts presented in this anthology.

[A version of one of the chapters was presented by Elisabeth Fransson in a session of the  2nd International Conference for Carceral Geography 2017, and an overview of the book was discussed by Berit Johnsen, Elisabeth Fransson and Francesca Giofre at the  1st International Conference for Carceral Geography 2016 – in Session 1B Carceral Infrastructures)

Prison, Architecture and Humans is the result of a collaboration between researchers and architects from Italy, Norway and Sweden. It presents new approaches to prison architecture and penological research by focusing on prison design, prison artefacts, everyday prison life and imprisoned bodies. The book will be of interest to students, researchers, architects and politicians.