CFP: Territories of incarceration: The project of modern carceral institutions as an act of rural colonisation – session at the European Architectural History Conference, Edinburgh UK, 10-13 June 2020

European Architectural History Network Edinburgh 2020 Conference logoSabrina Puddu and Francesco Zuddas will be chairing a session at the 2020 EAHN Conference. The conference, organised by the European Architectural History Network, will take place in June 2020 in Edinburgh. The call for contributions is now open and abstracts must be submitted by 20th September 2019.

Their session will seek contributions on the topic ‘Territories of incarceration: The project of modern carceral institutions as an act of rural colonisation’.

Full text of call (

It can be argued that the modern prison is the locus where architecture tested its own entry into modernity. Through two fundamental archetypal diagrams – Carlo Fontana’s House of Correction in Rome (1704) and the Bentham brothers’s Penitentiary Panopticon (circa 1790) – the prison emerged as the paradigm of architecture’s ambition at shaping and directing human behaviour and relationships, which ultimately found synthesis in the modern model prison of Pentonville (London, 1840).

Scholarship on the architecture of incarceration has mostly focused its attention on urban compact prisons, of which Pentonville stands as the prototype. Robin Evans’s seminal study of modern reformism in British prisons (The Fabrication of Virtue, 1982) provided a detailed enquiry into the empowerment that architecture received by addressing the project of detention. Evans’ work sits alongside its contemporary and more celebrated companion, namely Michel Foucault’s Surveiller et punir (1975). Interestingly, the key to understand the argument of the two books seems to lay not as much in the analysis of detention inside urban compact prisons, but in what the two authors took as the ending point of their historical narratives: the opening of the Colonie Agricole at Mettray in France, which happened almost concomitantly to that of Pentonville, showing how the architectural codification of the carceral happened as much in the urban walled-prison as in a less restrictive parallel institution where the rational precision proper of the design of a prison was loosened (hence Foucault’s definition of ‘prisons boiteuse’ – limping prisons). The colony of Mettray served as the archetype for this new para-carceral type (the penal colony) that balanced its apparent uncertainty and benevolence by extending its scope of action towards vast territories and acting as an agent of rural colonisation that participated in the geopolitical project of the modern national states.

This session aims to collect insights into the architectural history of the modern penal colony intended as a specific declination of carceral institution that, besides the immediate role of confining, reforming, and punishing criminals, also took on an objective as an agent of territorial transformation and domestication of vast rural domains. Particular attention will be given to papers addressing the European territory and the role played by penal colonies in the processes of internal colonisation, as opposed to more usual explorations of imperial forms of colonisation. Shifting from the architectural to the territorial scale and covering a time-span from the mid-19th c. up to the WW2, contributions are sought that explore cases in which the project of penal colonies intersected with and facilitated the birth and acceptance of a new modern rural order across the European continent.

This session will be related to a monographic issue on penal colonies and the project of modern rural landscapes that is being discussed with the editors of the Journal of Architecture, for publication in 2020.

Sabrina Puddu, Royal College of Arts
Francesco Zuddas, Anglia Ruskin University

Contact : Sabrina Puddu,
Email :


4th International Conference for Carceral Geography to be hosted in Brussels by the NICC!

The Committee of the Carceral Geography Working Group of the RGS-IBG is delighted to announce that the 4th International Conference for Carceral Geography will take place in December 2020, in Brussels, Belgium. Hosted by the NICC (Nationaal Instituut voor Criminalistiek en Criminologie/Institut National de Criminalistique et de Criminologie), this will be the first conference in this series to be held outside of the UK. Provisional dates are 14-15 December 2020.

Organised by Christophe MinckeOlivier Milhaud (Sorbonne U., Paris), Anouk Mertens, Dani Brutyn and Maria Larrañaga, and with a provisional theme of “Defining the carceral through space and movement” the 4th conference will be free to attend.

Watch this space for more information about the conference theme, keynote speaker, and in due course, a call for papers!

CFP: Place, Memory & Justice: Critical Perspectives on Sites of Conscience – a special issue of ‘Space and Culture’

Sites of Conscience, as a global movement to reclaim and reinterpret places of human suffering and injustice as sites of memory, encourages reflection on how a geographically situated and specific set of past events have broader relevance to contemporary debates about democracy, human rights and social justice (Ševčenko 2010, 2011). Sites of conscience have emerged in response to diverse harms and injustices including institutional abuse, war, disappearance, environmental disaster, genocide, racial apartheid and labour exploitation.

This special issue of Space and Culture will bring together scholars, practitioners and activists to engage with sites of conscience who are interested in such sites in terms of social spaces. Editors Justine Lloyd (Sociology, Macquarie University, Australia) & Linda Steele (Law, University of Technology, Australia) are particularly interested in papers which consider how sites of conscience situate history, memory, politics, temporality, law, ethics and justice within a spatial framework.

They welcome abstracts engaging with sites of conscience including in the following contexts:

  • Materiality and sites of conscience.
  • Digital or otherwise spatially dispersed sites of conscience.
  • Relationships between spatialities of sites of conscience and temporality, materiality, and affect.
  • Sites of conscience in neoliberal times – privatisation, monetisation, gentrification, development.
  • Sites of conscience, dark tourism and memorialisation.
  • Cases for new sites of conscience not yet in existence, including in relation to current or emerging injustice and harm.
  • Sites of conscience, colonialism, self-determination and Indigenous people.
  • Sites of conscience and memorialisation in everyday or social spaces.
  • Relationships between place and justice in sites of conscience.
  • Relationships in sites of conscience between human rights, spatiality, materiality and place.
  • Place as archive, evidence or judgment.
  • Sites of conscience and ethical accountability in architecture, urban planning and heritage professions.

As well as engaging with the special issue’s theme all articles must (a) comply with the general submission requirements, (b) address the central concerns of the journal, which is to explore cutting-edge questions of spatiality and materiality by connecting conceptual analysis with empirical work (‘empirical’ being broadly construed), and (c) be of relevance to a wide international and multidisciplinary readership (see the Journal’s aims and scope).

Key dates:

  • 1 September 2019: deadline for abstracts (500 words) and bios (200 words)
  • October 2019: authors notified of outcome of abstracts and some invited to submit full article
  • 1 July 2020: deadline for full articles of 7000 words (including references). Acceptance of an abstract is not a guarantee of publication.

The editors plan to host a workshop in Sydney, Australia related to the theme of the special issue in the first half of 2020. Authors whose abstracts are accepted will be invited to participate in the workshop in order to develop their articles for submission. Funding for travel for accepted authors will not be possible, but we welcome virtual
participation in the workshop.

Sites of conscience practitioners are encouraged to contact the editors if they are interested in submitting a shorter ‘praxis’ piece

CFP: Framing the Penal Colony, 22-23 Nov 2019, Nottingham, UK

Framing the Penal Colony

22-23 November 2019, Nottingham, UK

Call for Papers

Whether presented as a tabula rasa onto which all the hopes, desires, pathologies and detritus of Empire might be projected, as a brilliant story of nation-state building via a hearty mix of backbreaking labour and genocide, or as an abandoned scarred landscape of failed utopian dreams, the penal colony is a space as much imagined as real. This conference will explore historical and contemporary representations of the penal colony as philosophical concept, political project and geographical imaginary. While direct challenges to existing historiographies are anticipated, the intention is to consider the role of visual culture, maps, photography, cinema, graphic novels/comics, museums in ‘framing’ the penal colony alongside literature, philosophy, politics. If the penal colony is generally considered to belong to the past, its legacy remains in the form of the prison islands and convict labour camps still operative across the globe. What can historical and contemporary representations of the penal colony tell us about its continuing legacy and what opportunities do such representations offer for thinking critically and creatively about our own ‘carceral’ present?

The organisers welcome proposals for papers or panels. Please send 250-word abstracts and a short bio to by 30 June 2019.

The conference is funded by the AHRC as part of the ‘Postcards from the bagne’ project and will be held at the National Justice Museum in Nottingham, UK