CFP AAG 2020 Food and Carceral Intersections: From geographies of confinement to enactments of abolition

Call for Papers: American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting | April 6-10, 2020 | Denver, CO USA

Paper Session: Food and Carceral Intersections: From Geographies of Confinement to Enactments of Abolition

Organizers: Joshua Sbicca (Colorado State University) and Becca Clark-Hargreaves (Colorado State University)

Session Description: How might we better understand food systems by attending to the penal system and vice versa? Carceral spaces – such as neighborhood zones of police surveillance and plantation prisons that exploit confined labor – reflect and reproduce systems of oppression also present in the food system (Gilmore 2007). In cities, the state regularly polices poverty instead of addressing the institutional racism and capitalist urbanization that perpetuates the lack of access to goods like healthy food (Wacquant 2009; Camp 2016). Additionally, the food system relies on carceral practices to secure disciplined labor by weaponizing the possibility of deportation for racialized undocumented workers and wielding the threat of violence to keep workers in the fields (Mitchell 1996; Horton 2016). And of course, there is slow death tied to low-quality food in prisons, prison food and agriculture industries, force feeding of prisoners, and the use of food (or its denial) as punishment (Camplin 2016; Smoyer 2019).

But there are also seeds of struggle for the abolition of penal logics and institutions that maintain the violence of the ongoing practices and legacies of colonialism, white supremacy, and institutional racism vis-à-vis food (Heynen 2016; Murguía 2018; Pellow 2018). Hunger strikes and food riots have long been used as a tool to gain the sympathy of the public, shame political opponents, and gain concessions from the state and penal officials (Scanlan et al. 2008; McGregor 2011; Bargu 2014). Food is also a site for resistance in prison, whether to celebrate cultural foodways or assert a sense of self and autonomy (Ugelvik 2011; Gibson-Light 2018). Food and environmental justice activists have also sought to intervene in mass incarceration and the prison pipeline with campaigns and initiatives that support prisoners and formerly incarcerated people (Sbicca 2016; Nocella, Ducre, and Lupinacci 2016).

This session seeks to critically explore these and other intersections between food and carceral systems, politics, ideologies, spatialities, and social movements. We are especially interested in papers working through food and carceral politics through the lens of racial capitalism, racial neoliberalism, Plantationocene and plantation ecologies, abolition ecologies, masculinities and femininities, restorative justice, environmental justice, food justice, and food sovereignty.  

Some possible orienting topics include:

  • Farming, gardening, and horticulture programs in prison
  • Prison food industries
  • Social, cultural, and spatial dimensions of prison food
  • Plantation and carceral logics and the food system
  • Prison food riots and hunger strikes
  • Prison abolition and reform efforts that engage with food politics
  • Conversion of farmland into prisons and jails
  • Impacts of toxic prisons and jails on agriculture
  • Food and environmental justice activism with prisoners and formerly incarcerated people
  • Social movement alliances between food and prison abolition/reform activists  

Please send paper titles and abstracts (250 words maximum) and your personal identification number (received from the AAG after registering online at www.aag.org) to Joshua Sbicca, Colorado State University (j.sbicca@colostate.edu). Please send by October 21.

References

Bargu, Banu. 2014. Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Camp, J. T. 2016. Incarcerating the Crisis: Freedom Struggles and the Rise of the Neoliberal State. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Camplin, E., 2016. Prison Food in America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Gilmore, R. W. 2007. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Heynen, N., 2016. Urban political ecology II: The abolitionist century. Progress in Human Geography, 40(6), 839-845.

Horton, S.B., 2016. They Leave Their Kidneys in the Fields: Illness, Injury, and Illegality Among US Farmworkers. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

McGregor, J., 2011. Contestations and consequences of deportability: hunger strikes and the political agency of non-citizens. Citizenship Studies, 15(5): 597-611.

Mitchell, D., 1996. The Lie of the Land: Migrant Workers and the California Landscape. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Murguía, S.J., 2018. Food as a Mechanism of Control and Resistance in Jails and Prisons: Diets of Disrepute. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Nocella II, A.J., Ducre, K.A. and Lupinacci, J. eds., 2016. Addressing Environmental and Food Justice Toward Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Poisoning and Imprisoning Youth. New York, NY: Springer.

Pellow, D.N., 2018. “Political Prisoners and Environmental Justice.” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism. 29(4), 1-20.

Sbicca, J., 2016. These bars can’t hold us back: Plowing incarcerated geographies with restorative food justice. Antipode, 48(5), 1359-1379.

Scanlan, S.J., Cooper Stoll, L. and Lumm, K., 2008. Starving for change: The hunger strike and nonviolent action, 1906–2004. In Research in social movements, conflicts and change (275-323). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Smoyer, A.B., 2019. Food in correctional facilities: A scoping review. Appetite. 141(1).

Ugelvik, T., 2011. The hidden food: Mealtime resistance and identity work in a Norwegian prison. Punishment & Society, 13(1), 47-63.

Wacquant, L. 2009. Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal Government of Social Insecurity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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