Global Carceral Geographies at the AAG2017

The 2017 AAG (American Association of Geographers) conference takes place next week (5-9 April)  in Boston, and there will be four sessions on carceral geography.

Confinement is on the move. In recent years, governments around the world have resorted to deploying the spatial power of incarceration in its many architectural, legal, and embodied forms to shutter away an enormous number of lives that are deemed undesirable, undocumented or dangerous. From the U.S.’ enormous federal and state prison system to Libya’s migrant jails at the edges of the E.U., the confinement of bodies has been used as a panacea for complex political and economic crises, often exacerbating the very problems they claim to resolve and creating a global underclass of people confined and/or surveilled by the state and for-profit contractors. Geographers have played a critical role in research on confinement, including: the political economy of prisons, the proliferation of immigrant detention, the affective and embodied life inside detention, historical geographies of confinement, and the prevalence of mobile carceral networks. We aim to move existing literature forward by challenging the apparent differences between various types of confinement (such as incarceration and immigrant detention), widening our discussion of confinement beyond the U.S. and U.K., and deepening our methodological and theoretical frameworks for analyzing carceral geographies.

1205 Global Carceral Geographies I: Carceral Experiences is scheduled on Wednesday, 5th April , from 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Room 105, Hynes, Plaza Level.

In this session, we focus specifically on how people experience incarceration as a spatial technology of power. The session features papers from:

Anna Schliehe, Dr – University of Cambridge Dialogues across carceral space: comparative research and the case of penal exceptionalism

Anaïs Tschanz – University of Montreal Carceral (im)mobilities and inmate experience of distance in the Canadian province of Quebec.

Nicolas Sallée – Université de Montréal Imprisoned rehabilitation? The carceral nature of a Quebec secure juvenile facility.

Jennifer Turner – University of Liverpool; Dominique Moran – University of Birmingham; Yvonne Jewkes – University of Brighton Serving time with a sea view: escaping prison via therapeutic blue space

1405 Global Carceral Geographies II: Carceral Societies is scheduled on Wednesday 5th April from 12:40 PM – 2:20 PM in Room 105, Hynes, Plaza Level

In this session, we focus specifically on incarceration and the management of confined bodies as an endemic symptom of social violence. The session features papers from:

Olivier Milhaud – University Paris-Sorbonne, UMR ENeC CNRS A theoretical framework for confinement (prisons, distance, discontinuities, France)

Julie De Dardel – University of Geneva Ethics in and after the field in prison research

1505 Global Carceral Geographies III: Confining the Other is scheduled on Wednesday 5th April from 2:40 PM – 4:20 PM in Room 105, Hynes, Plaza Level

In this session, we focus specifically on the role of confinement in creating and reinforcing notions of geographic, legal, and social “otherness”. The session features papers from:

Lauren Martin – Durham University The Carceral Mobilities of Cash: Outsourcing, Digital Surveillance, and Refused Asylum-seeker Assistance in the United Kingdom

Leigh Barrick – University of British Columbia Separating families to maintain family unity, and other paradoxes of U.S. deterrence policy

Austin Kocher – The Ohio State University, Department of Geography The Legal Construction of Space: On the Juridical Relationship Between Immigrant Detention, Immigration Courts, and Border Enforcement in the United States

Adam Joseph Barker – University of Leicester Carcerality and Indigeneity: the roots of ‘Indian territory’ in Turtle Island (North America)

1605 Global Carceral Geographies IV: Carceral Intersections is scheduled on Wednesday 5th April, from 4:40 PM – 6:20 PM in Room 105, Hynes, Plaza Level.

In this session, we focus specifically on the intersections between incarceration and other forms of political power and social control. The session features papers from:

Emma Marshall – University of Exeter Investigating the possibilities of online activism as a challenge to carceral space

Jesse Proudfoot – Durham University Scaling Addiction

Odilka Sabrina Santiago – Binghamton University  Predictive Policing and the Transformation of Carceral Space: Promotes, rather than, Prevents Violence

Christophe Mincke – National Institute for Forensic Science and Criminology From confinement to monitoring. The carceral as management of the transitory

Elsewhere in the program, carceral geographers will also surely be interested to attend:

2492 PREM: The Daily Life of Police Violence on Thursday, 6th April, from 1:20 PM – 3:00 PM in Provincetown, Marriott, Fourth Floor

3192 PREM: Racialized State Power and the Problem of Reform on Friday, 7th April, from 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Provincetown, Marriott, Fourth Floor

and

3492 PREM: A Roundtable on Prisons, Racism, Empire, Militarism
on Friday, 7th April 2017, from 1:20 PM – 3:00 PM in Provincetown, Marriott, Fourth Floor

…and papers from…

Brett Story, Post-Doctoral Fellow – CUNY Graduate Center  The Prison in the City

Vanessa Anne Massaro, PhD – Bucknell University  “In and outta jail”: State reliance on family support networks through prisons’ revolving door

Shaul Cohen – University of Oregon Transcending Space, Embracing Time: Geographic Imagination From Within a Prison

Madeleine Hamlin – Syracuse University Second Chances in the Second City: Mapping Chicago’s Carceral Continuum

Jen Bagelman,- Exeter University Subterranean Detention & Sanctuary from below

Richard Nisa – Fairleigh Dickinson University Laboratories of Enemy Behavior: Cold War Social Science and the Korean War Prison

Bella Robinson – CoyoteRI, and Elena Shih – Brown University Policing Modern Day Slavery: Sex Work and the Carceral State in Rhode Island

 

 

 

New book! Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention (Deirdre Conlon and Nancy Hiemstra)

intimate-economies-coverTwo of the leading scholars in carceral geography have put together a superb collection of essays in the Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy series, scrutinising the ideologies, policies and practices that enable the troubling, unparalleled and seemingly unbridled growth of immigration detention around the world.

In Intimate Economies of Immigration Detention an international collection of scholars provides crucial new insights into immigration detention, recounting at close range how detention’s effects ricochet from personal and everyday experiences to broader political-economic, social and cultural spheres. Contributors draw on original research in the US, Australia, Europe, and beyond to scrutinise the increasingly tangled relations associated with detention operation and migration management. With new theoretical and empirical perspectives on detention, the chapters collectively present a toolbox for better understanding the forces behind and broader implications of the seemingly uncontested rise of immigration detention.

Reviews:

‘This impressive and wide-ranging collection brings together leading scholars to expose the intimate economies, experiences, and processes that shape immigration detention. From the pocket money provided for asylum seekers in Danish detention centres, to the growing capacity of the detention estate across Europe, this collection traces a series of politically astute linkages between intimate experiences and global processes. By placing detention at the heart of contemporary migration, Conlon and Hiemstra have produced a volume that makes a critical intervention into debates over mobility, governance, and the politics of citizenship. In foregrounding the entangled relationships of detention, this volume contributes both a theoretically innovative focus on the intimate, whilst also calling attention to the political and ethical urgency of challenging detention across the world. Anyone interested in understanding the immigration detention industry, and in actively contesting it, will find inventive, insightful, and powerful resources in this book.’ — Jonathan Darling, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Manchester, UK

‘Deirdre Conlon and Nancy Hiemstra have pulled together an astonishing collection of essays which focus on the intimate economies of immigration detention and shed light on the lived experiences of being detained in several countries. The wide geographic range presented in this collection is impressive and helps give the reader a sense of the extent to which immigration detention has become a global phenomenon. The collection is theoretically and empirically innovative, providing us both with new ways of thinking about the increasingly-common practice of detention as well as new insights into the significant physical and emotional toll detention takes on migrants’ lives. The editors creatively build on concepts of accumulation and dispossession to advance our conceptual understanding of the intimate economies of immigration detention. This important set of essays brings that which is often hidden – immigration detention – to light and does so in provocative ways. This book will be a critical addition to classes on immigration, political economy, and state repression. Moreover, anyone interested in migrant rights anywhere in the world should read this volume.’ — Tanya Golash-Boza, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Merced, US

‘Intimate Economies of Immigrant Detention powerfully brings to life the best of feminist theory by showing how and why the seemingly banal, the familiar, and the everyday matter—and matter in profound ways. From the price of toothpaste immigrant detainees are compelled to pay to humanitarian efforts to “improve” what are inherently dehumanizing detention practices, this invaluable volume illuminates the messy connections between political economic processes, state practices, and experiences imprisoned migrants endure. In doing so, the book demonstrates the simultaneous hardening of various boundaries and their increasing blurriness given the myriad connections that transcend and produce them, and that they reflect.’ — Joseph Nevins, Associate Professor of Geography, Vassar College, USA.

 

 

Carceral Geography Conference 2016 at the University of Birmingham: Confinement, Crossings and Conditions

Carceral Geography Conference 2016 at the University of Birmingham : Confinement, Crossings and Conditionsaston webb

The School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham will host the first dedicated conference for Carceral Geography, on Tuesday 13th December 2016.

Call for Papers

Abstracts are invited for papers which address the themes of this conference: Confinement, Crossings and Conditions. These themes pertain to the nature and experience of carceral confinement, broadly interpreted; the notion of crossing of an assumed or contested boundary both between spaces of confinement and ‘other’ spaces,  and to the ways in which carceral experiences persist after periods of custody have ended – both for those confined, and for affected others. During ESRC research projects to which the conference is linked, (focused on the experience of carceral spaces) issues of absence, intimacy, choreography and the microscale emerged as significant, and prospective speakers are invited to engage with (but are by no means limited to) these notions. Papers which discuss methodological or theoretical approaches for carceral geography, and those exploring the ‘place’ of carceral geography in relation to human geography / criminology / carceral studies more generally are also welcome.

Abstracts from postgraduate and early career researchers are particularly welcome.

As well as providing a forum for dissemination and discussion of new and recent research in carceral geography, this event is intended provide a ‘springboard’ for the development of an organisational structure for this subdiscipline: there will formal and informal opportunities to discuss and plan actions and activities around this topic.

A limited number of travel and accommodation bursaries will be available for paper presenters.

Please use this URL to:

  • Register to attend as a speaker, and submit your abstract
  • Register to attend as a non-presenting delegate

If you are submitting an abstract, please note that the closing date to do so is 8am (GMT) on Friday 7th October. Selection decisions will be communicated by Friday 14th October.

 

Carceral Geography Conferencing

2016/17 brings new opportunities for discussion and development in carceral geography!

Hoping to continue in the tradition of a strong presence of research in carceral geography at American Association of Geographers (AAG) conferences since Washington DC in 2010, Austin Kocher, Nick Gill and I have just issued a Call for Papers for the AAG in Boston, MA to be held April 5-9 2017:

Global Carceral Geographies

Organizers

Austin Kocher (Ohio State University)

Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham)

Nicholas Gill (University of Exeter)

Confinement is on the move. In recent years, governments around the world have resorted to the spatial power of incarceration in its many architectural, legal, and embodied forms to shutter away an enormous number of lives that are deemed undesirable, undocumented or dangerous. From the U.S.’ enormous federal and state prison system to Libya’s migrant jails at the edges of the E.U., the confinement of bodies has been used as a panacea to complex political and economic crises, often exacerbating the very problems they claim to resolve and creating a global underclass of people confined and/or surveilled by the state and for-profit contractors. We use the term confinement here as an ecumenical concept that aims to bring together the many sites (jails, prisons, detention centers, holding facilities, airplanes, buses, etc.) and practices (arrest, sentencing, solitary confinement, internal uprisings and resistance, abuse, deportation, parole) that shed light on the management of bodies.

Geographers have played a critical role in research on confinement, including the political economy of prisons (Bonds, 2009; Conlon & Hiemstra, 2017; Gilmore, 2007), the proliferation of immigrant detention (Loyd, Mitchelson, & Burridge, 2013; Martin, 2012; Moran, Gill, & Conlon, 2013; Mountz, 2011; Mountz, Coddington, Catania, & Loyd, 2013), affective and embodied life inside detention (Moran et al., 2013; Morin, 2013), historical geographies of confinement (Morin & Moran, 2015), and carceral mobilities (Peters & Turner, in press). A central theme of this work is that confinement is complex and heterogeneous, and it also reproduces power relations that exceed formal spaces of incarceration (Gill, Conlon, Moran, & Burridge, forthcoming). We aim to move this literature forward by challenging the apparent differences between various types of confinement (such as incarceration and immigrant detention), widening our discussion of confinement beyond the U.S. and U.K., and deepening our methodological and theoretical frameworks for analyzing carceral geographies.

To this end, we invite papers on research related to carceral geographies for the AAG 2017. We are especially interested in ongoing and experimental research on new forms of incarceration, detention and resistance, both within and beyond carceral geography, including contributions from cognate disciplines (e.g. criminology, prison sociology and critical legal studies).

Possible themes include:

  • the institutional convergences and divergences of detention and incarceration
  • confinement outside of the Anglophone world
  • uprisings and internal resistance
  • carceral circuitry
  • family and childhood detention
  • confinement in historical perspective
  • carceral mobilities
  • related institutions: courts, police, parole, sheriffs, border patrol
  • neoliberal prison reform
  • identity and social difference
  • LGBTQ+ issues and resistance
  • private for-profit economies
  • emotional and affective experiences of incarceration
  • geographies of cradle-to-prison pipelines
  • prison architecture and design
  • exporting and importing confinement
  • alternatives to confinement
  • theoretical and methodological approaches to carceral geographies

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Austin Kocher (kocher.51@osu.edu) by October 1, 2016 to be considered for the paper session. If we receive an excess of excellent proposals, we will consider expanding to more than one paper session.

Once your abstract is approved by the organizers, you will still need to register separately with the AAG website by October 27, 2016.

The 2017 AAG Annual Meeting will be held in Boston from April 5th through 9th. See http://www.aag.org/annualmeeting for more details.

On the UK side of the Atlantic, plans are in process for the first stand-alone conference for Carceral Geography, to be held at the University of Birmingham on 12-13th December 2016. Watch this space for more details and a Call for Papers!

Criminological Encounters – call for papers for new journal

Carceral geographers may be interested to submit papers for the inaugural issue of the new free open-access journal Criminological Encounters,  a new international, interdisciplinary and open-access journal that aims to facilitate critical dialogues between scholars of criminology and interlocutors in other social, academic, and professional domains about contemporary issues of crime, harm, violence, in/justice, security, law, and society.

The editors have published the following invitation for submissions for Issue 1: “Introducing Criminological Encounters”

“Criminology is famously described as a rendezvous discipline: a meeting place for the established disciplines of the social sciences and humanities, as well as the exact and natural sciences. At the same time criminology can be considered as a self-established, standalone discipline with transdiciplinary origins. The underdetermined character of criminology in these times of heightened sensitivities to issues of crime and in/security makes it a challenging but also exciting field of study. This journal understands criminology as a discipline of encounters: encounters both in the sense of constructive dialogues as well as confrontations around given subjects. These confrontations are at times intellectual in nature, and at others are more explicitly political. This journal also considers criminology as not only the science for the study and understanding of crime and its causes and consequences but also as a discipline that is dedicated to research on conflicts and other social issues from a holistic perspective.

Forthcoming issues within Criminological Encounters will focus on thematic topics and feature competing and complimentary perspectives around these themes. This could be, for example, an encounter between criminologists and sociologists, or between health scholars and nutritionists on the topic of “food in prison”. It could be an encounter between criminologists and urban sociologists, geographers and urban studies scholars on topics like “conflict in public spaces”, “border control and crimmigration”, “electronic monitoring”, “youth delinquency”, and so on.

The journal is, however, not limited to interdisciplinary dialogues but also includes debates between scientists and practitioners (e.g. criminology scholars and law enforcement agents), between criminologists from the “Global North” and criminologists from the “Global South”, or between different criminological methodologies (e.g. qualitative versus quantitative) and theoretical schools of thought (e.g. Foucauldian versus Marxist). Many different encounters are thus possible.”

While the issues of this journal will focus on thematic topics, its very first issue, scheduled for publication in fall 2016, will take its title “Criminological Encounters” as the subject of scrutiny.  Both theoretical reflections and empirical contributions that are in line with, but not limited to, the following themes, will be welcome:

  • The dialogues between criminology and given disciplines: e.g. criminology and geography, criminology and law, criminology and political science, criminology and philosophy;
  • The dialogues between criminology scholars and practitioners: e.g. criminology and law enforcement agents, criminology and policy makers;
  • The encounter between competing research methods: e.g. qualitative versus quantitative approaches in criminology;
  • The encounter between competing theories or between different schools of thought: e.g. critical versus positivistic criminology; American versus European criminology; criminology from the “Global South” and criminology from the “Global North”;
  • The essence of criminology as a standalone discipline amid its different multidisciplinary influences;
  • Criminology as the science for the studies of conflicts;
  •  “Criminological encounters”: authors are invited to present other possibilities of interpretation of such encounters;

The editors appeal to authors from different disciplinary backgrounds who – given their research subjects – are seeking a dialogue with criminology. These encounters between different intellectual school of thoughts and competing paradigms set the stage for intra- or interdisciplinary dialogues about an array of topics. And it is exactly these conversations that we set out to present in this journal.

Submission

Submissions in English of a minimum of 6,000 and a  maximum of 9,000 words (notes and bibliographic references included) should be sent before May 22nd, 2016 through the online submission link. All articles will pass a double blind review process and authors can expect feedback on their submission within 3 months. The journal will not charge any submission fee.

Carceral Geography at the IGU2016, Beijing

Rethinking Carceral Geography in ‘Harmonised Societies’

The 33rd International Geographical Congress (IGC) of the International Geographical Union (IGU) will be held in Beijing, China, on 21-25
August 2016.

Claudio Minca and Chin-Ee Ong are seeking papers for their session on Rethinking Carceral Geography in ‘Harmonised Societies’ organised under the IGU Political Geography Commission (C.33). Their call is as follows:

***

In recent years, geographers have contributed to the understanding of spaces of surveillance, violence and control (Moran, 2015; Philo, 2012) and
have located such geographical inquiries in camps (Minca & Ong, 2015; Minca, 2015), prisons (Minca & Ong, 2015) and inmate transportation (Moran, Piacentini, & Pallot, 2012). This session first seeks to rethink the role of carceral geography within the context of discourses endorsing and promoting reconciliation and harmony in society. Specifically, we ask whether carceral spaces and notions and practices of control, discipline and punishment have a place in what may be termed ‘harmonious societies’ historically, at present, and in the future. While the notion of ‘harmonious societies’ may have found currency and usage in discourses articulated by politicians, its tendencies towards non-antagonistic consensus presents critical questions for carceral spatialities. Should a harmonious society preserve and remember its past spaces of discipline and violence? What role do current and future carceral spaces play in a harmonious society (if at all)? Are control, discipline and detention key functions for a harmonious society?

We are therefore interested in papers engagging with the following sub-themes:

· Reconceptualising the ‘carceral’ and the ‘carceral spaces’;

· The biopolitics of detention;

· Spatial technologies of incarceration;

· Geographies of detention, custody and care;

· Control, surveillance and society;

· Prisons, asylums, camps and quasi-carceral spatialities.

· ‘Carceral spaces’ after the prison:

· Post-carceral politics of memory, forgetting and representation;

· Post-carceral geographies of heritage and of tourism;

· The power of place: cultural histories of past spatialities of violence.

Enquiries regarding the session may be directed to Chin-Ee Ong (geooce@nus.edu.sg) or Claudio Minca (claudio.minca@wur.nl). Please submit abstracts of not more than 250 words through the conference website at http://www.igc2016.org/dct/page/70047.

The deadline is Monday, 15 February 2016. Please note that: (i) titles should consist of no more than 20 words; (ii) no abbreviations are to be
used in titles; and (iii) please be sure to include no more than 10 key words. We will get in touch regarding acceptance by 16 April 2016.

*Panel Conveners:*

Professor Claudio Minca, Wageningen University, the Netherlands (claudio.minca@wur.nl) and

Dr Chin-Ee Ong, National University of Singapore, Singapore, (geooce@nus.edu.sg).

PhD opportunity in Carceral Geography

PhD opportunity in Carceral Geography at the University of Birmingham, UK, to start October 2016; deadline for applications February 2016.

Architectural Geographies of the UK Custodial Estate

Supervisors: Dr Dominique Moran and Professor Peter Kraftl

This PhD engages with the UK’s Government Soft Landings (GSL) scheme, and the utilisation of Building Information Modelling (BIM), within the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ), for the construction of new justice buildings (police stations, courts, prisons). It builds on research at GEES in carceral and architectural geographies; extending inquiry into geographies of incarceration, and drawing attention to ‘banal’ rather than ‘signature’ buildings, whilst emphasising a need to understand how policies, procedures and procurement practices affect how buildings are designed and delivered. GSL seeks to ensure that new public buildings deliver to their brief, and that lessons learned from their construction are effectively captured. It seeks better outcomes for built assets, smoothing transition from construction into use. UK public sector procurers are mandated to adopt BIM, a form of Computer Aided Design, in all public sector construction projects by March 2016. BIM is intended to streamline project management, interaction between supply chain members, and enable leaner project delivery. Planned for a particular ‘moment’ in the evolution of public sector construction, the project will examine the implementation of GSL and the adoption of BIM within the MoJ, an early adopter of GSL.

The PhD will speak to notions of ‘future geographies’, anticipation and preparedness; the ‘future-proofing’ element of GSL/BIM. It will also explore the links between design, construction, maintenance and use, and the relational, processual nature of building work, as well as interrogating the role of architects in introducing design, innovation, and creativity into the technical processes of GSL/BIM. The PhD also has the potential to advance theory, considering the spatiotemporal terms which might be deployed to understand buildings as ‘more-than events’, building on a recent anti-Deleuzian turn against events and relationality in some recent philosophies of materiality, and perhaps, therefore, constitute a challenge to and development of geographies of architecture and carceral geographies.

This PhD project is founded on close contact with the external partner, with a professional placement augmented by regular contact with MoJ, supply chain partners and other relevant parties with a focus on custodial construction programme and delivery of GSL tasks.

UK and EU applicants may be able to enter the competition for ESRC scholarships at the University of Birmingham. A separate application is required for the funding competition, deadline in February. Applicants interested in applying for such funding must contact the named supervisor – d.moran@bham.ac.uk – and apply for PhD study at Birmingham well ahead of this deadline. Link.

 

 

Call for Papers AAG 2016 – Carceral Geography: Conceptualising the Carceral

Call for Papers AAG 2016 San Francisco, CA

Carceral Geography: Conceptualising the Carceral

Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham) and Jennifer Turner (University of Leicester)

The ‘carceral’ exists both within and separate from the physical spaces of incarceration; it aligns with the conceptual framework of the ‘carceral turn’ as addressing ‘human experiences and social practices that involve systems of confinement [which] differ from those that a sociology of punishment can or perhaps should address’ (Brown 2014, 178). In this way, carceral geography contributes to an understanding of the carceral which ‘complicates and exceeds categories of criminality, penality and victimhood’ (ibid).

Carceral geography has already concerned itself with (experiences of) spaces of confinement very broadly conceived and operating at every scale from the global to the personal, and in this CFP we wish to explore the potential diversity of research in this arena. Although ‘incarceration’ has conventionally come to refer to the legal confinement of sentenced offenders under the jurisdiction of the state, by contrast the ‘carceral’ embraces the myriad ways in which persons could be, and indeed are, confined by other means; or indeed the means by which they could confine themselves. Whilst appreciating that such circumstances differ dramatically from each other, taking this more wide-ranging approach enables geography to interpret the ‘carceral’ as far exceeding imprisonment. Whilst including the conventional, state-sanctioned spaces of incarceration which hold sentenced prisoners, it also encompasses the spaces of detention of refugees, noncitizens, asylum seekers, the trafficked and the renditioned, as well as ‘forms of confinement that burst internment structures and deliver carceral effects without physical immobilization’ (Moran et al 2013, 240).

In this CFP we invite submissions whose intention is to move towards a conceptualisation of the carceral which exceeds conventional incarceration; considering the reach of the ‘carceral’ beyond spaces, practices and institutions of imprisonment.

Papers could consider topics including, but not limited to:

  • theorisations of the carceral
  • unlawful imprisonment, kidnap, abduction, curfew, grounding
  • electronic monitoring, surveillance and securitized public spaces
  • personal and nuanced forms of confinement
  • mobile notions of the carceral inscribed upon the individual
  • embodied stigma and corporeal practices which recall previous (conventional) incarceration

Submissions:

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by email to Jennifer Turner (jt264@le.ac.uk) and Dominique Moran (d.moran@bham.ac.uk) by Friday 9th October 2015.

Successful submissions will be contacted by 15th October 2015 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 29th 2015 ahead of a session proposal deadline of 18th November 2015. Please note a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the formal submission of abstracts to AAG.

Carceral Geographies at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, IL

by Jen Turner

The recent meeting of the AAG was a very fruitful event for those interested in carceral geographies, with some of the offerings in the sub-discipline comprising of the six paper sessions and panel session organised by myself and Dominique Moran. Held over two of the five days in the conference programme, the quality and variety of papers is testament to the ongoing vibrancy of the area of carceral geographies.

In the first session on “Theorisations of Confinement”, Christophe Mincke began proceedings with his paper entitled Prison: Legitimacy Through Mobility? Mincke scrutinised the relationship between prison and mobility (and the counterpart societal relations that render this problematic) to interrogate the notion of a continuum of carceral mobilities. His case study surrounding the Belgian Prison Act considered the flow and activity of spaces of incarceration. Continuing this theme, Kimberley Peters (with co-author Jennifer Turner) called for a consideration of carceral mobility that extends beyond horizontal motion in her ‘Unlock the volume’: bringing height and depth to carceral mobilities. Peters and Turner’s theorisation of volumetric carceral mobilities is drawn from archival research into voyages on board convict ships transporting prisoners to colonies in Australia in the early nineteenth century. In the final paper of this session, Stephanie Figgins took a lead from Matthew Mitchelson’s notion of bedspace in her paper Between the Sheets of the U.S. Deportation Regime. Figgins illustrated how the detention state can become numerically evaluated according to cost and availability of single bed units and detailed measures by which detainees were treated with negative associations of “docile and lazy” spaces of sleep. Acting as our first discussant, Nick Gill commented upon the variety of rich methods for theorising different aspects of movement and evaluation practices across these different carceral spaces. Gill was particularly keen to see methodological innovation for carceral geographers in order to reflect the advancement of theorisations in these areas.

The second paper session very clearly adhered to its guiding themes of “Prison Architecture and Design”. Gideon Boie turned again to Belgium in Prison Up Close: the new subject of a penitentiary spatial structure. Detailing the development of the highly contested prison masterplan, he exemplified the proposed Huizen (“houses”) which would encompass small-scale residential complexes outside of the traditional prison perimeter. Boie presented a very hopeful future for humane prison design where architects had a social responsibility for developments. In contrast, Dominique Moran (presenting work co-authored by Jennifer Turner and Yvonne Jewkes) observed how prison design in the UK disrupts notions in architectural geographies of a creative architect playing a central role in building production. In Becoming big things: Building events and the architectural geographies of incarceration in England and Wales, Moran appraised processes of commissioning and tendering, as well as design and modelling which combines to restrict the function of architects in the design process and limits their involvement in the final prison product. Taking note of these practices to produce homogenous and replicable prison spaces, I presented my paper Components of the carceral: The lived experience of prison design (which was also co-authored with Dominique and Yvonne). Here, I considered the implications of these one-size-fits-all design policies upon the irrational and non-normative bodies that these spaces house, calling for attention to the microarchitectures of prison space. Finally, taking a more positive tract, Fie Vandamme introduced a project comprising focus groups with prisoners exploring their responses to different design choices. Entitled Fit IN Stand OUT: Rules and Elements for Humane Prison Architecture, Vandamme’s paper explained how ten rules for prison design had evolved from this participatory research. These included everything from ownership over cell door keys to re-thinking spaces such as landings and corridors. In summarising these papers Lauren Martin raised questions about whether prison design can indeed engineer a way to rehabilitation and encouraged consideration of these potential counterarguments. Beyond innovation of prison design itself, Martin asked whether carceral geographers should have a role in suggesting the reduction of the prison estate as an alternative solution.

Orisanmi Burton presented first in the session entitled “Activity, Agency and Organisation”. The Politics of Containment: Prison-Based Activism in the Empire State focussed upon the ideas and practices of the Black Consciousness Coalition (BCC), an activist organisation that operates within a men’s prison in New York State. Burton’s correspondence with BCC leadership formed the basis for this paper, generating important questions about the kind of politics that can practiced by serving prisoners within carceral space due to censorship and negotiation of these restrictions. Lloyd Gray drew upon his interests in prisoner education to explore prisoner perceptions of this area. His paper was entitled How do prisoners experience and perceive the education environment within a prison? An interpretative phenomenological analysis approach. Using empirical data from interviews conducted with prisoners involved with education programmes, Gray interrogated the positive associations beyond the classroom that such involvement may generate. Geraldine Brown and Elizabeth Bos introduced their paper, A holistic evaluation of delivering a community based food growing mentoring programme in a prison setting with substance misuse offenders on behalf of their colleagues (including Geraldine Brady) at the University of Coventry. Their paper detailed the positive results of the Master Gardener Programme introduced in a male prison in the Midlands of the UK. Participants were asked to assess their own recovery journey through the development of personal ‘circles of change’ through the identification of points of change. Acting as discussant Shaul Cohen praised the research conducted by all presenters in being able to achieve meaningful interaction with serving prisoners. These collaborative data generation projects would potentially aid much fruitful research which could help discern what is happening in these activities within prison, further revealing the how and why of activity and organisation within the carceral setting.

In “Gendered and Embodied ConfinementVictoria Knight’s paper Modus Vivendi: The cell, emotions, social relations and television considered the treaty or resolve prisoners might undertake in their negotiation of television-watching in shared cell spaces. Attending to the politics of scheduling and taste, Knight also interrogated the legitimisation of television access as a means of ensuring safety and appropriate cell-sharing. Jessica Bird’s paper Segregation in Scottish Prisons: A Socio-Spatial History demonstrated a recognition of geographical scholarship in the recent carceral past. The paper detailed a breadth of interests from her wider PhD thesis including a charting of architectural design from community to cellular confinement, through to the designation by prisoners of spaces of imprisonment as ‘war zones’, ‘graves’, ‘sanctuaries’ and ‘creative spaces’. William Payne provided a unique empirical example in Governmentality, performativity and sexuality – A scholarly consideration of a drag show in a prison. Focussing upon the area of the Sally Port (the area between the prison gate and the prison inside proper) he posited this space as a kind of borderland in which a complex relationship of scrutiny, surveillance and (paradoxically) movement all at once occurs. Rae Rosenberg examined transcultural identities in carceral geography through a paper entitled Transgender Embodiment in Carceral Space: Hypermasculinity and the US Prison Industrial Complex. Rosenberg recounted restrictions imposed upon transgender prisoners such as upon their physical appearance (being forced to cut hair and nails) and access to hormones. Surprisingly, his paper detailed occasions of hope and resistance whereby prisoners successfully harnessed their chosen identities through imaginative mobilities to outside space through prisoner artwork. These underlying hopeful messages were central to the summary suggestions outlined by Karen Morin. Recognising the importance of gender and embodiment in all aspects of carceral scholarship Morin drew all four papers together through purposeful activities prisoners were involved with in each of the four papers: creative enterprise, communication, negotiation and collaboration in such restrictive spaces.

In the first of two sessions focussing on “(Re)defining Boundaries”, Elizabeth Bos and Geraldine Brown returned to the case study of the Master Gardener Programme. Here their paper, We were there too: Reflexive experiences of evaluating a prison gardening intervention negotiated the complex subject of researcher positionality in the prison setting. Drawing upon their own ethnographic data, Bos and Brown interrogated the specific role of gender, religion and race in their research project. Following this, Dana Cuomo’s paper Incarceration and domestic violence: Perspectives from victims on the outside offered an analysis of public and private violence, questioning the role of incarceration for domestic violence offenders. Using qualitative data gathered during fieldwork in a domestic violence unit of a local police department, this paper examined the experiences of women following the incarceration of their abusive partners. In the following paper, Tony Sparks noted how the punitive turn in urban policy more broadly has been accompanied by an expansion by spaces of care and rehabilitation, especially as cities have come to question mass incarceration. His paper, entitled The Asylum is on These Streets: Managing Mental Illness in the Carceral Community drew upon court records, interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork conducted within San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Court to explore the ways in which ideals of community and community care are imbricated within broader logics of confinement and governmental control. In the final paper of the session, Avril Maddrell introduced The charity shop, permeable carceral spaces, gendered power relations, reparation and rehabilitation. Here, she introduced in-depth interview data from a ten-year review of a scheme employing prisoners upon day release in charity shops (thrift stores). Her paper utilised the concept of ‘bordering’ to interrogate the permeable and impermeable spaces and boundaries of what constitutes prison and the vernacularisation of carceral processes. By way of final conclusion to a successful day of papers, I had the opportunity to act as discussant. By pulling these four papers together around the theme of the session, it is clear that there is a wealth of opportunity to consider how the prison border may be conceptualised. How does the boundary come to be positive or negative, depending on the circumstances? These papers also raised questions about how researchers traverse such boundaries and the potentiality of such projects to inform/transform the lived experience of carceral space.

 

The second day of sessions was opened by Oriane Simon in our closing paper session focussing again upon “(Re)defining Boundaries”. Her paper entitled Extraordinary Rendition’s Transfers in Ambiguous Spaces was a powerful interrogation of the process of movement of these detainees itself, focusing upon the importance of the body in, for example, resisting such things as sensory deprivation during transport. Following this Vanessa Massaro’s paper (read in absentia) focused upon Prison’s revolving door and the porous boundaries of carceral spaces. By exemplifying the similarities between neighbourhood blocks and prison cell blocks, Massaro considered the reproduction of spaces from the ‘inside’ on the outside fuelled by drug activities. In doing so, this paper powerfully argues for continued attention to carceral spaces beyond the boundaries of the institution. Our final paper of the series was delivered by Stephen Sherman, who turned our attention in the direction of GIS to interrogate Why Drug-Free School Zones are Bad for Communities: Evaluating sentence enhancement zone outcomes across urban forms. Here Sherman demonstrated how policy – here the implementation of Drug-Free Zones – creates nodes of carcerality. By criminalising certain activities in particular areas, these policies introduce geographical spaces where individuals are more likely to be incarcerated. Dominique Moran as discussant shared a number of common themes between the three papers, including the recognition of multiple spaces and overlapping jurisdictions of carceral spaces; the significance of transfers between such spaces; and the constant state of becoming evident in the carceral state and its practices. This raised a number of pertinent questions including those of what a carceral identity might consist of and what indeed it may adhere to.

Our final session, featured Shaul Cohen, Deirdre Conlon, Nick Gill and Dominique Moran in a panel on the subject of “Future Directions in Carceral Geographies”. In this session, panellists were asked to say a few words to situate carceral geographies within the wider discipline/alongside other disciplines and suggest areas for forthcoming attention. Beginning proceedings, Deirdre Conlon noted the encouraging attention to social, cultural, active and embodied carceral geographies – as evidenced clearly in the programme of these sessions. However, she invited scholars to (re)consider political and economic elements and their complex relationships with these other aspects. Conlon also asked carceral geographers to think about the interplay between detention centres and prisons, particularly because, firstly, the immigrant detention population is growing and, secondly, it is the site where privatisation first began. She called for research that attended specifically to migrant detainees in mainstream prisons. Continuing the discussion, Shaul Cohen posed the suggestion of people inside prison having a more active role in shaping research design, since there are insights that only people living and working within prison can have. Cohen encouraged more of these collaborations within the research design process. Cohen also noted that the prison is still often invisible to both “authorities and the ordinary”. His hope is that carceral geographers would consider the constituencies for their outputs; making policy-makers and prison administrators the targets for such research in the hope that they can be educated in how things might be different. Nick Gill echoed the preceding panellists and began his comments with an illustration of the detention centre The Verne, opened in the UK in 2014. Previously a prison, it had its security level increased and is now used to house detainees in a very peripheral location in the UK and raises some important issues. Gill considered that the importance of space, location and mobility is not necessarily known by the authorities. Judges pass sentences in terms of time, not space, and this does not take into account how hard a sentence may be in certain areas. He encouraged us to consider the symbolic aspects of location of prison. He also called for a disruption of a myth of consistency – prisons may indeed be different due to the local community, the local market conditions, the local culture, and the social injustices that may be generated by this. Gill’s second area of interest was a consideration of punishment and justice more generally. Academics (and those beyond it) ought to have a serious conversation about the role of punishment – should people be punished for the things they have done? Finally, Gill considered the role of academic research and the importance of making a difference to the current situation. He exemplified the actions of the Detention Forum in being able to prompt the first parliamentary enquiry into immigrant detention, and this should be an aim we should aspire to. However, he noted barriers to this, such as scholars being able to carve out the time to write activist responses when they are not valued by academia (REF outputs, etc). Furthermore, there may be a critical response to activism and a question of whether and when it is right to engage in this way. Dominique Moran shared some similar concerns, reminding the audience that imprisonment is not essential – we have not imprisoned in the past as we do now. We should be encouraged to pay attention to sentencing and courts to consider why society chooses to put people in jail. These considerations should extend critically to differences between UK and US policy for example. Moran also asked that we consider the purpose of our research in the carceral setting. In her experience, the prison authorities were much more open to discussions of change, but any of this impact is hard to measure (academically) and often difficult to harness at the political level, but it is there.

It is apparent, through the quality of papers being delivered, the attendance to sessions, and the lively and energetic response to presenters and panellists that research activity in carceral geography is maintaining buoyancy within geography. As such, panellists agreed that maintaining an informal network would be beneficial to those working in this area. As such, five years after it started, this blog is going collective! This means that it will be open for anyone interested in sharing thoughts and ideas, reflections, notifications, calls for papers, etc., here, to do so. If you’re interested in participating please get in touch. Furthermore, a mail list for carceral geography has now been set up via jiscmail. You can subscribe here. For those who are familiar with CRIT-GEOG-FORUM, this mail list will work pretty much like that one. It will be archived on the jiscmail website.  So, please do subscribe to this and use it to alert other subscribers to new research, CFP, conferences, events, to start discussions, etc. It’s perhaps most useful for quick things for which you don’t want to spend the time writing a blog piece!

Finally, I’d like to extend my thanks to all presenters, discussants, panellists and audience members who all contributed to a very enjoyable and thought-provoking conference programme. I look forward to hearing more from you all in the future!

Carceral Geography at the AAG Chicago 2015 – Final Line-Ups!

Those attending the AAG in Chicago are very welcome at any or all of the seven sessions on carceral geography that will span the first and second days of the conference.

Final details are:

1141 Carceral Geographies I: Theorisations of Confinement

Tuesday 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in New Orleans, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

8:00 AM   *Christophe Mincke – Prison: Legitimacy Through Mobility?

8:20 AM   *Elizabeth A. Brown – Care, carceral geographies, and the reconfiguration of mass incarceration

8:40 AM   *Kimberley Peters, Jennifer Turner – ‘Unlock the volume’: bringing height and depth to carceral mobilities

9:00 AM   *Stephanie Figgins – Between the Sheets of the U.S. Deportation Regime

9:20 AM   Discussant: Nick Gill

1241 Carceral Geographies II: Prison Architecture and Design

Tuesday 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in New Orleans, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

10:00 AM   *Gideon Boie, Fie Vandamme – Prison Up Close: subject positions in the penitentiary spatial structure

10:20 AM   *Dominique Moran, Jennifer Turner, Yvonne Jewkes – Becoming big things: Building events and the architectural geographies of incarceration in England and Wales

10:40 AM   *Jennifer Turner, Dominique Moran, Yvonne Jewkes – Components of the carceral: The lived experience of prison design

11:00 AM   *Fie Vandamme, Gideon Boie – Fit IN Stand OUT: Rules and Elements for Humane Prison Architecture

11:20 AM   Discussant: Lauren Martin

1441 Carceral Geographies III: Activity, Agency and Organisation.

Tuesday 12:40 PM – 2:20 PM in New Orleans, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

12:40 PM   session continues

1:00 PM   *Orisanmi Burton – The Politics of Containment: Prison-Based Activism in the Empire State

1:20 PM   *Lloyd Alexander Gray – How do prisoners experience and perceive the education environment within a prison? An interpretative phenomenological analysis approach

1:40 PM   *Geraldine Brown, Elizabeth Bos, Geraldine Brady, Moya Kneafsey, Martin Glynn – A holistic evaluation of delivering a community based food growing mentoring programme in a prison setting with substance misuse offenders.

2:00 PM   Discussant: Shaul Cohen

1541 Carceral Geographies IV: Gendered and Embodied Confinement.

Tuesday 2:40 PM – 4:20 PM in New Orleans, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

2:40 PM   *Victoria Knight – Modus Vivendi: The cell, emotions, social relations and television

3:00 PM   *Jessica Bird – Segregation in Scottish Prisons: A Socio-Spatial History

3:20 PM   *William John Payne – Governmentality, performativity and sexuality – A scholarly consideration of a drag show in a prison

3:40 PM   *Rae Rosenberg, M.A – Transgender Embodiment in Carceral Space: Hypermasculinity and the US Prison Industrial Complex

4:00 PM   Discussant: Karen M. Morin

1641 Carceral Geographies V: (Re)defining Boundaries.

Tuesday 4:40 PM – 6:20 PM in New Orleans, Hyatt, West Tower, Gold Level

4:40 PM   Geraldine Brown,*Elizabeth Bos – We were there too: Reflexive experiences of evaluating a prison gardening intervention

5:00 PM   *Dana Cuomo – Incarceration and domestic violence: Perspectives from victims on the outside

5:20 PM   *Tony Sparks – The Asylum is on These Streets: Managing Mental Illness in the Carceral Community

5:40 PM   *Avril Maddrell – The charity shop, permeable carcarel spaces, gendered power relations, reparation and rehabilitation

6:00 PM   Discussant: Jennifer Turner

2177 Carceral Geographies VI: (Re)defining Boundaries 2

Wednesday 8:00 AM – 9:40 AM in Alpine 2, Swissôtel, Lucerne Level

8:00 AM   *Nathan Wolf Kahn – Public Memory, Landscape, and Historic Carcerality at the Groveland Correctional Facility

8:20 AM   *Oriane Simon – Extraordinary Rendition’s Transfers in Ambiguous Spaces

8:40 AM   *Vanessa Anne Massaro – Prison’s revolving door and the porous boundaries of carceral spaces

9:00 AM   *Stephen Averill Sherman – Why Drug-Free School Zones are Bad for Communities: Evaluating sentence enhancement zone outcomes across urban forms

9:20 AM   Discussant: Dominique Moran

2277 Carceral Geographies VII: Future Directions in Carceral Geographies

Wednesday 10:00 AM – 11:40 AM in Alpine 2, Swissôtel, Lucerne Level

Panelist(s): Shaul Cohen, Nick Gill, Dominique Moran, Deirdre Conlon, Jennifer Turner