Extended deadline: CFP for Carceral Geography at the Chicago AAG 2015

***note deadline extended to 10th October***

Papers are invited, on diverse aspects of carceral geography, for the Association of American Geographers annual conference, to be held in Chicago in April 2015

Session organisers: Jennifer Turner (University of Leicester), Marie Hutton (University of Birmingham), and Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham)

Although prisons and criminal justice systems are integral parts of governance and techniques of governmentality, the geographical study of the prison and other confined or closed spaces is still relatively novel. The vibrant subdiscipline of carceral geography has already made substantial progress, has established useful and fruitful dialogues with cognate disciplines of criminology and prison sociology, and is attuned to issues of contemporary import such as hyperincarceration and the advance of the punitive state. It has also used the carceral context as a lens through which to view concepts with wider currency within contemporary and critical human geography. Thus far, it has made key contributions to debates within human geography over mobility, liminality, and embodiment, and it has increasingly found a wider audience, with geographical approaches to carceral space being taken up by and developed further within criminology and prison sociology. Carceral geography brings to the study of prisons and imprisonment an understanding of relational space, as encountered, performed and fluid. Rather than seeing prisons as spatially fixed and bounded containers for people and imprisonment practices, rolled out across Cartesian space through prison systems straightforwardly mappable in scale and distance, carceral geography has tended towards an interpretation of prisons as fluid, geographically-anchored sites of connections and relations, both connected to each other and articulated with wider social processes through and via mobile and embodied practices. Hence its focus on the experience, performance and mutability of prison space, the porous prison boundary, mobility within and between institutions, and the ways in which meanings and significations are manifest within fluid and ever-becoming carceral landscapes.

This session both invites contributions which reflect the development of carceral geography to date, and also those which suggest future developments – these could explore:
• the emergent discourse of criminological cartography;
• transdisciplinary synergies between carceral geography, law, psychology, and architectural studies;
• prison design and the lived experience of carceral spaces;
• affect and emotion;
• carceral TimeSpace;
• the embodied experience of incarceration;
• feminist and corporeal carceral geographies;
• theorisation of coerced, governmental or disciplined mobility;
• confluence with critical border studies;
• dialogue with architectural and cultural geographies;
• engagement with abolitionist praxis;
• notions of the purposes of imprisonment and the geographical and/or historical contexts in which these are socially constructed.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by email to Jennifer Turner (jt264@le.ac.uk) and Marie Hutton (m.a.hutton@bham.ac.uk) by 10th October 2014.

Successful submissions will be contacted by 17th October 2014 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 31st 2014 ahead of a session proposal deadline of 5th November 2014. Please note a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the submission of abstracts to the AAG online system.

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!


Prison Virtual Theme Issue

A virtual theme issue on prisons at the Society and Space open site (papers from Environment and Planning D open access until November).

Prison Virtual Theme Issue.

From Society and Space: “In complement to the US Carceral Society Forum, this virtual theme issue gathers a commentary, five articles, and two reviews essays from Society and Space on prisons. The articles speak to the manifold ways in which lives are lived in spaces of extreme control and surveillance. The relationships sculpted in and through prison spaces, and relations enduring the forced separation of incarceration, are central in all of them.

Carceral Geography at the AAG 2014: Call for Papers on Historical Geographies of Prisons and Jails

Call for Papers, 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Tampa, FL, April 8-12, 2014logo_aag


Karen M. Morin, Bucknell University
Dominique Moran, Birmingham University

What have historical geographers contributed to discussions of incarceration – what prison spaces, knowledges, and practices have caught our attention, and why? Following on last year’s AAG Historical Geography plenary, “Carceral Space and the Usable Past,” this session aims to bring together the work of historical geographers, as well as those who use historical-geographical logics and perspectives, to examine conceptions of crime, regimes of punishment, and their corresponding spaces of “corrections” and confinement. Broadly, the session aims to incorporate a historical-spatial focus into the study of correctional institutions (prisons and jails) and their larger social contexts. Relevant treatments of prison/jail space would include: 1) historical study of the nature of spaces of incarceration, individuals’ experiences in them, and their regulatory regimes and systems of punishment; 2) historical study of the spatial or distributional/ locational geographies of carceral systems, particularly with respect to their impact on community economic development and local geographies; and 3) study of the historical relationship between the carceral and an increasingly punitive state. Historical geographers can inform, and be informed by, these three areas of carceral geography that we like to term, after Tosh, “critical applied historical geography” that can be put in action for progressive social transformation.

Suggested topics within this theme of Historical Geographies of Prisons and Jails include (but are not limited to) the following, and may cover a wide geographical arena:
•    the spatial fixity and spatial legacy of prison sites at various scales
•    prison towns and their social-spatial logics and priorities of development
•    individual correctional structures, their design, architectures, and lived experience
•    dark tourist sites: the jail or penitentiary as museum space and/or memorial
•    local, small scale heritage sites of corrections, for instance in settlement communities
•    relationships between correctional institutions and the development of urban space, particularly alongside racial and other social topographies
•    decommissioned and re-commissioned corrections sites
•    prisons as living memory
•    prisons, jails, and local cultural geographies
•    punishment regime shifts and their counterparts in use of interior prison spaces (that is, spatial tactics of punishment historically)
•    new prison design within a developmental context
•    media treatments of historical sites of corrections and punishment (film, television, art)

Submissions: Please submit 250-word abstracts to both Karen M. Morin (morin@bucknell.edu) and Dominique Moran (d.moran@bham.ac.uk) by Monday 21st October 2013.

“Sites of Confinement” event at Liverpool John Moores University – March 2013

Many thanks to Monish Bhatia for bringing this upcoming event to my attention – sounds like a great opportunity to discuss some very current ideas.

Sites of Confinement is taking place on 22nd March 2013, at Liverpool John Moores University, 68 Hope Street, Liverpool, UK.

This day conference offers an opportunity to critically discuss increases in the uses of confinement and incarceration in relation to neoliberalism, globally as well as in the UK.

With activists, researchers and academics working in prisons, detention centres and camps, it will consider the roles of social structures, power, and lived experience in relation to confinement. Importantly, this conference will consider increases in incarceration as a method of social control in areas of extreme deprivation, as well as with marginalised groups.

The full details, including speakers and paper titles, and joining instructions, are available here

Call for Seminar Papers: Carceral Coordinates

Carceral geographers may be interested in the following call for papers for a seminar organised as part of The American Comparative Literature Association’s 2012 conference, which is taking place at the University of Toronto, Canada, April 4-7th 2013. The call is posted below:
Organisers: Brett Story (University of Toronto) and Jill Stoner (University of California, Berkeley)
“An entire universe added to my Time.” – Jacobo Timerman, Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number
It is in the nature of imprisonment to alter the space of Time, to skew location in all its dimensions.  Prisons and their analogous cultural counterparts, so often designed according to strict Cartesian geometries and precise temporal segmentation, nevertheless establish their own geographies, and their own histories, outside these systems.We invite participants to reflect on sites and scenes imposed and invented through various states of imprisonment: solitary confinement and its attendant tactics of subversive communication; death row and its Kafkan politics of infinite postponement; urban contexts that effectively establish their carceral qualities with assortments of cameras, gates, laws and keys. 
We hope to assemble within the seminar a wide representation of genres – including conventional and new forms of literature by and about prisoners – and to chart these various discoveries onto a new, shared map that will allow us to better navigate the current landscape of incarceration in its various iterations.  Thus will emerge a new positioning system – perhaps global, perhaps not – without the conventions of latitude or longitude, its distances not measured in feet or miles.  We refer here to literature in its broadest sense: fiction, texts, documents, film, etc.
Paper proposals should go through the conference website, and acceptance is competitive. International submissions are welcome; international participants should just make sure to obtain any necessary visas well ahead of time.