Documenting Criminalization and Confinement

Documenting Criminalization and Confinement 

September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2021

As the first major humanistic study of the impact of criminalization, policing, incarceration, and criminal justice control in the United States, this initiative will mobilize faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, archivists, impacted persons, and community partners in a series of collaborative and multidisciplinary research projects that span the domains of art and performance, history, visual culture, anthropology, literature, public health, digital humanities, and public engagement. The initiative comprises six interrelated research projects united by their humanistic research methodologies and commitments to confronting the carceral state. They are: Documenting Prison Education and Arts, Policing and Social Justice HistoryLab, Critical Carceral Visualities, Confronting Conditions of Confinement, Captive Afterlives, and Immigration and the Carceral State. Together, these research projects will demonstrate the human and social costs of criminalization and confinement by centering humanistic research questions about topics that have been dominated by the fields of law, public policy, and the quantitative social sciences.

The project—which in an earlier phase of development received a 5×5 Incubator Grant as the “Carceral State Project”—includes co-PIs Heather Ann Thompson (Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies/History/Residential College) and Matt Lassiter (Professor of History); Melissa Burch (Assistant Professor of Anthropology), Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof (Professor of History, Professor of American Culture and Associate Chair, Department of American Culture), William Lopez (Faculty Director of Public Scholarship at the National Center for Institutional Diversity and Assistant Clinical Professor at the School of Public Health), Ashley Lucas (Associate Professor of Theater and Drama/Residential College), Ruby Tapia (Associate Professor of English Language and Literature/Women’s Studies), and Nora Krinitsky (Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art).