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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2021-22

AAAS 90.09 Carceral Geographies: Explaining Mass Incarceration in the US

Why are there so many people incarcerated in the United States and why are so many people in the US and beyond calling for an end to police violence, some even for the abolition of policing? Is mass incarceration an inevitable product of slavery and Jim Crow? Why did prisons expand in the United States as crime rates were going down? Was it the War on Drugs, or the long term effects of housing discrimination?

This course is designed to explore and explain these questions by unpacking the roles of surveillance, criminalization, policing and incarceration to historical and contemporary US state formation and global capitalism. Proceeding from the idea that carceral geographies such as prison towns, policing, and surveillance are spatial fixes for social, economic, and political crises, we will engage scholarship from a variety of fields including: critical prison studies, geography, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, and critical ethnic studies. Students will have an opportunity to understand the historical and contemporary organization of people, places, ideas, and infrastructure that makes up US carceral geographies of the United States. This course requires dedicated and rigorous reading. Each week we will read an entire book and analyze it in depth to create shared language and understandings about carceral geographies. \f


Cross Listed Courses

WGSS 37.04

Distributive and/or World Culture


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.