Columbia University - Heyman Center for the Humanities

How Initial Peasant Support for Shining Path Shifted to Violent Resistance in Peru

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Mormons, Magic and Tarot

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Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: A Conversation between Deborah Cohen and Adam Tooze

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The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and Birth of Global Economic Gov

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The Long March of Incarceration: from Ancient Prisons to Incarcerated Slavery

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Brotherhood of Barristers: Gender, Space and the Culture of the Bar, 1840-1940

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Beyond Nationality: Belonging and Empire in Ottoman North Africa

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Belonging to the Conquerors: The Mosquito Confederation and the Competing Conquests of Eighteenth-Century Central America

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Wartime Order and Its Legacies

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Building Publics 2022: Art-Based Experiences and Caregiving Relationships

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Building Publics 2022: Language Pedagogy and Social Justice

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Underwriting and Cyclones in the Indian Ocean

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Building Publics 2022: 34th Ave Story Circle: Reflecting on the Past and Future of Urban Streets

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Translating The End of the World: A Conversation with Dorothy Zinn and Jasmine Pisapia about translating Ernesto de Martino’s La fine del mondo

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Spectral Belonging: Artisanal Reproduction of Landscape Imagery in Nineteenth-Century Chinese Tombs

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Unworlding: AFTRthoughts: A Feminist Theory of Refusal and the Politics of Re-Worlding

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nayture is sumwere else: trans poetics, middle and old English variations

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Building Publics 2022: Unguarded: Art and Restorative Justice

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Revolution 10/13: Brandon Terry on Malcolm X

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Thinking Elsewhere: A Conversation with Shahzia Sikandar

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Building Publics 2022: Speaking of Spirituality

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Contesting Citizenship across the Mediterranean: A Global Legal History of Belonging in the Nineteenth Century

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Building Publics 2022: Mobilities and the City: History and Current Challenges in Mexico City

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Kitchen Table Praxis: Recipes for Belonging in Electronic Music

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Slavery, Antislavery, and the British Empire

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Beyond Airmindedness: Aviation in Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

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Emma Francis-Snyder in conversation with Adriana Garriga-López, Carlito Rivera, and Ivan Calaff

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Working towards Equity and Inclusion in Journal Publication

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The Deep History of Incarceration

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Book Talks in Medical Humanities: Sarah Richardson's The Maternal Imprint: The Contested Science of Maternal/Fetal Effects

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Bobbies in Babylon: Black Resistance to British Policing

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Shelter Without Shelter

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Policing the City: An Ethno-Graphic. Didier Fassin and Jake Raynal

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Symposium: Gendering Africa: Musical Perspectives

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Negative Belonging

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Revolution 8/13: Becoming Numerous: Legacies of Queer and Trans Rebellion

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The Deep History Of Incarceration • Morningside Area Alliance
Screen shot 2022 01 06 at 19. 25. 511

The Deep History of Incarceration

Matthew Larsen and Mark Letteney

Natalie Boymel Kampen Memorial Lecture in Feminist Criticism and History

We live in the age of mass incarceration. The US accounts for only 4% of the global population, yet it holds a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Black people and people of color are dramatically targeted among the US carceral population.

A new wave of critical prison studies has emerged in response to this problem, aimed at investigating the past and present of incarceration, and attempting to imagine a more just future in prison reform or abolition. Michel Foucault’s work casts a long shadow over the field, especially in his claim that penal and reformatory incarceration is an early modern invention; that the prison was “born” only recently. Such a claim, however, is wrong and misleading.

This lecture will explore the deep history of incarceration, focusing on sites and experiences of incarceration in the ancient Mediterranean world. We will see spaces of incarceration through 3D models, and we will read the words of people imprisoned thousands of years ago as preserved in their papyrus letters requesting food, clothing, and release from captivity. The lecture will highlight the troubling resonances between ancient and modern carceral practices, along with clear points of departure that help to denaturalize some modern prison policies that appear to many as obvious or necessary. An incomplete vision of the prison’s past hinders our ability to envision a more just future.

Didier Fassin’s recent, influential Prison Worlds begins with the assertion “Prison is a recent invention.” If this common notion is false, then a new framework is needed in efforts to mobilize history in our attempt to move beyond our era of mass incarceration. This lecture will sketch the outlines of the prison in the ancient Mediterranean world, suggesting a number of ways in which modern practices of incarceration are — and are not — unique.

  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.

About the speakers

Mark Letteney is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California. His work covers the history of incarceration, the history of epistemology, and the archaeology of military occupation.

Matthew D. C. Larsen is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Copenhagen. His current research centers on the history of incarceration.

Image credit: Photograph Friedrich Rakob. Negative D-DAI-ROM-NA-RAK-37320”

Image detail: In the foreground of the photo is an excavated Roman military prison, while a 19th century French colonial prison stands in the background. Inmates at the French prison were the laborers who excavated the Roman site, an oddity whose story and implications Larsen and Letteney will address in their lecture.

Date

Mar 29 2022
Expired!

Time

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)

Virtual

Venue

Online
online
Category

Organizer

Columbia University - Heyman Center for the Humanities
Phone
(212) 854-8443
Website
www.heymancenter.org