ANTH 320 Anthropology of Incarceration

In this course, we consider what the concept of incarceration means. For example, what are the rights, responsibilities, and relationships of individuals and groups vis-à-vis the state? Who, and in which socio-historical contexts, is included or excluded from these rights and obligations? What mechanisms does the state employ to punish, and how does it coincide with the idea of the nation, labor needs, or other ideological aspects of the state? How might incarceration, as a concept, have meanings outside of a formal state context – what does the word mean when we consider inclusion, exclusion, belonging, and community? How do we decide who belongs? We explore the ways that incarceration has been imagined and constructed across time and space, in the contexts of borderlands, colonial encounters, and globalization/neoliberalism. We also explore and the interplay between incarceration and various dimensions of identity. We will foreground race/ethnicity and gender, but we will also necessarily consider class, sexuality, ability, nationality, etc. We will use a variety of texts: poetry, essays, speeches, autobiographical accounts, historical texts, and interdisciplinary scholarly works. Throughout the course, we will interrogate the role that incarceration plays within a contemporary context to institutionalize structures of oppression. The course provides a survey of anthropological texts that focus on the Prison-Industrial Complex, which emphasizes the ways in which capitalism shapes our modern mechanism of State punishment: incarceration.



Cross Listed Courses

PECO 310


ANTH 105 or instructor's permission

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