AAS 200 / ANT 233 / REL 230: “Cultural Politics of Prison Towns”
Joshua Dubler and Kristin Doughty
Rochester sits in one of the world’s most explicitly carceral landscapes, with more than a dozen state prisons within a 90 min drive. This co-taught course is a collaborative ethnographic research project designed to examine how the presence of prisons in towns around Rochester reflects and shapes the political, economic, and cultural lives of those who live in the region. Students will be introduced to methods and practices of ethnography and conduct firsthand research on the cultural politics of prison towns. Through assigned reading, students will learn about the history, sociology, and cultural logics of Rochester and the wider region, and of mass incarceration. What does a prison mean for a person living near one? How does the presence of prisons shape people’s notions of justice, citizenship, and punishment? How do these nearby but largely invisible institutions shape the ways that we live in Rochester? Recommended prior courses: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology or Incarceration Nation.
AAS 183 / PSC 224 / REL 183: “Incarceration Nation”
Joshua Dubler and Precious Bedell
How does a country with five percent of the world's population, a country that nominally values freedom above all else, come to have nearly a quarter of the world's incarcerated people? In this survey course we investigate the history of imprisonment in the United States—as theorized and as practiced—from the founding of the republic to the present day. Special attention is paid to the politics, economics, race politics, and religious logics of contemporary mass incarceration, and to the efforts afoot to end mass incarceration.