University of Rochester undergraduates who want to learn more about mass incarceration may be interested in these upcoming courses. (List updated every semester.)
Incarceration Nation (AAAS 183-1 / PSCI 224-1 / RELC 183-1)
Instructors: Joshua Dubler and Precious Bedell
M/W 1230–1345 | Online Room 24 (ASE)
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.
Cultural Politics of Prison Towns (cross-listings TBD)
Instructors: Kristin Doughty and Joshua Dubler
Date/Time TBD | Location TBD
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 an ethnography lab. It launches the third year of 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 our region’s 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 the presence of a prison do and mean for a person living near one? In what ways do our local communities depend on prisons for their economic survival? How does prison intersect with other area industries? How does the presence of prisons shape locals’ notions of justice and citizenship, of how the world is and how the world must be? How do these nearby but largely invisible institutions shape the ways that we live in Rochester?