51st AFEA Congress
May 21-24, 2019
University of Nantes
“Discipline and its Discontents”
Abstracts (written in English or French) should be sent to the workshop organizers by January 28, 2019
"Foucault, discipline and the U.S. penal and carceral history"
We will welcome contributions in history, American studies, sociology, geography or anthropology which offer a critical dialogue between research on the U.S. justice and carceral system, and Michel Foucault’s work.
The following questions are of special interest to us:
-Does Foucault’s thesis of the rise of discipline still make sense today to explain the birth of the prison in the antebellum United States?
-How can we update Foucault’s ideas in the wake of some of the evolutions impacting the U.S. judicial and carceral system since the 1970s such as mass incarceration or the continuing use of the death penalty?
-Can we compare the project of transforming individuals defended by 19th century prison advocates to today’s practice of mass incarceration? Does the goal remain to transform inmates’ behavior in order to curb recidivism or is it to definitely marginalize some categories while making comfortable profits?
-Discipline and punish questioned the necessity and the inexorability of incarceration as a punishment and a corrective tool. How does American society fare when it comes to elaborate alternative means of incarceration and more generally which criticism(s) of prison can we find in the U.S. ?
-Finally, we would also be interested in proposals analyzing prison as a place of political awareness and resistance to power (from George Jackson’s letters at the end of the 1960s8 to the strikes launched in many American prisons in August 2018) or as an object to question the dominant social and racial order.