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States of Incarceration is created by over 500 people in 17 states, and growing. We explore the roots of mass incarceration in our own communities -- to open national dialogue on what should happen next.
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state:
Rhode Island
Local history:
Locked Up—Understanding Prison in Pre-Modern Context
How do prisons reflect societal values?
Brown University
National Traveling Venue:
University of Rhode Island Gallery, Providence Campus
80 Washington Street, 1st and 2nd floor Lobby Gallery, Providence RI 02903-1819
August 29, 2016September 23, 2016

Upcoming Events

Thursday, September 15, 2016, 5 PM
States of Incarceration Rhode Island Opening
Sheppard Building Gallery, URI
80 Washington St., Providence, RI 02903

Rhode Island: Locked Up—Understanding Prison in Pre-Modern Context
How do prisons reflect societal values?
Brown University

Pre-modern prisons were markedly different from the system of hyper-incarceration in the United States today. The patterns of pre-modern captivity varied radically across eras and continents, but they consistently reflected the religious, economic, and political tenets of their respective societies. The manifestations of these cultural values within prisons had a profound effect on individuals, who in turn shaped their societies’ understandings of captivity. By analyzing the physical and social structures of pre-modern prisons and the experiences of those in captivity, we gain enough historical context to realize that current system of mass incarceration in the United States is not an inevitable outcome.

Our Point of View

We are undergraduates from diverse academic backgrounds, aware of contemporary national issues of mass incarceration and their ties to history. In the Fall of 2015, we learned alongside students at the Adult Correctional Institute of Rhode Island, reading historical and fictional prison narratives, examining complementary images, and exploring the global history of captivity in order to better understand prison as a social and political tool from the pre-modern era to the contemporary moment.

Rhode Island: Locked Up—Understanding Prison in Pre-Modern Context    Brown University
How do prisons reflect societal values?
Rhode Island: Locked Up—Understanding Prison in Pre-Modern Context
How do prisons reflect societal values?
  Brown University
Contribute a Story
I Be So Glad...When the Sun Goes Down
James McGill and Slavery in Quebec
THE DICHOTOMOUS BODY AND SOUL? : Captivity and Spirituality in Medieval Christianity and the Mexican Empire
Internment as Incarceration
Eastern State Penitentiary: Normalization of Solitary Confinement
Opinion Poll: Vote Now!
Do prisons make you feel safe?
Shape the debate
Prison Architect: (Orange is) the New Sims?
ARCHITECTURES OF CONTROL: Spatial Structures of Captivity in Medieval Florence and the American Plantation
Personhood In Captivity
Listen to Podcast
Contribute a Story
I Be So Glad...When the Sun Goes Down
Prison Architect: (Orange is) the New Sims?
Internment as Incarceration
Eastern State Penitentiary: Normalization of Solitary Confinement
Opinion Poll: Vote Now!
Do prisons make you feel safe?
Shape the debate
THE DICHOTOMOUS BODY AND SOUL? : Captivity and Spirituality in Medieval Christianity and the Mexican Empire
Personhood In Captivity
James McGill and Slavery in Quebec
ARCHITECTURES OF CONTROL: Spatial Structures of Captivity in Medieval Florence and the American Plantation
Listen to Podcast

National Exhibition Venue    University of Rhode Island Gallery, Providence Campus

Public Dialogues and Events

See Full Exhibition & Events Schedule

Monday, August 29, 2016
States of Incarceration Rhode Island Exhibition Opens
Description: 

The Rhode Island exhibition of States of Incarceration opens August 29th. The gallery opening event will occur during Providence Gallery Night, September 15th, at the Sheppard Building Gallery at University of Rhode Island.

Venue: 

University of Rhode Island Gallery
Providence Campus
80 Washington St.
Providence, RI 02903

Medusah Black performing at Jorge Elorza fundraiser and concert at the Columbus Theatre. Courtesy of: Cat Laine, http://paintedfoot.com/

Thursday, September 8, 2016
FUTURE WORLDS: Call to Action!
Description: 

A conversation about activism, youth incarceration and arts as a catalyst for social change co-sponsored by AS220 and John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, with speakers:

  • Je-Shawna Wholley // Program Coordinator, LGBTQ Center, Brown University;
  • Anjel Newman // AS220 Youth Director, rapper Medusah Black;
  • Marco McWilliams // Activist & grassroots organizer // D.A.R.E. (Direct Action for Rights and Equality); and
  • Khalil Saucier // Director of Africana Studies, Bucknell University, formerly at RI College.

AS220 is an artist-run organization committed to providing an unjuried and uncensored forum for the arts. AS220 offers artists opportunities to live, work, exhibit and/or perform in its facilities, which include several rotating gallery spaces, a performance stage, a black-box theater, a print shop, a darkroom and media arts lab, a fabrication and electronics lab, a dance studio, a youth program focusing on youth under state care and in the juvenile detention facilities, four dozen affordable live/work studios for artists, and a bar and restaurant. AS220’s facilities and services are available to any artist who needs a place to exhibit, perform, or create original work and its classes and public-access studios are among the most affordable in the nation. AS220 was founded on the principle that freedom of expression is crucial for the development of strong communities and individual spirits. AS220’s vision for a local unjuried and uncensored forum for the arts was launched in a one-room rental above the Providence Performing Arts Center in 1985 with a budget of just $800. Today, the non-profit owns – and enlivens – three mixed-use buildings, totaling over 100,000 square feet, in the heart of Providence’s downtown and represents a $25 million investment in downtown Providence.

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage’s innovative MA program, engaged research, and innovative conferences help students, practitioners and communities make the humanities meaningful and accessible. The Center was founded as the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization in 1979, and part of Brown University since 1995. The Brown Center for Public Humanities defines public humanities through our teaching, projects, and publications.

Time: 
5:30 to 8:30 PM
Venue: 

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
Brown University
357 Benefit St.
Providence, RI 02903

Stateville Prison

Stateville Prison Credit: David Leventi

Thursday, September 15, 2016
States of Incarceration Rhode Island Opening
Description: 

The Rhode Island opening of States of Incarceration will occur during Providence Gallery Night at the Sheppard Building Gallery at University of Rhode Island.

Time: 
5 PM to 9 PM
Venue: 

University of Rhode Island Gallery
Providence Campus
80 Washington St.
Providence, RI 02903

Courtesy of: John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage

Friday, September 16, 2016
The Prison Education Movement: Does Brown Have a Role?
Description: 

Conference on college education programs in prison and dialogue about whether/how Brown might establish a program, hosted by the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University.

The John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage’s innovative MA program, engaged research, and innovative conferences help students, practitioners and communities make the humanities meaningful and accessible. The Center was founded as the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Study of American Civilization in 1979, and part of Brown University since 1995. The Brown Center for Public Humanities defines public humanities through our teaching, projects, and publications.

Time: 
8:30 AM to 1 PM
Venue: 

John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage
Brown University
357 Benefit St.
Providence, RI 02903

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National Dialogues

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Are Criminals Citizens? Are Non-citizens Criminals?
What Is a Crime? Who Is a Criminal?
Where Is the 'Carceral State'?
Who Works for Prisons? Who Do Prisons Work for?
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