KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: JOY JAMES AND SUSAN ROSENBERG
MAY 3-5, 2013
The Vanderbilt Committee for Rethinking Prisons invites submissions of workshop presentations that interrogate and share knowledge on issues raised by the American prison system. Participants will have 10-15 minutes to present a current work-in-progress, which will be followed by an extended discussion. We are organizing the conference to promote dialogue and community among activists and scholars who share common concerns and bring different knowledge, methods, strategies and experience to the table. To this end, we invite participants to share the stakes of and motivations behind their research, and we encourage participants to speak extemporaneously of their work.
The format will be discussion-based workshops. Panels of three will present their work for the first 40 minutes of the session. Their presentations will be followed by 35 minutes of discussion. Our conversations will address (but will not be limited to):
(1) Intersections between the work of prison activists and research in political, literary, legal and social theory.
(2) Challenges faced by an activists seeking transformational alternatives to the U.S. prison system
(3) The promise and shortcomings of present death penalty and solitary confinement legislation
(4) The intersections of the U.S. prison system with race, gender, class, and sexuality.
(5) The intersections of the U.S. prison system with politics.
In addition to the workshops, we will have two keynote speakers, Joy James and Susan Rosenberg. Joy James is the editor of several important anthologies of work on prisons and by prisoners, including The New Abolitionists: (Neo) Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings (2005), Imprisoned Intellectuals (2003), and States of Confinement: Policing, Detention and Prisons (2002). Susan Rosenberg is a writer, educator, and former political prisoner. Her memoir, An American Radical: A Political Prisoner In My Own Country (2011), is a moving account of her experience of incarceration and of her HIV/AIDS activism, both in prisons and beyond. As a result of her lawsuit with Silvia Baraldini and Sylvia Brown, Lexington’s High Security Unit, an experimental prison for women, was permanently closed.
Other confirmed plenary speakers include Mark L. Taylor, author of The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World (2011) and The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America (2001), and Colin Dayan, author of The Law is a White Dog: How Legal Rituals Make and Unmake Persons (2011) and The Story of Cruel and Unusual (2007).
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION OF AN INDIVIDUAL WORKSHOP PRESENTATION
Affiliation – or independent scholar, activist, educator, etc.
Title of workshop proposal
Abstract of 250-300 words
GUIDELINES FOR SUBMISSION OF GROUP SESSION
Name of panel contact person, and of each panel member
Address of all panel members, including email
Affiliation – or independent scholar, activist, educator, etc. for each person
Title of panel proposal
Abstract of 250-300 words for the panel as a whole
Titles of individual papers
Abstract of 250-300 words for each paper
Note: Due to the length of sessions, we will only consider panels of no more than three persons. We will give preference to panels that include both scholarly and activist perspectives.
CHAIRING A SESSION
If you would be willing to serve as a session chair, please indicate this on your submission form. Session chairs are responsible for timing presentations, and ensuring that each presenter gets her or his fair share of the available time.
All submissions must be submitted electronically by December 1, 2012. Submissions should be in an email attachment (.doc, .docx, or .pdf) sent to email@example.com (send abstracts, not completed papers).
If you have any questions, please contact the program committee:
Lisa Guenther: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geoff Adelsberg: email@example.com
This work, “Christianity and Black Oppression: Duppy Know Who Fe Frighten” asks: How is it that blacks have been Christianized for more than four hundred years, and in some cases more than five hundred years, and yet blacks are stereotyped as morally and mentally inferior? At the very first encounter between Europeans and Africans, Africans were perceived as “pagan”, “heathen”, and “devil worshippers”.
The tool that would transform Africans, it was postulated, would be the Christian religion. In spite of over four centuries of Christianity, the perception of blacks as morally and mentally inferior has not changed. Blacks, it would appear, carry a stigma that is genetic and can be transmitted. “Christianity and Black Oppression: Duppy Know Who Fe Frighten” also addresses the issue as to why there has not been a radical change in the perception of blacks in spite of centuries of blacks’ investment of an inordinate amount of time, energy and money in the Christian religion.
Green argues that Blacks were forced to surrender their African world view and adopt a European Christian world view. Black history and culture are marginalized, and at times demonized, within Christianity, and this is transferred to other areas of the lives of blacks. Indeed in this work, a comparison is made between the Dalits of India who are ostracized within the Hindu religion and blacks who share the commonality of oppression that is based on a stigma that is supposedly genetic and therefore can be transmitted. In the light of the fact that Christianity is considered to be an egalitarian religion with a God who is benevolent and who intervenes in peoples’ lives, and the reality of black oppression, the question then arises as to whether blacks are subjected to “divine racism”.
Zay D. Green is currently a High School Mathematics teacher. She was also a Librarian for many years. After attending Wolmer’s High School for Girls in Kingston, Jamaica where she grew up, Ms Green pursued a Bachelor’s Degree and a Diploma in Education at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Ms. Green also holds the M.A. in Psychology from Long Island University, New York and the M.L.S. degree from Rutgers University, New Jersey.