Wednesday, November 8, 2023
Naiima Khahaifa, Guarini Fellow
Departments of Geography and
African and African-American Studies
Olin 102 5:15 pm EST/GMT-5
Mass incarceration, characterized by unprecedented prison population growth in the US and a disproportionately large representation of Black men, has garnered much scholarly attention; however, a parallel increase in the proportion of Black correctional officers (COs) has not yet received the same consideration. During the early 1970s, demands made by the Prisoners’ Rights Movement led to the recruitment of thousands of Black men and women into the US correctional workforce over the following decades. Thus, focusing on New York State, I argue that as correctional workforce integration redefined the state’s prison system and broader carceral geography, the racialized process of mass incarceration came to depend on the labor of Black COs. Based on a qualitative analysis of life/occupational history interviews with Black COs in Buffalo, NY, recruited between the late 1970s and early 1990s, I find that dynamics of race, class, and gender shape relationships between Black COs and incarcerated individuals as their day-to-day encounters cultivated cooperation and consent in an otherwise volatile prison environment. Deriving from notions of community policing and fictive kinship, I developed the concept of carceral kinship, which refers to the formation of familial-like bonds that appeared the strongest between Black women COs and Black incarcerated men. This concept matters because it reveals the intricate dynamics and micro-politics of prison spaces and how carceral geographies rely on intimate, empathetic, and emotional care work that is profoundly raced and gendered.
Sunday, October 1, 2023
Montgomery Place Estate 10:30 am – 12:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Long before there was online shopping, there were print catalogs; before the internet there were journals; before social media there were social circles; and before podcasts there were dinner parties. Meet some of the visitors and residents who made significant contributions to life at Montgomery Place while also shaping a wider worldview of their special field of interest. Highlighted personalities will include: A. J. Downing, landscape designer and founding journalist; A. J. Davis, architect and A-list invitee; Alexander Gilson, descendent of slaves, businessman, and groundbreaking gardener; Violetta White Delafield, scientist, pioneering mycologist, and outdoor wellness advocate. Walk will be postponed until October 8 only if heavy rain is forecast. Wear comfortable walking shoes and long pants. Difficulty: Moderate. Not suitable for children under age 7.
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Guest lecturers Kareem Abdulrahman and Bachtyar Ali
Hegeman 201 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Politics has at least two faces in the works of Iraqi Kurdish novelist Bachtyar Ali. While his characters are in a constant search to prove their humanity, politics often appears as a barrier in that search. In The Last Pomegranate Tree, for example, a meditation on fatherhood is intertwined with the discovery of increasing corruption in political leadership. Why does salvation seem to fall beyond politics? Given the recent history of Iraqi Kurdistan, what is the significance of politics in literature? Yet another face is the politics of literature: Kurdish language has lived on the margins of the more dominant languages in the Middle East for centuries. In this context, literary translation could be seen as an effort to put the Kurds, the largest minority group without their own nation state, on the cultural map of the world. Here the expression that the translator is a “traitor” may ring hollow when the translator appears first of all as an activist with loyalties. What then are the politics of translating Kurdish literature in the contemporary world? This event invites conversation and reflection with a novelist and his translator.
Sunday, September 17, 2023
Montgomery Place Estate 10:30 am – 12:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
From farmland to pleasure ground, from national historic site to college campus, much has changed at Montgomery Place over its most recent 220 year history. We’ll walk the trails, meander through the meadows, and stroll the gardens while observing modernization’s impact on the land and water, and learning about the diverse peoples whose history here really goes back thousands of years. Enjoy a ramble through the remnants of a once romantic morning walk. Take in spectacular views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains while exploring the wilderness trails in the ravine formed by the Sawkill Creek. Historical highlights include cascading waterfalls and the hydropower station, the allée of the arboretum through the east lawn, the coach house, and the rough and formal gardens. Walk will be postponed until September 24 only if heavy rain is forecast.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Olin LC 208; Olin Language Center 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
The students of AS 315 and Rethinking Place: Bard-on-Mahicantuck present a two-part letter writing night in solidarity with Indigenous political prisoners Maddesyn George and Leonard Peltier:
5/15 - Community letter writing night at Blackbird Infoshop, 587 Abeel Street, Kingston, NY.
5/17 - Olin Languages Center 208; Information and letter writing night with virtual talk by Hupa abolitionist scholar Stephanie Lumsden, Gender Studies, UCLA; Maddesyn George Defense Committee.
Stephanie Lumsden (Hupa) is a scholar and teacher. She received her B.A. in Women's Studies from Portland State University in 2011 and her M.A. in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis in 2014. She earned her second M.A. in Gender Studies from UCLA in 2018. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Gender Studies Department at UCLA . Stephanie is a 2021-2022 Ford Fellow and a recipient of the University of California President's Postdoctoral fellowship
Maddesyn George (Colville Confederated Tribes) is a survivor of domestic and sexual violence who has been incarcerated since July 2020 for defending herself against a white man who raped and threatened her. Facing a murder charge and decades in prison, Maddesyn accepted a plea deal from federal prosecutors after being incarcerated and separated from her infant daughter for more than a year. She was sentenced in the Eastern District of Washington Federal Court on November 17, 2021 to serve 6.5 years in prison.
This website is organized by Maddesyn George’s defense committee, a grassroots coalition of members of Maddesyn’s family; members of the Colville Confederated Tribes and Spokane nation; survivors of gender violence; and advocates, organizers, and scholars who work on issues of colonial, sexual, and domestic violence; policing and incarceration; and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples. Read the defense committee’s statement on Maddesyn’s sentencing
Leonard Peltier is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota nations who has been imprisoned for 48 years. . Leonard Peltier was wrongly convicted in the 1970s for his organizing with the American Indian Movement in defense of Pine Ridge traditionalists, and is now the longest-held indigenous political prisoner in the United States. “The United States of America has kept me locked up because I am American Indian,” said the ailing Indigenous rights activist who Biden could free, but hasn’t. For more info, see the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee.
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Ketaki Pant '06, Assistant Professor of History, University of Southern California
Hegeman 106 3:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Despite their centrality to Mauritius’s plantation economy, merchants from Gujarat (western India) remain in the shadows of histories of slavery and indentured labor migration on the island. This talk takes stock of these erased histories by retelling the story of one plantation, Bel Ombre, which was variously owned by French planters and Gujarati merchants in the nineteenth century. Moving between the space of Bel Ombre today, records in the Mauritius National Archives, and old ports in Gujarat, I analyze the archival processes through which Gujarati mercantile intimacies were recorded and obscured. I argue that the archival segregation of records about plantation property ownership and indentured labor was central to the erasure of Gujarati merchants from histories of racial capitalism on the island. I show that the colonial state enacted gendered violence on indentured women whose sexuality was policed and pathologized while Gujarati merchants were able to marry across racial lines through sanctioned property and marriage arrangements. These silences were amplified by Indian anticolonial nationalists who arrived on Mauritius in the twentieth century to take up the cause of Indian indentured workers but who, ironically, papered over racial capitalism in favor of a pan-Indian identity. In old ports in Gujarat, merchant families built and maintained houses (havelis) which were scrubbed clean of these messy intimacies across the ocean. Reaching across the ocean from Gujarat to Mauritius and back, this talk suggests that these are haunted houses and histories.
Ketaki Pant is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on South Asia and the Indian Ocean arena from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Her current projects examine interlinked histories of racial capitalism, gendered belonging, minoritization, and displacement centered on Gujarat. Recent publications include an article in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies and a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Asian Transnationalism.
Monday, April 24, 2023
Dr. Jill McCorkel, professor of sociology and criminology at Villanova University and the founder and executive director of the Philadelphia Justice Project for Women and Girls
Olin 102 5:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
Women are the fastest growing segment of virtually all sectors of the carceral system (jail, prison, parole, and probation). This is also the case at the back end of the system, among those serving extreme sentences of 50 years in prison or more. People serving these sentences refer to their experience as "death by incarceration" given that sentence length and statutory limitations and exclusions from parole eligibility guarantee that they will die in prison. The number of women serving these sentences has exponentially increased in recent decades. The vast majority are survivors of gender violence. Their criminal convictions are often directly or indirectly tied to their encounters with violence and abuse. In this talk, I'll discuss why and how this is happening and what we can and should be doing about it.
Philadelphia Justice Project for Women and Girls
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Weis Cinema 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT/GMT-4
Why did Indigenous peasants support but ultimately resist the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla group in highland Peruvian Quechua communities? The different ways rebels and government security forces interacted in each Andean community explain the diverse peasant responses. At first, the politics of pursuing social justice mobilized a large part of the rural population, especially the youths, who often sympathized with the Maoist revolution. The motivating factors in engaging with the insurgency in rural communities include local experiences of state neglect, social inequality, power relation, and fear and intimidation. Shining Path’s mounting authoritarianism, most notably their brutal killing of community authorities and demand that peasants withdraw from the market economy, explains the root of violent peasant uprisings against the rebels. The Indigenous struggle involved making the anti-guerrilla and pro-state coalition called the Pacto de Alianza entre Pueblos. It brought internal security and order, allowing Indigenous peasants to maintain daily life and protect their local affairs in wartime violence. The Pacto de Alianza was not limited to the counterinsurgency goals; its functions extended to the local governance, social cohesion, and post-conflict reconstruction.
Friday, April 7, 2023
Olin Humanities, Room 203 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
This teach-in will not only uncover some histories of Russian oppression and colonial domination within Ukrainian context, but will also include a panel discussion where students from other post-soviet countries will share their experience with Russification and how it affects their daily life.
Since the event is during lunch time, a free meal and drinks will be provided.
Looking forward to seeing you on Friday, April 7 in Olin 203!
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Dr. Noriko Kanahara '04, Waseda University-Tokyo
Olin 102 5:30 pm EDT/GMT-4
This talk explores how in the 1920s through the early 1940s, Japanese state officials determined whether or not to accept Turkic Muslim refugees from the former Russian Empire. Though at most 1000 in number, the refugees left a significant impact not only on how Japanese state officials understood Islam and the power of Muslim networks in global politics, but also on how these officials formed national consciousness in contradistinction to them. Analysis of the journals of the Japanese intelligence police reveals that although the police considered the refugees' religion as an important marker, the refugees’ political interests were most significant in determining whether or not to accept them in Japan. This talk demonstrates that religion and ideology, particularly Islam and Communism, impacted how the refugees established transnational relationships and how Japanese state officials demarcated the nation during the interwar and wartime periods following the Russian Revolution and throughout the Second World War. More specifically, religious and ideological ties—precisely because they were considered powerful tools of transnational mobilization—served as grounds for the Japanese state’s ambivalent reception of refugees.
Bio: Noriko Kanahara graduated from Bard College in 2004 with a BA in Anthropology. She has a PhD in History from the University of Chicago, an M.Phil. in Migration Studies from Oxford University, and an MA in Area Studies from Tokyo University. She has held postdoctoral research fellowships at Tohoku University and Waseda University in Japan. She is currently a research fellow at the Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture at Waseda University.
This event has received generous support from the Anthropology, Asian Studies, and Global & International Studies programs.