“Critical Prison Studies” – Workshop by the Bavarian American Academy

“Critical Prison Studies” – Workshop by the Bavarian American Academy


I am Volker Depkat, professor of American Studies at
the University of Regensburg and I’m here together with my two colleagues
from Erlangen and Eichstätt and we did an innovative teaching experiment that
consisted of three Hauptseminars on critical prison studies taking place
independently of each other at these three universities in Bavaria. Now we
had a two-day workshop bringing these seminars together and inviting keynote
speakers from our readings that we did. So this was the attempt to bring
together what was happening independently at three different
Bavarian universities under the roof of the Bavarian American Academy. Hi, my name is Kristina Graaf and I was
invited here to the “Critical Prison Studies Conference” to give one of the
keynotes and I focused on challenging binaries when doing critical prison
studies and how we can do that. And it was a really really great experience to
be here. It was for the first time that I was just with other scholars
in the field of critical prison studies. It was really great to be here and to be
among scholars who are also all interested in the field of
critical prison studies. That is really rare in Germany, and I was really happy to be invited to give a talk here. I came to deliver a lecture. The
lecture was partially about my academic work, my book “Spatializing Blackness” and
I talked about the rise of carceral power in Chicago and the race, class,
gender, sexual and geographic implications of it. The talk was well
received, robust questions. I really enjoyed the conversation and beyond that, I’ve really enjoyed all of the lectures, I enjoyed our most recent talks this
morning, and also getting an opportunity to meet with faculty and to talk with
the students about their projects and their ideas. So it’s been a wonderful opportunity. I am Katharina Gerund. I teach American Studies at FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, and we have had this seminar over the course of the last semester and now we’re coming
together talking about the topic of critical prison studies which is what we
chose for our seminars being taught at all three locations. It’s a crucial topic because as most people know the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the
world, so it’s part of understanding what’s happening in the U.S. today. And
of course critical prison studies not only takes stock of what’s happening in terms
of the prison industrial complex, but it critically asks why we need prisons,
what happens in prison culture, how can we change prison culture and why do
we need prisons in the first place. So one topic we discussed quite
controversially also is the issue of prison abolition. Can we get rid of prisons, how would a society without prisons look like and how can we change prisons as they exist today. My name is Carlos Perez. I’m from Venezuela.
I’m currently studying at the University of Regensburg, and I’m attending the
workshop on critical prison studies this week as a way to connect with other
thinkers about this issue, this very salient social issue. And it’s been a very productive couple of days, discussing issues that are very relevant
not only to the United States, but in Europe. The model of U.S. privatisation
of prisons is becoming more a role model to follow around the world. So
thank you for the opportunity. Hi, my name is Katharina Matuschek. I’m a PhD student from the University of Regensburg and I’m doing research in prison studies. So this workshop is an awesome opportunity for me to get together with other
students, other scholars, and discuss prison studies to get new insights also
for my own research. Hi, I am Nathalie Aghoro from the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and I found that this was a very enriching experience. It was an opportunity to consolidate the learnings from the teachings of the last semester and at the same time to get new input, different input from different kinds of academic fields that tie in with the field of critical prison studies. Hello, my name is Carolina Giavedoni. I’m
studying at the University of Regensburg “Master of European American Studies”.
This is the first workshop that I’ve attended of this style as well,
especially in regard to critical prison studies. I’ve enjoyed it very much.
I liked the structure quite a bit and one of the things I’ve liked the most is,
you know, we always emphasize the importance of an interdisciplinary
approach so that we get different perspectives, a different way to analyze problems and maybe come up with solutions. And for that reason exactly,
yesterday’s talk with the economist I thought was very enlightening, a new way to approach these issues that we’re discussing and reframe a lot of
the way we discuss these issues, the way we talk about them, the way we can
reintroduce them to the community.

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