Current Electives

Fall 2017

PUBSCH 595A (SLN# 23575)

Prisons, Politics, and Activism (5 CR)

Instructor: Dan Berger (Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell)

Wednesdays, 6-10 pm

Simpson Center, CMU 202

The United States leads the world in imprisonment. More than 2.3 million people are locked up in prisons and jails around the country, with thousands more in immigrant detention centers, and a ubiquitous surveillance and policing apparatus. The prison is also a central institution in the reproduction of political and social life in the United States: it shapes how we experience race, class, gender, sexuality, and political possibility. At the same time, the recent economic crisis has generated greater public attention to the problem of mass incarceration. The reform or abolition of prisons is once again a topic of debate.

This class will examine what scholars call “the carceral state” through history, critical theory, memoirs, and community-based learning. We will examine the politics and culture of imprisonment around the country but focus class research projects on Washington state and the north Puget Sound area. Students will complete projects mapping the history and lived reality of the carceral state in Washington, with the goal of contributing to a public scholarship project on the topic.

Dan Berger is Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell, and affiliated faculty of the Certificate in Public Scholarship. He is author, most recently, of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era (2014) and The Struggle Within: Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Mass Movements in the United States (2014). 

This course counts for elective credit in the MA in Cultural Studies program and the Certificate in Public Scholarship (CPS). CPS students may enroll under PUBSCH 595A (SLN#23575 Seattle Time Schedule) or BCULST 570 (SLN# 11294, Bothell Time Schedule) for credit.


Be Boundless for Washington | For the World