qwe Witness in the Era of Mass Incarceration - Loyola University New Orleans

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Witness in the Era of Mass Incarceration

Loyola press release - November 7, 2018

Public talk at Loyola University New Orleans by creator and director of the American Prison Writing Archive

With more than eight percent of its population behind bars, Louisiana is the most incarcerated state in the United States. What happens to the voices of the men and women inside? What can their stories tell us about the criminal justice system, education, and the importance of bearing witness?

Professor Doran Larson is the creator and director of the American Prison Writing Archive, a digital collection of writing by incarcerated people in the United States that bears witness to their experience behind bars. On Monday, he leads a talk at Loyola University New Orleans.

Dr. Larson, Wolcott-Bartlett Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at Hamilton College, will discuss the potentials and implications of mass-scale prison witness in his talk, titled “Witness in the Era of Mass Incarceration: An Introduction to the American Prison Writing Archive,” at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 12, 2018 in Nunemaker Auditorium, Monroe Hall at Loyola University New Orleans, 6363 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, La. 70118. The event is free and open to the public.

This talk, co-sponsored by the University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Departments of Criminology & Justice, English, and History, as well as the University’s Kendall Daigle Memorial Endowment, spotlights a range of issues pertinent to Loyola’s academic disciplines (hyper-incarceration, for example) and fuses the discussion with cutting-edge research methods, such as digital humanities, or the practice of applying computational technology and methods to traditional studies in the humanities.

Students, staff, faculty, and city residents interested in social justice, racial and economic justice, hyper-incarceration, humanities, education, and writing will learn more about these important topics from one of the nation’s foremost experts.

The American Prison Writing Archive is the largest digital archive of non-fiction writing by currently incarcerated people and is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

According to the nonprofit, the United States holds 2.2 million citizens in its prisons and jails—a higher number and constituting a higher percentage of its population than in any other nation on earth. The American Prison Writing Archive seeks to share a new and human viewpoint on conditions inside.

“What appealed to us about this project is that is truly cross-disciplinary and focuses on issues that impact us all, such as mass incarceration, institutionalized racism, and inequity in education,” said Associate Professor of English Hillary Eklund. “Understanding these issues more fully helps us a community to fulfill the university mission of social justice.”

Learn more about the American Prison Writing Archive.