CFP: 2nd International Conference for Carceral Geography 11-12 Dec 2017, University of Birmingham

Papers and sessions are now invited for the 2nd International Conference for Carceral Geography, to be held at the University of Birmingham on 11th and 12th December 2017.

Keynote speakers include:

The conference will also feature a screening of Brett Story’s The Prison In Twelve Landscapes, dedicated activities for Postgraduate Researchers, a drinks reception, a conference dinner, and the first AGM of the Carceral Geography Working Group of the RGS-IBG (CGWG).

2017 is a milestone year for Carceral Geography. It marks forty years after the English translation ofDiscipline and Punish, twenty years after Teresa Dirsuweit’s ground-breaking study of women’s incarceration in South Africa, and ten years after the publication of Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s Golden Gulag. Given the rapid development of the sub-discipline since and through these milestone publications, the intention of this conference is to recognise the founding of the CGWG in 2017 with an event which both reflects the diversity and energy of this area of research, and enables further interdisciplinary dialogue and development.

Carceral geography research is rich, diverse and multi-scalar, focusing on wider structural, political and institutional contexts as well as on everyday experiences, practices and agency; it is sensitive to change and difference across space and time, space/time, and between cultures and jurisdictions. Of particular note is the breadth of empirical focus; on spaces of ‘mainstream’ incarceration of ‘criminals’ for custodial sentences imposed by the prevailing legal system; spaces of migrant detention which confine irregular or non-status migrants pending decisions on admittance or removal; the overlaps and synergies between these spaces, their functional and post-functional lives, and also their porosity, in that techniques and technologies of confinement seep out of ‘carceral’ spaces into everyday, domestic, street, and institutional spaces. It also increasingly recognises ‘the carceral’ as spatial, emplaced, mobile, embodied and affective. A vibrant research dialogue has started to coalesce around the notion of the ‘carceral’ – asking what this term means, what it signifies, what its explanatory and critical purchase might be, and the extent to which it is anchored in or limited by its etymology in relation to the prison.

This CFP is intentionally broad, reflecting the diversity and expansive nature of carceral geography. A series of keynote addresses will progress thinking about the nature of the carceral, and carceral geography’s interdisciplinary perspective, but paper presenters and session conveners are at liberty to propose contributions which approach the carceral from any ontological, disciplinary or sub-disciplinary orientation, conceiving of it at any spatial scale and manifestation. Indicative, but by no means prescriptive or restrictive topics could include: emotional geographies of carceral spaces, negotiation of material and imagined carcerality; individual experiences of carcerality; carceral subgroups like young people; multi-sensory carcerality and carceral atmospherics; mobile and embodied carcerality; the ‘trans’, ‘hyper’ or ‘quasi’-carceral; carceral circuitry; logics of confinement; the post-disciplinary prison; carceral metaphors; scholar-activism in carceral geography; carceral ‘crises and the il/legitimacy of carceral institutions.

Within this intentionally expansive call, papers/sessions which address the ethics of carceral geography research are particularly welcome, perhaps reflecting the extent to which carceral geographers are or should be motivated by a desire to address carceral crises by effecting change to carceral institutions; what kind of change this is, how this is to be achieved, and the role of the researcher/scholar-activist. Papers which consider ‘violence’, conceptually and/or with regard to lived carceral experience, and those which sit at the intersection between carceral and children’s geographies, perhaps considering youth custody, are also welcome.

Please submit paper abstracts of up to 300 words by 1st October 2017. For session proposals, please submit up to 4 paper abstracts or 3 paper abstracts plus a proposed discussant, with an accompanying 300 word session abstract, by the same date. (Other session formats are also welcome – please contact the organisers to discuss well ahead of the submission date.) Selection decisions will be made by 31st October 2017.

Conference registration will be free, but options of catering, a conference dinner, and on-campus accommodation will be charged at cost price. These will be bookable individually via the conference website, which will also carry suggestions of alternative accommodation. The conference website will be launched shortly.

There will be a limited number of travel and accommodation bursaries available for paper presenters. These will be limited to £50 for speakers travelling from the UK outside of London; £100 for speakers travelling from London, and £200 for speakers travelling from outside the UK. Accommodation bursaries will be limited to £50.

Abstract submissions and Session proposals should be submitted on the Abstract Submission form or the Session proposal form (both of which ask for information about any travel and accommodation bursaries required) and emailed to; and by 1st October 2017

Conference organisers plan to include dedicated activities for Postgraduate Researchers within the conference programme. Both Doctoral and Masters students are warmly invited to contact the organisers by 1st October 2017 to express interest, in order to contribute to the design of these activities. Please email; by 1st October 2017

Further details, and links to abstract and session forms, are available at



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