Spring 2020

Incarcerating Blackness

Listed in: Black Studies, as BLST-237  |  Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, as LJST-247


John E. Drabinski (Section 01)


(Offered as BLST 237 [US] and LJST 247) This course explores the complex relationship between race, racism, and mass incarceration. Readings from the African-American intellectual tradition, contemporary critics of the prison industrial complex, and memoirs from political prisoners will help us understand the depth and structure of the historical and cultural meaning of racialized imprisonment. In particular, we will look at how incarceration has been both a metaphor for the Black experience in the United States and a constant presence in that experience as a form of social, cultural, and political control. We will also examine how economic factors intersect with race and racism in the expansion of the prison system in the United States. Lastly, we will read a cluster of prison memoirs in light of contemporary historical and critical race analysis in order to discern the effects and affects of imprisonment on African-American life.

Spring semester. Professor Drabinski.


Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Issues of Social Justice


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Spring 2020