Huey Hewitt '19
Gender is Carceral: Trans Black Imprisonment in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Department of Black Studies Honors Thesis
Abstract: Gender is Carceral: Trans Black Imprisonment in the Age of Mass Incarceration is a thesis written for the Black Studies Department which approaches the subject of black trans people in prison, when little to no academic literature exists on the topic—despite the astonishing NTDS figure estimating that 47% of black trans people have been or are currently incarcerated. I argue that racialized gender regulation and discipline are carceral state machineries. Mirroring Peter Winn’s attempts in Weavers of Revolution, wherein he writes a “history-in-the-making” of workers’ movements in Allende’s Chile (and their repression under Pinochet), the thesis is a contemporary history of black trans incarceration. Letters between myself and trans black people behind bars, in addition to past and present newspapers, comprise the bulk of my primary source materials. In the absence of existing literature on the subject, my thesis attempts to bridge scholarship on gendered coloniality and enslavement, gender socialization generally, blackness, and the prison, positing that racialized expectations based on assigned sex are, in the age of mass incarceration, fundamentally carceral. Such work is crucial, and truly new, to the emerging Transgender Studies canon.