Humanities Action Lab: Mass Incarceration Project

Jessica Namakkal
Duke University
Robin Kirk
Duke University
Discipline(s): HistoryGlobal StudiesInterdisciplinary Studies
Syllabus Last Updated: 
September, 2016

This course explores the theories, politics, and practices of socially engaged public humanities and museology by creating a project on the past, present, and future of incarceration, exploring the explosion of prisons and incarcerated people in the US – including immigration detention centers -- and its global dimensions. We will be working in coordination with other classes at over a dozen other universities, among them Arizona State, Brown, UT Austin, University of Minnesota, and others, each taking on an element of this broad theme. Our course will specifically examine the history of the death penalty and capital punishment as a global issue and create a project gathering histories and experiences of the death penalty in North Carolina. Combining historical and theoretical study with hands-on experience, Duke students will contribute their project to the Humanities Action Lab: Mass Incarceration Project, a traveling exhibit, digital platform, oral histories, face-to-face community dialogues, and interactive media. Opening in Spring 2016 at The New School in New York City and traveling to at least a dozen other cities across the country over the next two years, including Durham, this project is an opportunity for students to experiment on innovative ways to open space to generate and exchange unique locally-grounded approaches to common global questions.