The Prison and the Academy: Exploring Critical Prison Pedagogy


Event Description

Organized by Professor Lori Gruen, Brittany Holom, and Jill Stockwell

Should we turn prisons into colleges? Join us for a public conversation.

At this moment, when institutions of higher learning are recognizing and responding to the crisis of a lack of educational opportunities for incarcerated people, it is timely to reflect critically on the values and potential pitfalls of prison education. We will consider ethical questions about the responsibility academics and the academy bear in ensuring access to higher education within prisons, and reflect on the particular obligations that educators from the outside have to those they are teaching. We will discuss what educators might do to expand education, given that existing programs reach so few of those who are incarcerated, as well as explore how those incarcerated think and feel about educational programs.

This spring’s “The Prison and the Academy” event will seek to frankly address the following questions, among others:

-       Should prison education be a by-product of academic life or integral to the work of academic institutions and professionals?

-       Are teaching and learning in prisons inherently political acts? Should political beliefs influence curriculum, course content, and pedagogical strategies in the prison classroom?

-       Should the experiences of the incarcerated be incorporated into courses?

-       When and under what conditions should the experiences of the incarcerated be represented to others by educators?

Reginald Dwayne Betts, Yale Law School

Lori Gruen, William Griffin Professor of Philosophy at Wesleyan University and Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching, University Center for Human Values.

In conversation with:

Boris Franklin, Rutgers University

Joshua Miller, Georgetown University

Following brief presentations from our discussants, we look forward to an open discussion with the audience. Light reception to follow.  Participants are encouraged to attend the 4:30 p.m. Students for Prison Education and Reform (SPEAR) Conference Keynote Address by Susan Burton.

Questions? Contact Brittany Holom ([email protected]), and Jill Stockwell ([email protected])  

Sponsored by the University Center for Human Values, the Prison Teaching Initiative and the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning

Event Category