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Surviving prisons in America: gender, activism, and experience among relatives of prisoners and former prisoners

Grant number: 21/14618-2
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): July 22, 2022
Effective date (End): July 21, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology - Urban Anthropology
Principal researcher:Guita Grin Debert
Grantee:Natália Boucas do Lago
Supervisor abroad: Eileen Gillooly
Home Institution: Núcleo de Estudos de Gênero (PAGU). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities (SOFHCH), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:20/13026-1 - We learn from each other: displacements, activisms and activists around prisons, BP.PD


The present research aims at investigating connections between imprisonment, activism, and difference in the U.S.A. The proposal is to follow up on actions by those who identify as "relatives of prisoners" and "former prisoners", and who also make use of their experiences with incarceration as a way of inserting themselves into the public debate and activism on the penitentiary system. Displacements and articulations produced by "relatives" are one way of unveiling relationships, categories, and subjectivities that are constituted in activist networks. The hypothesis is that social markers of difference, such as gender and race, are activated as languages that translate the experiences of relatives and former incarcerated people into political actions. The research follows the already established relationship between activists and associations that are recognized by their work with Amparar - Association of Relatives and Friends of Prisoners in São Paulo - and proposes to identify other associations and relatives' activist networks in the U.S. context. The proposal is ethnographical and seeks to investigate the actions, debates, gatherings, and documents produced within such associations, data that will be further analyzed with an updated bibliographic review on the subject. Finally, the research also intends to work with Columbia University's Justice-in-Education initiative, a project that offers courses linked to the university to people and communities affected by imprisonment. Part of the scholars involved in the program are already engaged with initiatives organized by family members and former prisoners. (AU)

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