Posted on March 9th, 2015


Teju Cole has been awarded one of the 2015 Windham-Campbell Prize in fiction

Congratulations Teju Cole!

Notes from the Chair

“Producing the Prison: A Spatial History of Prisoners in Colonial India”

Mira Rai Waits
University of California, Santa Barbara

“Producing the Prison: A Spatial History of Prisoners in Colonial India”

IOR/X/104/1-53, plate 28Nineteenth- and twentieth- century histories of prisons in British India have followed three narratives. British imperial history presented prisons as exceptional infrastructural improvements essential to governance. In Indian nationalist history, prisons became synonymous with British rule and incarceration was determined to be a necessary stage of Indian resistance. Recent scholarship has emphasized the legal and ideological origin of the prison as well as the significance of medical practice. When examined as a whole, this body of material can provide valuable insights into the colonial Indian prison. However these histories fail to investigate the prison in terms of design, representation, physical space, and material experience, reducing the prison to a static concept—a site of pure ideology. This talk demonstrates that the prison was not a historical given, but rather a space continually altered, re-imagined, and even challenged by the people and objects experiencing, recording, and narrating its production. This paper advocates the recognition of space as an active and dynamic component of the history of Indian prisons.

Thursday, March 12, 2015
12:00 noon
Olin 102