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Insurgent Knowledges: Book Discussion

Public Humanities, Explorations in the Public Humanities

dateSeptember 18, 2017 timeMonday, 6:15pm–8:00pm EDT location Jerome Greene Annex, Columbia University
  • The Justice in Education Initiative
  • Columbia University Amnesty International
  • Richard Roderick
Covers of First Strike by Damien M. Sojoyner and Compulsory by Sabina E. Vaught

"Taking a unique, multifaceted insider’s perspective,” Dr. Sojoyner in “First Strike delves into the root causes of its ever-expansive prison system and disastrous educational policy. Recentering analysis of Black masculinity beyond public rhetoric, First Strike critiques the trope of the 'school-to-prison pipeline' and instead explores the realm of public school as a form of 'enclosure' that has influenced the schooling (and denial of schooling) and imprisonment of Black people in California."

In Compulsory, Dr. Vaught “argues that through its educational apparatus, the state disproportionately removes young Black men from their homes and subjects them to the abuses of captivity. She explores the various legal and ideological forces shaping juvenile prison and prison schooling, and examines how these forces are mechanized across multiple state apparatuses, not least school. Drawing richly on ethnographic data, she tells stories that map the repression of rightless, incarcerated youth, whose state captivity is the contemporary expression of age-old practices of child removal and counterinsurgency.”

Damien M. Sojoyner is an urban anthropologist with a disaporic framework. He is Assistant Professor at University of California, Irvine's Department of Anthropology. He teaches undergraduate courses in Urban Ethnography in the United States and Prisons and Public Education; he teaches graduate courses in Black Ethnography in the Anthropological Imagination, Prisons in the United States, and Black Political Theory. His first book, entitled First Strike: Educational Enclosures of Black Los Angeles, was published by University of Minnesota Press (2016).

Sabina E. Vaught is Associate Professor and Interim Chair of Education. She is Director of the Program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and holds affiliations in Africana, American, and Colonialism Studies at Tufts. Dr. Vaught's scholarship and teaching are concerned with the production, disruption, and exchange of knowledge across powered, institutional terrains. Her current book, Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School (University of Minnesota Press) is a critical ethnography of one state’s juvenile prison schooling system. She received her doctorate in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a former high school English teacher.

Robin McGinty is a PhD candidate in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Program (Geography) at the CUNY Graduate Center, and an Adjunct Lecturer at CUNY Queens College’s Department of Urban Studies. In addition to holding a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Robin McGinty is a Justice Research Fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Justice, as well as a Columbia Center for Oral History 2017 Fellow. Robin’s research interrogates the racialized and gendered spatial formations of the carceral sphere, apparatus and function, including its historical and structural reach through the optic of currently and formerly imprisoned black women in the United States.

Carla Shedd is Associate Professor of Urban Education at CUNY Graduate Center. Shedd received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University and her A.B. in Economics and African American Studies from Smith College. Her research and teaching interests focus on: crime and criminal justice; race and ethnicity; law and society; social inequality; and urban sociology. Shedd’s first book, Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice (October 2015, Russell Sage), Unequal City uses the experiences of youth, particularly their interactions with teachers, police, and parents, to uncover how they shape adolescents’ perceptions of themselves and their wider social worlds. Unequal City also examines the driving forces behind and the consequences of policies that have intricately linked the public school system and the criminal justice system.

  • Author Damien M. Sojoyner Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology University of California, Irvine
  • Author Sabina Vaught Associate Professor and Director of the Program in Educational Studies and holds affiliations in WGSS, Africana, and American Studies. Tufts University
  • Moderator Richard Roderick Program Coordinator, Justice-in-Education Initiative
  • Respondent Carla Shedd Associate Professor of Urban Education CUNY Graduate Center
  • Respondent Robin McGinty Doctoral Candidate CUNY Graduate Center’s Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography)