Friday, August 21, 2015

The Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies and the University of New Orleans Department of History Join National Conversation on Incarceration

Midlo Center fpr New Orleans Studies logoThe Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies and the UNO Department of History are sponsoring a series of public events this fall in conjunction with the national public history project known as "Global Dialogues on Incarceration." The project is coordinated by the New School's Humanities Action Lab (HAL) in New York City. The University of New Orleans joins twenty partner schools around the country teaching courses dedicated to incarceration and its history, staging events with community partners and contributing to a national traveling exhibit.

"The U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world, and Louisiana incarcerates more people than any state in the U.S.," said Connie Zeanah Atkinson, associate professor of history at UNO and the Midlo Center's co-director. "With the emphasis on incarceration issues going on in Louisiana right now, I expect this series of events to generate great interest and make a meaningful contribution to the global dialogue."

While a series of related events will take place across the city, a number of distinguished speakers will visit the UNO campus:

  • Artist, activist and educator Mark Strandquist, whose "Windows from Prison" project has brought thousands of individuals together with prisoners across the country, will discuss using collaborative public art to engage critically and creatively with the criminal justice system on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in the UNO Earl K. Long Library on the 4th floor.
  • Marianne Fisher-Giorlando will talk about the women who were incarcerated in Louisiana's first state penitentiary–a walled facility in Baton Rouge in the 19th century–and share stories that dispel commonly held beliefs about women's incarceration before the Civil War. This lecture takes place Thursday, Sept. 24 at 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in the UNO Earl K. Long Library on the 4th floor.
  • Norris Henderson, executive director of Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE), will deliver a lecture based on his tremendous success impacting policy and public discourse about police accountability, public defense, and reforming the Orleans Parish Prison. Mr. Henderson was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years and is now committed to working as an advocate and organizer for criminal justice reform, especially in New Orleans. Mr. Henderson's lecture will take place Thursday, December 3 at 2:00-3:15 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 197.

Beyond these lectures, some UNO students will examine incarceration as part of their coursework and contribute to the "Global Dialogues on Incarceration" national traveling exhibit. UNO students enrolled in the course "Policing, Punishment, and Prisons in Local and Global Perspective," taught by visiting lecturer Benjamin Weber, will create and submit a final project to the national exhibit at the close of the fall 2015 semester. The exhibit will open in New York this spring and travel to New Orleans in 2017.

In addition to student coursework and lecture events, a number of other forums–both on and off the UNO campus–will examine incarceration through film, panel discussions and visual arts. Below is a complete listing of events associated with the "Global Dialogues on Incarceration." For more information, contact Ben Weber at midlocenter@uno.edu.

  • Mark Strandquist: "Windows from Prison: Using Public Art to Disrupt the Criminal Justice System," Tuesday, September 8, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. UNO Earl K. Long Library, 4th floor. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the UNO Library.
  • Film Screening: "The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation," Tuesday, September 15, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. UNO Liberal Arts Lounge, Liberal Arts Bldg 197. Co-sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.
  • Marianne Fisher-Giorlando: "Women at the Walls: Dispelling the Myths of Women in Louisiana's Antebellum Penitentiary," Thursday, September 24, 2:00 – 3:15 pm., UNO Earl K. Long Library, 4th floor. Co-sponsored by the UNO Women's Center.
  • Film Screening: "The Farm," Tuesday, October 13, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. UNO Liberal Arts Lounge, Liberal Arts Bldg 197. Co-sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.
  • Panel Discussion and Demonstration: "A World without Prisons? Local Artists Discuss Art and Activism with Young People," Thursday, October 29, time TBA. Myrtle Banks Bldg., Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Co-sponsored by the Louisiana Center for Children's Rights.
  • Day-long Exhibition and Discussion: "Conversations on Windows Through Walls: Angola Over Time," Saturday, November 14 during Central City Fest, Ashé Cultural Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Co-sponsored by Ashé Cultural Arts Center.
  • Film Screening: "Follow Me Down," Tuesday, November 24, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. UNO Liberal Arts Lounge, Liberal Arts Bldg 197. Co-sponsored by Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.
  • Norris Henderson, former OSI Soros Justice Fellow & Executive Director of Voice of the Ex-Offender (VOTE), Thursday, December 3, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m., UNO Liberal Arts Lounge, Liberal Arts Bldg 197.