Carceral Geography at the AAG, Chicago IL, 2015

logo_aagCarceral Geographers attending the AAG meeting in Chicago, IL next Spring should have plenty to keep their attention. Jen Turner and Dominique Moran have put together a series of linked sessions which draw together some really exciting work and should provide plenty of scope for discussion and conversation. Join us!

Carceral Geographies I: Theorisations of Confinement

Christophe Mincke: Prison: Legitimacy Through Mobility?
Elizabeth A. Brown: Care, carceral geographies, and the reconfiguration of mass incarceration
Kimberley Peters: ‘Unlock the volume’: bringing height and depth to carceral mobilities
Stephanie Figgins: Between the Sheets of the U.S. Deportation Regime
Discussant: Nick Gill

Carceral Geographies II: Prison Architecture and Design

Fie Vandamme: Fit IN Stand OUT: Rules and Elements for Humane Prison Architecture
Jennifer Turner: Shaping ‘inhabitation’: the complexities of prison design and prison building
Dominique Moran: Prison architects as moral agents: is it possible to design a ‘healthy’ prison?
Gideon Boie: Prison Up Close: subject positions in the penitentiary spatial structure
Discussant: Lauren Martin

Carceral Geographies III: Activity, Agency and Organisation

Katie Hemsworth:”Prisoner’s Talking Blues”: Music, emotion, and spatiality in prisons
Orisanmi Burton: The Politics of Containment: Prison-Based Activism in the Empire State
Lloyd Gray: How do prisoners experience and perceive the education environment within a prison? An interpretative phenomenological analysis approach
Geraldine Brown: A holistic evaluation of delivering a community based food growing mentoring programme in a prison setting with substance misuse offenders.
Discussant: Shaul Cohen

Carceral Geographies IV: Gendered and Embodied Confinement

Victoria Knight: Modus Vivendi: The cell, emotions, social relations and television
Jessica Bird: Segregation in Scottish Prisons: A Socio-Spatial History
William Payne: Governmentality, performativity and sexuality – A scholarly consideration of a drag show in a prison
Rae Rosenberg: Transgender Embodiment in Carceral Space: Hypermasculinity and the US Prison Industrial Complex
Discussant: Karen M. Morin

Carceral Geographies V: (Re)defining Boundaries

Elizabeth Bos: We were there too: Reflexive experiences of evaluating a prison gardening intervention
Dana Cuomo: Incarceration and domestic violence: Perspectives from victims on the outside
Tony Sparks: The Asylum is on These Streets: Managing Mental Illness in the Carceral Community
Avril Maddrell: The charity shop, permeable carcarel spaces, gendered power relations, reparation and rehabilitation
Discussant: Jennifer Turner

Carceral Geographies VI: (Re)defining Boundaries 2

Nathan Kahn: Public Memory, Landscape, and Historic Carcerality at the Groveland Correctional Facility
Oriane Simon: Extraordinary Rendition’s Transfers in Ambiguous Spaces
Vanessa Anne Massaro: Prison’s revolving door and the porous boundaries of carceral spaces
Stephen Sherman: Why Drug-Free School Zones are Bad for Communities: Evaluating sentence enhancement zone outcomes across urban forms
Discussant: Dominique Moran

Carceral Geographies VII: Future Directions in Carceral Geographies

Panelists: Shaul Cohen, Nick Gill, Dominique Moran, Deirdre Conlon, Jennifer Turner


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Fixed-term and temporary: teaching fellows, tactics, and the negotiation of contingent labour in the UK higher education system

My latest article, co-authored with Kimberley Peters, in Environment and Planning A is available here.


This paper autobiographically considers the role of teaching-only staff as a contingent labour force in the contemporary higher education system in the UK. The aims are twofold. First, whilst much attention has been paid to the role of the research fellow, there has been less consideration, in the UK context, of the teaching fellow as an alternate form of postdoctoral experience. Accordingly, this paper gives voice to the teaching fellow—a member of academic staff who is not allocated writing and research time as part of their contract—whose views are often marginalised in ongoing debates concerning the plays of power in the neoliberalised academy. Second, the paper raises these voices to bring into consciousness the impacts of the teaching fellow experience for the fellows themselves and the faculties they work in. It is argued that teaching fellows face challenging circumstances with regard to their career trajectories in the academy. Accordingly, this paper considers the ways in which fellows, through tactics of place-making, presence and visibility, and collaboration, negotiate the challenging structural and institutional conditions that underscore their contracts. It is contended that exploring the teaching-only workforce is vital for critically assessing the workings of the contemporary academy and questioning the unequal power relations that shape work places in a culture where contingent labour is expanding; becoming less of a fixed-term and temporary feature of the university system but, rather, a stable and enduring one.
Keywords: contingent labour, higher education, fixed-term, temporary, teaching

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Potential Carceral Geography research group – survey

Following a series of successful sessions at recent conferences of the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers and Association of American RGS_logoGeographers, and in particular, sessions organised as part of the RGS-IBG 2014, there seems to be an interest developing in establishing some kind of formal research network around carceral geography.

One way forward could be to establish either a Research Group or a Working Group, of the RGS-IBG, (which would also be open to non-RGS-IBG members, and would also welcome colleagues from outside of the discipline of geography) and which could serve as a hub for networking and information sharing among like-minded researchers. Depending on what kind of group is established, it could also provide some funds to support postgraduates, and to arrange events.

In order to gauge potential interest, we would like to ask you to complete this survey.

If weight of opinion is in favour of establishing some kind of group, a list of names of potential supporters/members would be needed – this is covered in the survey. Please consider adding your name to this list, whether or not you are an RGS-IBG member.

Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham)

Jennifer Turner (University of Leicester)

Anna Schliehe (University of Glasgow)

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Call for Papers: Carceral Geography at the Association of American Geographers conference, Chicago, 2015

Papers are invited, on diverse aspects of carceral geography, for the Association of American Geographers annual conference, to be held in Chicago in April 2015
Session organisers: Jennifer Turner (University of Leicester), Marie Hutton (University of Birmingham), and Dominique Moran (University of Birmingham)
Although prisons and criminal justice systems are integral parts of governance and techniques of governmentality, the geographical study of the prison and other confined or closed spaces is still relatively novel. The vibrant subdiscipline of carceral geography has already made substantial progress, has established useful and fruitful dialogues with cognate disciplines of criminology and prison sociology, and is attuned to issues of contemporary import such as hyperincarceration and the advance of the punitive state. It has also used the carceral context as a lens through which to view concepts with wider currency within contemporary and critical human geography. Thus far, it has made key contributions to debates within human geography over mobility, liminality, and embodiment, and it has increasingly found a wider audience, with geographical approaches to carceral space being taken up by and developed further within criminology and prison sociology. Carceral geography brings to the study of prisons and imprisonment an understanding of relational space, as encountered, performed and fluid. Rather than seeing prisons as spatially fixed and bounded containers for people and imprisonment practices, rolled out across Cartesian space through prison systems straightforwardly mappable in scale and distance, carceral geography has tended towards an interpretation of prisons as fluid, geographically-anchored sites of connections and relations, both connected to each other and articulated with wider social processes through and via mobile and embodied practices. Hence its focus on the experience, performance and mutability of prison space, the porous prison boundary, mobility within and between institutions, and the ways in which meanings and significations are manifest within fluid and ever-becoming carceral landscapes.
This session both invites contributions which reflect the development of carceral geography to date, and also those which suggest future developments – these could explore:
• the emergent discourse of criminological cartography;
• transdisciplinary synergies between carceral geography, law, psychology, and architectural studies;
• prison design and the lived experience of carceral spaces;
• affect and emotion;
• carceral TimeSpace;
• the embodied experience of incarceration;
• feminist and corporeal carceral geographies;
• theorisation of coerced, governmental or disciplined mobility;
• confluence with critical border studies;
• dialogue with architectural and cultural geographies;
• engagement with abolitionist praxis;
• notions of the purposes of imprisonment and the geographical and/or historical contexts in which these are socially constructed.
Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by email to Jennifer Turner ( and Marie Hutton ( by 1st October 2014.
Successful submissions will be contacted by 8th October 2014 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 31st 2014 ahead of a session proposal deadline of 5th November 2014. Please note a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the submission of abstracts to the AAG online system.

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A new book ….. Placing the Border in Everyday Life

Read my new book chapter, entitled ‘‘No place like home”: boundary traffic through the prison gate in Placing the Border in Everyday Life, out this month.

Edited by Reece Jones and Corey Johnson, this book complicates the connection between borders and sovereign states by identifying the individuals and organizations that engage in border work at a range of scales and places. This edited volume includes contributions from major international scholars in the field of border studies and allied disciplines who analyze where and why border work is done. By combining a new theorization of border work beyond the state with rich empirical case studies, this book makes a ground-breaking contribution to the study of borders and the state in the era of globalization.

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A new adventure….

I have recently taken up a new position as a Research Associate in the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester.

The ESRC-funded project is entitled ‘Fear-suffused environments’ or potential to rehabilitate?  Prison architecture, design and technology and the lived experience of carceral spaces” and is with Prof. Yvonne Jewkes and Dr. Dominique Moran (Birmingham).

Keep up-to-date with project goings on at the website Prison Spaces or follow us on twitter @PrisonSpaces

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Call for Papers – Social Geography Special Issue on “Criminality and carcerality across boundaries”

The basic idea of this Special Issue is to promote cutting-edge dialogue about links between spaces and spatialities commonly understood as ‘carceral’ (prisons, detention centers, camps, etc.) and other, often urban spaces seen to be undergoing new forms of ‘criminalisation’, for example through video surveillance, Geographic Information Systems and Crime Mapping, Predictive Policing, Environmental Crime Prevention and so on.

Scholars working in these two areas engage with related themes but often focus their empirical work on one or the other type of field site. The Special Issue is aimed at generating reflection and exchange on how themes typically considered ‘carceral’ can inform imaginations of, as well as policing and governmental projects centered upon, nominally more ‘open’ civic or public realms. Likewise, it is important to understand the ways in which urban (or rural) imaginations of civic or public space as well as spaces of economic exchange, inflect the evolution of carceral policies and practices. In general, there is increasing ‘leakage’ and an increasingly complex bundle of cultural, economic and political relations that undermines any simple distinction between the ‘carceral inside’ and the ‘public outside’. We would especially welcome theory-based submissions that draw upon a range of case studies to reflect broadly on these issues. Also welcome would be contributions touching any of the following areas:

-Carceral imaginaries in public culture

– Carceral strategies and the criminalisation of urban spaces

– Civic and citizenship ideologies in prison management

– Economic links across prison boundaries

– Historical transformations in the cultural placing of carcerality and criminality

– Innovative theorizations of boundaries between nominally carceral and civic spaces

– Theoretical arguments regarding the cross-applicability of themes between nominally carceral and civic spaces

– Reflections on the relevance of postcolonial, feminist and other theoretical frameworks for illuminating this complex

In order to facilitate timely publication, papers would need to be received for peer review by mid February 2014. Please send any proposed abstracts of no more than 200 words to myself, Jen Turner ( by November 15th 2013.

For more details about the Journal, see:

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REBLOG: Jobs for Offenders: A Life Beyond the Prison ‘Home’

Read my latest Geography Directions post surrounding the politics of convicted criminals in the West Midlands being paid to work in call centres for insurance firms.

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Re-‘homing’ the ex-offender: constructing a ‘prisoner dyspora’

My latest article, available to download in Early View in Area is available here.


Recent work within and beyond the geography discipline has come to understand that where might be imagined a sharp boundary between the ‘hidden’ inside and outside of prisons, there is in fact a myriad of materials that cleave and bind penal geographies that mark the prison wall as a site of transaction and exchange. Recidivism in the UK is of serious concern, rendering the ‘prisoner’ a participant of a very unique and dynamic type of border exchange. In light of this, this paper questions how this impacts prisoners’ identities and attachments to ‘home’. Although ex-offenders may idealise a return to the communities where they lived prior to incarceration, the ability to re-integrate is often limited. This may be attributed to the transformations that individuals undergo while spending time in prison, such as the possession of a criminal record. In grounding this discussion in the case of a company that employs ‘ex-offenders’, I examine the implications of belonging to such a group of ‘conventional employees’ and ‘those with criminal records’; revealing tensions that complicate matters of belonging. This paper therefore posits the prison as a kind of ‘homeland’ that continues to significantly shape one’s identity following their out-migration. Those leaving prison find themselves unable to display conventional attachments to the outside society, while performing a dystopian relationship with the prison homeland, allowing for a consideration of what I have termed the ‘prisoner dyspora’.

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New book: “Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention”

New book: “Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention”.

This book draws together the work of a new community of scholars with a growing interest in carceral geography: the geographical study of practices of imprisonment and detention.

Edited by Dominique Moran, Nick Gill and Deidre Conlon, the volume features work by Lauren Martin, Matt Mitchelson, Olivier Milhaud, Bénédicte Michalon, Julie De Dardel, Nancy Hiemstra, Mason McWatters and myself.  There are also reflective pieces by Alison Mountz and Yvonne Jewkes.

It’s available for purchase via Ashgate and Amazon.


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