Carceral Studies Network

Carceral Studies Network

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The Carceral Studies Network hosts resources for those seeking to teach or learn about prisons, policing, and the carceral state. Designed by instructors and students at Duke University, the site is meant to help teachers develop new courses from the ground up, or enrich existing courses with new materials. Learners will also find helpful resources, including texts that can complement assigned readings and syllabi that might facilitate self-study and community-based learning. We hope that this site will be a continually evolving hub for scholarly exchange, innovation, and dialogue, and we encourage users to share their own pedagogical materials with other teachers and learners.

Project History

The Carceral Studies Network project occurred in phases.

Phase one of the project began in 2015 when a project team of Douglas Campbell (Professor of New Testament), Robin Kirk (Faculty Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the DHRC@FHI), Wahneema Lubiano (Associate Professor of African and African American Studies and Literature), Jessica Namakkal (Assistant Professor of the Practice in the International Comparative Studies Program), and Matt Whitt (Postdoctoral Fellow, Thompson Writing Program) were awarded funding for an Emerging Networks project from Duke's Humanities Writ Large grant. The initial goals of the project were to strengthen course offerings covering topics related to mass incarceration and to put on a public lecture series to develop a community of researchers, students, and teachers at Duke and beyond who are interested in learning and sharing knowledge about mass incarceration.

Phase two, focused on utilizing the internet to strengthen the above mentioned scholarly community. The initial goal was to create a online hub of resources to improve teaching on the subject of mass incarceration, but after seeing Project Vox, we decided our intended site should also be a hub for finding resources for producing scholarship on the subject. Our choice to use the Drupal content management system for the site was influenced by that being the platform used by Project Vox and the preferred supported platform of Trinity Technology Services, a unit we worked closely with throughout building the website. For three months over the summer and early fall of 2016, we worked with Trinity Technology Services staff to decide how the website information should be described, organized, and displayed, as well as how the site should function.

The final stage, and the stage that is ongoing, involves adding content. To facilitate crowd sourcing materials, we created Qualtrics forms so that anyone can add content merely by clicking on a link. These forms also provide the ability to mediate submissions before being published on the site. The project receives periodic departmental funding to hire an undergraduate student to enter in content that comes through the Qualtrics forms.

People Involved With The Project

  • Jessica Namakkal, Assistant Professor of the Practice, International Comparative Studies Program (Co-Primary Investigator)
  • Matt Whitt, Lecturing Fellow, Thompson Writing Program (Co-Primary Investigator)