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Carceral Connecticut: Policing Race, Gender, and Sexuality in a "Progressive" State

AFAM 316
Spring 2024
Section: 01  
Course Cluster and Certificates: Community-Engaged Learning

Often considered a progressive bastion, Connecticut in fact has been at the forefront of carceral practices since the eighteenth century. In 1773, the colony converted a copper mine into the below-ground Newgate Prison. Half a century later, the state constructed one of the nation's first penitentiaries in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in operation until its demolition in the 1960s. In each of its iterations, Connecticut's carceral system has policed, shaped, and disciplined its residents along lines of race, class, and gender, constructing the normative and punishing deviation.

Through engagement with rich state and local archives, this course will use several case studies to examine how Connecticut's carceral practices have made and re-made the state's legacy of slavery and segregation, and policed the borders of accepted gender and sexuality in this place nicknamed "the land of steady habits."

The Middlesex County Historical Society's rich collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century Middletown police logs, county jail records, and police court proceedings will enable students to analyze on-the-ground carceral practices in Connecticut. The Connecticut State Archive's extensive state penitentiary records, pardon petitions, and other state-level records will enrich and contextualize the local picture in Middletown. In this service learning course, students' research projects will be shared with the community through digital and in-person presentations and exhibits.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AFAM
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AFAM)(HRAD-MN)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on MAR-04-2024
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