11-12 Dec 2017, University of Birmingham

Carceral geography research is rich, diverse and multi-scalar, focusing on wider structural, political and institutional contexts as well as on everyday experiences, practices and agency; it is sensitive to change and difference across space and time, space/time, and between cultures and jurisdictions. Of particular note is the breadth of empirical focus; on spaces of ‘mainstream’ incarceration of ‘criminals’ for custodial sentences imposed by the prevailing legal system; spaces of migrant detention which confine irregular or non-status migrants pending decisions on admittance or removal; the overlaps and synergies between these spaces, their functional and post-functional lives, and also their porosity, in that techniques and technologies of confinement seep out of ‘carceral’ spaces into everyday, domestic, street, and institutional spaces. It also increasingly recognises ‘the carceral’ as spatial, emplaced, mobile, embodied and affective. A vibrant research dialogue has started to coalesce around the notion of the ‘carceral’ – asking what this term means, what it signifies, what its explanatory and critical purchase might be, and the extent to which it is anchored in or limited by its etymology in relation to the prison.

This CFP is intentionally broad, reflecting the diversity and expansive nature of carceral geography. A series of keynote addresses will progress thinking about the nature of the carceral, and carceral geography’s interdisciplinary perspective, but paper presenters and session conveners are at liberty to propose contributions which approach the carceral from any ontological, disciplinary or sub-disciplinary orientation, conceiving of it at any spatial scale and manifestation. Indicative, but by no means prescriptive or restrictive topics could include: emotional geographies of carceral spaces, negotiation of material and imagined carcerality; individual experiences of carcerality; carceral subgroups like young people; multi-sensory carcerality and carceral atmospherics; mobile and embodied carcerality; the ‘trans’, ‘hyper’ or ‘quasi’-carceral; carceral circuitry; logics of confinement; the post-disciplinary prison; carceral metaphors; scholar-activism in carceral geography; carceral ‘crises and the il/legitimacy of carceral institutions.

Within this intentionally expansive call, papers/sessions which address the ethics of carceral geography research are particularly welcome, perhaps reflecting the extent to which carceral geographers are or should be motivated by a desire to address carceral crises by effecting change to carceral institutions; what kind of change this is, how this is to be achieved, and the role of the researcher/scholar-activist. Papers which consider ‘violence’, conceptually and/or with regard to lived carceral experience, and those which sit at the intersection between carceral and children’s geographies, perhaps considering youth custody, are also welcome.

Please submit paper abstracts of up to 300 words by 1st October 2017. For session proposals, please submit up to 4 paper abstracts or 3 paper abstracts plus a proposed discussant, with an accompanying 300 word session abstract, by the same date. (Other session formats are also welcome – please contact the organisers to discuss well ahead of the submission date.)

Selection decisions will be made by 31st October 2017, and presenters will then be asked to register for the conference, if they have not already done so, by 5th December 2017.