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Captivity, Confinement and Incarceration

NACBS Workshop Call for Proposals

“British Liberty” has never precluded confinement. This workshop explores forms of captivity and unfreedom in the British Isles and British Empire. We invite papers that consider slavery, hostage-taking, war captivity, debt imprisonment, medical quarantine, the detention of political suspects, sanctuary, the confinement of refugees and social outsiders, and punitive incarceration. We will ask how to conceptualize the relationship between different forms of confinement, and how practices of holding persons in a state of captivity were reconciled with the “birthrights of Englishmen.” Other questions include: How were confinement and captivity mediated by race, gender, social class, and geography? How was captivity institutionalized at different historical moments? Is Foucault’s paradigm of a “great confinement” or a modern “carceral archipelago” still useful? How do histories of confinement shed light on incarceration in the world today?

Participants will be chosen with a view to the complementarity of their research topics and strong preference will be given to graduate students and early career scholars.

The session will include 6-8 pre-circulated papers of 6,000-8,000 words each. Participants must be prepared to submit their papers by 1 October 2020. Each participant will be required to read all papers for the session, and to share written comments on two of the papers, prior to the conference. The session itself will include brief presentations and discussions of each paper, followed by a more extensive conversation between participants and the audience around common questions and themes.

Those interested must submit a CV and a one-page abstract to Rachel Weil ([email protected]) and Aidan Forth ([email protected]) by April 30th. The organizers will endeavor to announce results by the middle of May. Please title your email “NACBS Workshop Proposal.”

Note: Some financial assistance will be available for graduate students (up to US$500) and for a limited number of under/unemployed NACBS members within ten years of their terminal degree (US$300). Details of these travel grants will be posted to www.nacbs.org and emailed to members once the 2020 meeting program is prepared.

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