Carceral Archipelago

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Attitudes to Convict Ancestry: Documentary Review

Attitudes to Convict Ancestry: Documentary Review

In this blog post I review the documentary ‘A Secret History of my Family: Gadbury Sisters’, which aired in 2016, and discuss how it reflects changing attitudes to convict ancestry amongst British and Australian descendants. It is re-blogged from the the wonderful History on the Box in which postgraduate students from the School of History, Politics and IR at the […]

The Two Fredericks: A snapshot of male intimacy in prison

The Two Fredericks: A snapshot of male intimacy in prison

In the 1840s, campaigners for the abolition of convict transportation engaged in a campaign of scare-mongering about the prevalence of sexual acts between male convicts (dubbed “unnatural acts”).  This strand of anti-transportation rheotirc was particularly effective because it suggested that a system that was supposed to engender moral reform actually produced moral degradation.[1] Panic about rampant homosexual activity […]

In my prison notebook

In my prison notebook

Last year I came across a rare archival find: multiple editions of a 19th century prison newspaper covertly produced by Russian inmates between 1890 and 1905. The newspaper editions, now brittle paper manuscripts fraying brown along their edges, were archived along with a note of introduction by the editor-in-chief. The editor describes the way in […]

Ecuadorian thoughts on religion, power and the subaltern classes

Ecuadorian thoughts on religion, power and the subaltern classes

The Iglesia de la Merced, in Quito, was built in 1737 on the remains of the original church that dated from 1538 – four years after the foundation of the city. The church is situated in the city centre, at less than one kilometre distance from all other main sites of the colonial period: the […]

The case for ‘remain’ in the EU referendum – my view as the director of a €1.5 million European funded research project in History

The case for ‘remain’ in the EU referendum – my view as the director of a €1.5 million European funded research project in History

  At the end of last week, thirteen Nobel prize-winning scientists wrote a letter to the right leaning newspaper The Daily Telegraph, urging Britain to vote ‘remain’ in the forthcoming European Union (EU) referendum. The scientists warned of the consequences of a British exit (or ‘Brexit’) from the EU, drawing attention to the fact that […]

The forgotten success of penal transportation reform in late Imperial Russia: the lowering of prisoner mortality in the transfer system (1885-1915)

The forgotten success of penal transportation reform in late Imperial Russia: the lowering of prisoner mortality in the transfer system (1885-1915)

By Mikhail Nakonechny. The late Imperial Russian prison and exile system is almost unequivocally considered to be the traditional embodiment of brutality, institutional inhumanity and injustice. The popular image of endless convict suffering in vastness of Siberia, supported in the English speaking world by the influential George Kennan’s work on Siberian exile[i] and enhanced by […]

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