Political prisoners

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 […]

The Carceral Archipelago Conference, Leicester 13-16 September 2015

The Carceral Archipelago Conference, Leicester 13-16 September 2015

The Carceral Archipelago conference, held in Leicester from 13 to 16 September 2015, felt just like reading over thirty outstanding monographs in two-and-a-half days, getting to know their authors personally, and having the chance to reflect collectively about their mutual entanglements. It was an intense marathon through the burgeoning field of the global history of […]

Sounds in the silence of political exile

Sounds in the silence of political exile

My recent discovery of Alexander Sochaczewski’s painting, Farewell to Europe!, in the Museum Pawilon-X in Warsaw compelled me to think anew about the experience of political exile and about the innate “wordlessness” that the state intended it to symbolize.  Although Sochaczewski never sold a single painting during his life, today his work is viewed by thousands of visitors who […]

Reflections on the world’s largest prison

Reflections on the world’s largest prison

Several days ago, I broke from reading through the notes of nineteenth-century Russian penal inspectors to admire the 23rd edition of the International Prison News Digest, a publication of the Institute for Criminal Policy Research. As I perused this amazing compendium, I was struck anew by the way in which certain facets of the prison […]

Peniche Fado

Peniche Fado

During a recent trip to Portugal I took the chance to visit the fortress of Peniche, situated on the rocky coast in the homonymous village, approximately one hundred kilometres north of Lisbon. The imposing fortress was built between the sixteenth and the early seventeenth centuries as part of a system of coastal defense against foreign […]

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