Nicole Breault

Fellow’s Talk: Melanie Newport on Prisoner Lives

2020–21 UCHI Fellow's Talk. Forgotten Men: Media and Prisoner Lives in Cook County Jails, 1954–1958. Assistant Professor of History Melanie Newport, with a response by Nicole Breault. Live. Online. Registration required. March 3, 2021, 4:00pm.

Forgotten Men: Media and Prisoner Lives in Cook County Jail, 1954–1958

Melanie Newport (Assistant Professor of History, UConn)

with a response by Nicole Breault

Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

Early in the COVID crisis, Cook County Jail in Chicago gained renown as one of the nation’s top sites of infection. Amid protests over the jail’s failure to protect the health and safety of prisoners, an incarcerated person put a note in the jail window: HELP. WE MATTER 2. A picture of the note became a symbol of prisoner humanity that was shared around the world.

This presentation places this act of resistance within a deeper history of prisoner life and struggle in one of the nation’s largest jails. Looking to a unique moment in the 1950s, this paper considers how prisoners—self-identified as “forgotten men”— used media, including a jail newspaper and a tv show, to assert their humanity and their visions for jail reform. As part of a larger study that considers how jail reform shaped the rise of mass incarceration, these sources show that incarcerated people participated in lively debates over the meanings and outcomes of jailing. Jailed people used media to assert their worthiness of participation in the postwar liberal project as they struggled to mitigate the harms of the nascent carceral state.

Melanie D. Newport is an assistant professor of history at UConn’s Hartford campus and affiliated faculty in American Studies and Urban and Community Studies. She holds a BA from Pacific Lutheran University, an MA from the University of Utah, and PhD from Temple University. Her current book project, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press’ Politics and Culture in Modern America series, explores the political history of jail reform in Chicago from the 1830s to the present. Prior to joining the UConn Faculty in 2016, she taught at Temple University, Community College of Philadelphia, and Garden State Youth Correctional Facility. Newport’s work has been supported by the Center for the Humanities at Temple, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and the University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago libraries.

Nicole Breault is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History. Her research interests are in early American legal and social history with an emphasis on urban governance, institutions, gender, and space. She earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research has been awarded fellowships at the Massachusetts Historical Society, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Boston Athenæum, and the Huntington Library, as well as a Littleton-Griswold Grant by the American Historical Association. Currently, Nicole is the Draper Dissertation Fellow at the UConn Humanities Institute working on her dissertation “The Night Watch of Boston: Law and Governance in Eighteenth-Century British America.”

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Fellow’s Talk: Nicole Breault on Boston Policing, 1768–1775

Poster for Nicole Breault's Talk. Image of hand written archival documents, constables reports from 1768. Beside the image the text reads "Times is Not Now as they Have Been": Contests over the Power to Police in Boston, 1768-1775. Draper Dissertation Fellow Nicole Breault with a response by Sarah Willen. Live. Online. Registration Required. October 14, 2020, 4:00 pm.

“Times is Not Now as They Have Been”: Contests over the Power to Police in Boston, 1768–1775

Nicole Breault (Ph.D. Candidate, History)

with a response by Sarah Winter (Professor of English)

Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 4:00pm (Online—Register here)

 

In the fall and winter of 1768, the arrival of four regiments in Boston sparked questions over jurisdiction in the town. Exchanges between watchmen and officers and soldiers threatened the authority of local institutions and quickly escalated to violence. This talk considers a series of violent and verbal altercations between Boston’s town watch and members of the King’s forces, framing the encounters as a dialogue over the power to police. Centered on the reports, complaints, and depositions written by the town watch, it asks how night constables and watchmen used these incidents to negotiate jurisdictional gray areas in the first months of occupation and to participate in a larger contest of empire.

Nicole Breault is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of History. Her research interests are in early American legal and social history with an emphasis on urban governance, institutions, gender, and space. She earned a B.A. from the University of Vermont and an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research has been awarded fellowships at the Massachusetts Historical Society, New England Regional Fellowship Consortium, the Boston Athenæum, and the Huntington Library, as well as a Littleton-Griswold Grant by the American Historical Association. Currently, Nicole is the Draper Dissertation Fellow at the UConn Humanities Institute working on her dissertation “The Night Watch of Boston: Law and Governance in Eighteenth-Century British America.”

Sarah Winter is Professor of English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs and Director of the Research Program on Humanitarianism at the UConn Human Rights Institute. An interdisciplinary scholar of British literature of the long nineteenth century and the history of the modern disciplines, she has published most recently a co-edited collection, From Political Economy to Economics through Nineteenth-Century Literature: Reclaiming the Social (2019). Her previous books are The Pleasures of Memory: Learning to Read with Charles Dickens (2010) and  Freud and the Institution of Psychoanalytic Knowledge (1999). Her articles have appeared in journals such as Victorian Studies,  NOVEL, and  Representations, and she has contributed chapters to a wide range of edited collections on law and literature, the history of legal and political thought, and human rights and literature.

Registration is required for the event.

If you require accommodation to attend this event, please contact us at uchi@uconn.edu or by phone (860) 486-9057.

Announcing the 2020–21 Graduate Dissertation Fellows

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) is proud to announce its incoming class of Graduate Dissertation Fellows. The Class of 2020–21 will consist of two PhD candidates from the history department (including the Draper Dissertation Fellow), and two PhD candidates from the English Department. More information about each fellow, including their biographical information, will be provided at a later date:

Nicole Breault

 

History Department - Draper Dissertation Fellow

Project Title: The Night Watch of Boston: Law and Governance in Eighteenth-Century British America

Kerry Carnahan

 

English Department

Project Title: Song of Songs: a New Translation with Commentary

Ashley Gangi

 

English Department

Project Title: May I Present Myself? Masks, Masquerades, and the Drama of Identity in Nineteenth Century American Literature

Shaine Scarminach

 

History Department

Project Title: Lost at Sea: The United States and the Struggle to Govern the World’s Oceans