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POSTPONED: The Political Theory Workshop Presents Anna Terwiel

THE POLITICAL THEORY WORKSHOP PRESENTS

Beyond the Prison: The Politics of Abolition

Anna Terwiel, Political Science, Trinity College
with commentary by Benjamin Stumpf, Political Science, UConn
February 25, 2022 April 1, 2022 from 12:15–1:30pm, Oak 408 and by Zoom

Many contemporary abolitionists argue that “carceral feminists” have contributed to mass incarceration by supporting criminal justice approaches to end sexual and gender violence. Instead of the criminal justice system, these “abolition feminists” advocate grassroots transformative justice initiatives that work outside of state institutions and the law. Community justice initiatives often showcase powerful assertions of feminist political agency, as Terweil shows through a close examination of Communities Against Rape and Abuse (CARA). However, she argues that abolition feminists’ anti-statism ultimately limits their ability to realize widespread radical change. She challenges this anti-statism by showing, first, that in other contexts, prominent abolitionists seek to seize state capacities and resources. Such efforts are important, Terweil suggests, not only to address the root causes of harm but also to counter right-wing militias and other forms of neoliberal and conservative anti-statism. She concludes by suggesting that some legal-institutional proposals of earlier European abolitionist scholar-activists, who oppose prisons and criminal law but see a role for the state in facilitating restorative justice processes, could productively inform US abolitionism.

Anna Terwiel is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Trinity College. Her research engages political theory, feminist theory, critical carceral studies, and medical humanities. She is currently completing a book project, The Challenge of Prison Abolition, which aims to clarify abolitionism’s goals and strengthen its outcomes by carefully engaging with its internal tensions and debates. Her articles have been published in Political Theory, New Political Science, Theory & Event, and Social Philosophy Today.

Benjamin Stumpf is a doctoral student in political theory at UConn.

With generous support from the UConn Humanities Institute.

Questions? Email jane.gordon@uconn.edu

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The MegaBiblion Society

The MegaBiblion Society, a UCHI-funded working group led by UConn History’s Joseph McAlhany, offers intellectually ambitious undergraduates the opportunity to read and discuss longer works of literature in a relaxed and friendly setting. Every two weeks, students gather for a free lunch and free-flowing conversation about daunting and difficult books, without the pressure of formal requirements—no monitoring of progress, no tangible outcomes, no assessment. Instead, the unstructured and undirected discussions, facilitated by a faculty member but led by no one, students can discover the pleasures of a shared intellectual endeavor outside of the formal framework of a class. In past years, the group has read Tolstoy’s War & Peace, Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment, and Eliot’s Middlemarch. For Fall 2021 they will read Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame de Paris and in Spring 2022, the plan is to read a great American classic, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

Want to learn more? Watch Prof. McAlhany explain what makes MegaBiblion so special. Have questions? Interested in joining? Email Prof. McAlhany at joseph.mcalhany@uconn.edu.