Between Gender, Space and Racialization

Prisons and Urban Inequalities

How do criminal justice interventions impact urban inequalities? Conversely, what would the criminal justice system look like if we were to center the resolution of inequalities instead of crime? These are questions that lead the Amsterdam-based research project The Principle of Inequality: Between City District and Criminal Justice System in Amsterdam. As this project draws to an end, the research team has organized an international colloquium, bringing together critical research on prisons and inequalities from around the world. Dr. Rashad Shabazz will share his work on the ways in which carceral power interacts with urban planning, and the policing and confinement of Blackness.

Dr. Rashad Shabazz is coming to Amsterdam to provide the keynote to the colloquium. His research explores how race, gender, and cultural production are informed by geography. His book Spatializing Blackness: Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago examines how carceral power within the geographies of Black Chicagoans shaped urban planning, housing policy, policing and incarceration practices, gang formation, health, and expressions of masculinity.

Following dr. Shabazz’s keynote, there will be a panel discussion linking speakers from the colloquium, including dr. Andrea Leverentz (North Carolina State University, author of Intersecting Lives: How Place Shapes Reentry) with the Amsterdam-based research project. Moderated by dr. Julienne Weegels (CEDLA-University of Amsterdam), lead researcher on the Principle of Inequality project.

Interested in attending the full colloquium? You can register for online audience here.

The research project The Principle of Inequality: Between City District and Criminal Justice System in Amsterdam was realized with support from the Amsterdam Kenniscentrum Ongelijkheid and UvA Centre for Urban Studies, in collaboration with Utrecht University and Restorative Justice Netherlands.

About the speakers

Rashad Shabazz is associate professor of African & African American Studies at Arizona State University. His academic expertise brings together human geography, cultural studies, gender studies and critical race studies. His research explores how race, gender, and cultural production are informed by geography. His book, Spatializing Blackness: Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago (2015) examines how carceral power within the geographies of Black Chicagoans shaped urban planning, housing policy, policing practices, gang formation, high incarceration rates, masculinity and health.

Andrea Leverentz is professor of Sociology and head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on incarceration and reentry, with special attention to people’s lived experiences and negotiations of gender, race, place and desistance. She is the author of The Ex-Prisoner’s Dilemma: How Women Negotiate Competing Narratives of Reentry and Desistance (2014) and Intersecting Lives: How Place Shapes Reentry (2022). She is also co-editor of Beyond Recidivism: New Approaches to Research on Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration (2020).

Femke Kaulingfreks is a political philosopher, anthropologist and pedagogue who has conducted extensive interdisciplinary research around the challenges young people face growing up in large and diverse urban contexts, particularly in the Netherlands and France. She has just been appointed the Wibaut chair (Wibautleerstoel) at the University of Amsterdam, a special chair created by the municipality of Amsterdam for the study of large urban questions. Femke is specialized in neighborhood-based ethnographic research centering the lifeworlds of young adults, and has focused on youth agency, criminalization, polarization and radicalization in her work. She is the author of Uncivil Engagement and Unruly Politics and Straatpolitiek.

Julienne Weegels (moderator) is assistant professor of Latin American Studies and coordinator of the Global Justice minor at the University of Amsterdam, CEDLA. Her research focuses on the contestation and expansion of carceral techniques in Central America and the Netherlands, particularly beyond the prison proper – into people’s embodied experiences, daily lives and the urban fabric, as well as across policy domains (such as migration detention and protest repression). She is co-organizer of the Global Prisons Research Network and co-editor of the forthcoming book Carceral Worlds: Legacies, Textures and Futures of Confinement (Bloomsbury Academic).

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