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dissertation project

My dissertation project, titled Specters of Racial Capitalism: Carceral Witnessing and Reparative Reading in Contemporary American Prison Life Writing, discusses the genre of prison life writing, in the American tradition of stories of captivity and forced labor, and points to its efficacy in explaining the current material conditions ushered by racial capitalism's carceral logics, globally and in U.S. contexts. In my chapters I cite prison life writing as an inroad to explore the extinction epoch known as the Anthropocene, expressions of history called hauntology, and imaginations of transformative justice rather than punitive futures. In reading prison life writing I have acclimated to the literary conventions and what they reveal about the history of the prison, including the idea of confession and penance and how these literary patterns reinforce a destructive American individualist paradigm. Ultimately, my research shows how prison life writing can de-reify carceral culture when read in a reparative style which shows reverence for the environment, history, and transformative justice.

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