Monday, January 3, 2011

Thompson on Why Mass Incarceration Matters

One more article worth noting from the December 2010 issue of the Journal of American History: Heather Ann Thompson (Temple University), "Why Mass Incarceration Matters: Rethinking Crisis, Decline, and Transformation in Postwar American History" (pp. 703–58).

Here's the abstract:
By the close of the twentieth century the United States had incarcerated more people than any other country in the world, and the nation’s social, economic, and political institutions had become inexorably intertwined with the practice of punishment. Historians, however, have not yet considered what impact the rise of a massive carceral state might have had on the evolution of the later postwar period. Heather Ann Thompson argues that such an examination of the later twentieth century is crucial if scholars are to understand fully the dramatic transformations that occurred after the civil rights sixties, including the origins of urban crisis, the decline of the American labor movement, and the rise of the Right.
Subscribers can read the rest here.

The article also made it into the JAH's podcast series. You can listen to Thompson's conversation with Khalil G. Muhammad, associate editor of the JAH, here.

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