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Critical Perspectives on Teaching in Prison

Anne Dalke's picture

Just out from Routledge this month
: a collection
of essays, by teachers and students, about their
experiences of education in prison.


One piece explores higher ed in prison as a form of reparations; another highlights the work of "invisible teachers"--not "authorized" to teach by any institution, but ably mentoring and guiding others inside the walls. The book is filled with challenges from students: about the possibilities of embodied, compassionate, healing, relational, resistant, decolonial, transferable, and/or liberatory forms of education. The book is filled, too, with questions from teachers: about the ethics of working inside: is doing so strenghtening the prison industrial complex? Demonizing correctional officers also caught w/in the system? Is transformative pedagogy actionable in carceral settings? My own essay, written with the assistance of Jody Cohen, is about what happens to time when one is doing it inside, either a short class time or a long sentence. Abstracts to each of the chapters are available on-line.

This book is aimed explicitly @ those who are teaching--or aiming to teach--inside prisons, but the sort of critical interrogation of pedagogy it offers will be of help to anyone who is working in-or-towards context-specific, student-centered, democratic forms of teaching practice, whether it be in the punishment industry, the privilege industry, or in constant movement between the two.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ---Anne Dalke

Phil Adams and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program,
"Still Life"
: a reflection on stolen time and frozen potential.