Writing Prison: The Literary, the Literal and the Liberational / Special Conference Stream within The Experiencing Prison Project

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - 4:00am to Friday, May 8, 2015 - 10:30am

Writing Prison: The Literary, the Literal and the Liberational
Special Conference Stream within The Experiencing Prison Project

Wednesday 6th May – Friday 8th May 2015
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Call for Presentations:
Prison narratives have been at the heart of defining positive and negative transitional moments throughout history: Nelson Mandela, Alexandr Solzenitzen, Oscar Wilde and even Adolf Hitler. The writing down and circulation of these writings from prison forms the basis not only of a personal journey but also a cultural one describing those who constitute society as well as those who are lawfully exiled from it. Equally prison writings, in whatever form they take, capture something of the struggle of the individual against the world, their community, their unique set of circumstances. In this way they reveal something of the spiritual nature of existence and the essence of what it is to be human. This special stream within the Experiencing Prison Project will explore the importance of prison writing to a developing sense of self throughout history as well as what it says about the society, culture and times within which it took/takes place.

Imprisonment has become the dominant form of punishment in most societies across the world. Incarceration has a long and varied history in societies all over the world. It may occur prior to trial, or as a result of sentencing by court – whether properly constituted and recognized or the kangaroo rulings of authoritarian states and dictators. Imprisonment without trial or due process occurs in various forms in most societies across the world, mostly sanctioned by the state itself, sometimes used as a political strategy by military, ideological, political or religious groups within a state, or by groups desirous of becoming a state. And yet prisons may also function as positive sites of personal transformation, offering therapeutic and correctional opportunities denied in any other conditions. Somewhat more worryingly, due to popular representations such as Orange is the New Black, penitentiaries often feature as rather comic sites, (perhaps mistakenly) allowing one to think of the experience as less traumatic than it usually is. This project is devoted to writing, representing and experiencing prison and imprisonment in the past, present and perhaps, in a new form, in the future.

– Metaphor/symbolic/allegorical prisons and imprisonment
– Functions of prison and imprisonment: the Literal and the Liberational
– Gender and prison; gendering imprisonment; gendering prison narratives
– Writing Prison/Imprisonment: prison accounts/memoirs/biographies across centuries (from Boethius, through Wilde and Archer, to Piper Kerman, etc)
– Literary and factual histories and ”mythologies” of the most well-known prisons: The Tower, The Maze, Guantanamo, Alcatraz, etc
– Prison and mass/pop culture: ”cinematic” imprisonment, Shawshank, Litchfield, Alcatraz, Fox River State Penitentiary, etc.
– Prison humour and comic renditions of prison experience (Orange is the New Black, Budapest Hotel, etc)
– Celebrities and prison; correctional institutions and stardom
– Prison and the creative arts
–  Experiencing prison and its functions in the future

Presentations will also be considered on any related theme.

The Steering Group welcomes the submission of proposals for short workshops, practitioner-based activities, performances, and pre-formed panels. We particularly welcome short film screenings, photographic essays, installations, interactive talks and alternative presentation styles that encourage engagement.

What to send:
300 word proposals should be submitted by Friday 13th March 2015. All submissions are at least double blind peer reviewed. Proposals should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Prison 6 WRITE Proposal Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, you look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:
Diana Medlicott: diana@inter-disciplinary.net
Rob Fisher: ep6@inter-disciplinary.net

The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook.  Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.


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