'Tangled Webs' Conference on race, poverty and prisons set for Jan. 17-18

The keynote speaker for the conference is Michelle Alexander, civil right activist, law professor and best-selling author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness.”

Western Today staff

The Center for Law, Diversity and Justice at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies will host a regional conference, “Tangled Webs: Race, Immigration, Poverty, and Prisons; Mass Incarceration and Alternative Futures” on Jan. 17 and 18 on Western’s campus.

“Tangled Webs” will bring together students, teachers, researchers, activists, lawyers, and other concerned community members to examine the historical origins and social impacts of mass incarceration in this country, and to start a dialogue about existing and possible alternatives to this system.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Michelle Alexander, civil right activist, law professor and best-selling author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color-Blindness.” Alexander will deliver the keynote at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 in the PAC. The keynote address is free and open to the public, but no-cost tickets must be reserved through the WWU Performing Arts Center Box Office and some are available at Village Books.

Conference organizers are also accepting and welcoming proposals for participation through Nov. 25, including workshops, roundtables, panels, creative projects, and individual papers and presentations.

Possible topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Racial inequality and mass incarceration
  • Colonialism and incarceration
  • Immigration enforcement and detention in the Pacific Northwest and beyond
  • Intersections of gender, race, sexuality and incarceration
  • Educational inequality and mass incarceration
  • The political economy of imprisonment
  • Alternatives to incarceration
  • Regional prison and jail expansion projects
  • Prisoners’ rights and prison abolition activism

Any submissions and questions should be sent to Julie Helling, director of Western’s Center for Law, Diversity and Justice, at Julie.Helling@wwu.edu or (360) 650-4907. Proposals must include name, e-mail, phone, address and affiliations of all participants; title of conference presentation; description of presentation format (including audio/visual requirements), and description of topic.

For more information on the “Tangled Webs” conference, contact Helling at (360) 650-4907 or view the conference website at www.wwu.edu/tangledwebs.