Department of Sociology

Avery Gordon - "The Remains of a Prison: Fugitive Knowledge on the Wings of Red Arrows"

Fri, December 7, 2012 | BUR 214

3:30 PM

How to tell the story of a very old place of confinement and punishment? What happens if all the pictures are wrong or missing and the people long gone? What traces and messages might they have left for us to find? Is it possible now, after such terrible treatment, to offer those confined in the prison a more hospitable welcome? This is the hope.

Professor Avery Gordon will discuss her archival research of historical traces left by those who were imprisoned in Breitenau, a correctional facility in Guxhagen, Germany, where poor or disobedient people were sent to be reformed into "good" workers and obedient citizens.  Her research aims to uncover alternative knowledge that is not about correction.

Avery Gordon is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Research Architecture, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2012, she was the Anna Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin where she worked on a collaborative project with Ines Schaber exhibited at dOCUMENTA (13). She is the author of Notes for the Breitenau Room of The Workhouse—A Project by Ines Schaber and Avery Gordon; Keeping Good Time: Reflections on Knowledge, Power and People and Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, among other books and articles. Her work focuses on radical thought in action and over the last few years, she has been writing about captivity, war and other forms of dispossession and how to eliminate them.

This event is organized by the Department of Sociology's Race and Ethnicity Group and co-sponsored by the Department of English.


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  • Department of Sociology

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