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“Institutional Nightmare”: The Visual Culture of Mass Incarceration

Lecture | April 4 | 12-2 p.m. | 602 Barrows Hall


Nicole R. Fleetwood, Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies, Rutgers University

Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Center for Race and Gender, Department of African American Studies


Part of the Feminist Studies and Decolonial Epistemologies Lecture Series

Professor Fleetwood's talk title refers to a mixed-media collage painting by formerly incarcerated artist Gilberto Rivera. The painting was made during his time in a federal prison where he created clandestine art as part of a collective that formed among imprisoned artists.

In her lecture, she explores various aesthetic practices of incarcerated artists and activists to produce art about the U.S. prison regime and how prison shapes life-world possibilities of people impacted. The talk examines how furtive planning and artistic tactics of appropriating items owned by the state and claiming state resources and spaces are maneuvered. Through engaging some of the shared commitments and tensions between decolonial studies, carceral studies, and black feminist studies, Fleetwood considers how the practices of art and knowledge production in prisons offer vital tools to cultivating political and aesthetic visions and collectivities.

Short bio:
Nicole R. Fleetwood is an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is the author of two books: "Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness", which was the recipient of the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize of the American Studies Association, and "On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination" (Rutgers University Press, 2015). She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in the Program in Modern Thought and Literature and her B.Phil. from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University (Ohio).

Funding provided by: The Chau Hoi Shuen Foundation Fund for Gender & Women's Studies


gilliane@berkeley.edu