Public Programs And Events

States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories

States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories

Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall
General Public 

The "States of Incarceration" project brings together over 500 people in 20 US cities, who together created a traveling exhibition on the past, present, and future of mass incarceration in their communities. Stories range from Angola’s slave plantation-turned-prison in Louisiana, to the legacies of the Dakota Wars for Native American incarceration in Minnesota, to immigration detention at Ellis Island and Elizabeth, New Jersey. 

For its staging in New York City, the exhibition includes a focus on Rikers Island, developed by New School students in collaboration with The Fortune Society.

The exhibition is on view from April 3-21, 2016 at The New School's Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, before traveling to partner sites across the country.

To complement the exhibition and launch event, this conference on April 15 and 16 includes active participation through interactive installations, live polling, and small group discussions.

Presentations include:

Florida: "Crimmigration at Krome"

Minnesota: "Carceral Colonialism: Imprisonment in Indian Country"

Indiana: "Intersections of Incarceration and Mental Illness"

California: "In Detention: The War on Youth"

With commentary from:

  • Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the world’s leading research facilities dedicated to the history of the African diaspora, and author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America.

  • Dr. Marie Gottschalk, University of Pennsylvania professor of political science and author of Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics.

  • Secretary John E. Wetzel, Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections, has nearly 25 years of experience, as a correctional officer, counselor, treatment supervisor, and warden.

  • Dr. Heather Thompson, a native Detroiter and historian at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who recently completed Blood in the Water: the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 for Pantheon books (out September 2016).

  • Rev. Vivian Nixon, Executive Director of the College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an innovative organization that assists formerly incarcerated women in pursuit of higher education, leadership skills, and career paths that lead to economic security.


Friday, April 15, 2016, 5:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Bob and Sheila Hoerle Lecture Hall, University Center, UL105, 63 Fifth Avenue

Graham MacIndoe, an adjunct professor of photography at Parsons, and his partner Susan Stellin will talk about their forthcoming dual memoir, Chancers, which addresses Graham's struggle with heroin addiction, his four-month sentence at Rikers Island and the five months he spent in immigration detention while he was fighting a deportation order. They'll also discuss and show images from their project American Exile, a series of photographs and interviews with families divided by deportation, which was exhibited at Photoville in New York City in 2015.

Click here to register for the conference. 

"States of Incarceration" is presented by the Humanities Action Lab. HAL is a collaboration of 20 universities, led by The New School, working with issue-based organizations and public spaces to foster new public dialogue on contested social issues, through public humanities projects that explore the diverse local histories and current realities of shared global concerns.  

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Action Lab, JustLeadershipUSA, the Center for New York City Affairs, Create Forward, and Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Humanities, Whiting Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and TenLegs.

Submit your application


To apply to any of our Bachelor's programs (Except the Bachelor's Program for Adult Transfer Students) complete and submit the Common App online.

Graduates and Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctural, Professional Studies Diploma, Graduates Certificate, or Associate's programs, or to apply to the Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students, complete and submit the New School Online Application.