March 18, 2004
Vol. 23 No. 12

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    Conference participants will take theoretical look at incarceration, detention

    By William Harms
    News Office

    Activist and scholar Angela Davis will deliver the keynote address at a two-day forum, titled “Incarceration and Detention: Race and Human Rights, ” which will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, April 2, in the Assembly Hall of International House, 1414 E. 59th St.

    The forum will continue on Saturday, April 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at International House.

    The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, the Human Rights Program, and the Office of the Provost are organizing the event in collaboration with the International House Global Voices Program, the Faith Community of St. Sabina, the Crossroads Fund and the Illinois Humanities Council.

    “Over the past decade, African-American and immigrant communities have felt the impact of the increased use of detention as a form of punishment and social control in the United States,” said Susan Gzesh, Director of the Human Rights Program.

    “This conference will bring together academics, activists, community leaders and practitioners to discuss how concepts of international human rights and an understanding of structural racism can enrich our perspectives of common problems and serve as the basis for new strategies and alliances,” said Cathy Cohen, Professor in Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture.

    On Friday, April 2, Davis will discuss incarceration and detention and how attention to both race and human rights could play a part in response to these crises. Davis, who is the author of Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003), Blues Legacies and Black Feminism (1999), Women, Race and Class (1983), and the forthcoming volume, Prisons and Democracy, will sign books at a reception following her address.

    On Saturday, April 3, the morning session will begin with an address from Illinois congressman Danny Davis. This will be followed by a panel discussion on the domestic and international dimensions of detention and on incarceration of immigrants, juveniles and criminal defendants. These issues will be further discussed in an afternoon panel through the experiences and insights of practitioners and political organizers, including University faculty member Tracey Meares, Professor in the Law School and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice.

    The Honorable R. Eugene Pincham, former judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, will give the keynote address during the Saturday lunch session.

    More information is available at http://humanrights.uchicago.edu/conference/.