A project of the Humanities Action Lab, States of Incarceration fosters community dialogues on the topic of crime, punishment, and mass incarceration in the United States from a broad range of perspectives. The NEH-funded program is the result of collaboration between more than 500 people associated with 20 universities and colleges from across the nation. At each higher education institution, faculty offer a course that, in partnership with a local organization, tasks students with investigating the history and present of criminal justice in their communities. The students then used what they learned to design and curate a section of a traveling exhibition, as well as to contribute to an online platform that hosts essays, works of art, and oral histories. Cumulatively, these local stories offer a new way of looking at a national issue.
“When you pose a really good humanities question and allow people to answer it from the vantage point of their own community, you get an incredible opportunity for collective learning about a shared national concern.”
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