Prison and the American Imagination

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Prison and the American Imagination
How did a nation so famously associated with freedom become internationally identified with imprisonment? After the scandals of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and in the midst of a dramatically escalating prison population, the question is particularly urgent. In this timely, provocative study, Caleb Smith argues that the dehumanization inherent in captivity has always been at the heart of American civil society. Winner of the 2009 Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research, sponsored by the Yale College Dean's Office. "In Smith's haunting and incisive work-he writes beautifully-he wonders how a nation that has been obsessed by the idea of freedom from its outset could have become so identified with incarceration."-Jay Parini, Chronicle of Higher Education
Publication Date: 
April 1, 2011