The University Seminars at Columbia University is an ongoing community of partnerships, each of which is constituted by scholars from multiple academic departments and disciplines, often including experts from outside academia, and is devoted to the study of an institution, practice, or issue of theoretical and/or practical importance.
This workshop prepares Columbia University and graduate students to teach in prison contexts; to help alumnae/i of prison programs take advantage of on-campus opportunities; and to contribute to an on-campus Special Concentration in Social Justice.
The work has theoretical and practical components. Participants read texts together that consider the relationship of prison education to prison abolition activism; that take up the special pedagogical circumstances that obtain in most prison contexts; and that analyze the intertwined economic structures, racial systems, and carceral formations that challenge social justice initiatives and prove their necessity. The workshop invites participants who already teach in local prisons; those with an interest in doing so; alums of those programs; and faculty and grad students with an interest in developing a roster of campus courses that could contribute to a special undergraduate concentration in social justice in which a commitment to justice finds expression in coursework linked to solving real-world problems.