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In November 2018, Andrew Parker visited Santa Martha Acatitla, Mexico’s maximum security women’s prison as part of a collaboration between the Program in Comparative Literature, Rutgers University, and the Department of Estudios de Género (Gender Studies), UNAM (Mexico’s National Autonomous University). The collaboration was funded by the now-completed Mellon project “Critical Theory and the Global South” (Judith Butler and Penelope Deutscher PIs). The highlight of the visit to Santa Martha Acatitla was the screening for the delegation of a short video based on Sophocles’ Antigone created by the women themselves to protest their imprisonment. In addition to the video, the women have been collaborating with the UNAM Department of Women’s and Gender Studies in several murals documented in Deshacer la carcel (Unmaking the Prison). The event will center around the video as part of a discussion about “arts education” in Mexican and US prisons and on Antigone as a topos that indexes confinement and incarceration cross-culturally.


Andrew Parker is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University, where he teaches on literary theory and philosophy, gender and sexuality studies, and media studies. His research concerns the history and practices of literary theory, especially post-war theory in France and its worldwide dissemination. His book The Theorist’s Mother attends to traces of the maternal in the lives and works of canonical theorists from Marx and Freud to Lacan and Derrida. He was the editor and co-translator of Jacques Ranciere’s The Philosopher and His Poor and has co-edited five other collections of essays. A new book project, “Ventriloquisms,” explores interactions between body and voice across different literary traditions and media forms.


Neni Panourgiá is an anthropologist, the Academic Adviser at the Justice-in-Education Initiative, and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Prison Education Program at Columbia University. She has carried out ethnographic work on the meaning of history and politics, the institutionalization of the commons, and on confinement, torture, and the apparatus of discipline. Her books have received many awards, including the Victor Turner Prize for Ethnographic Writing, the Edmund Keeley Book Prize in Modern Greek Studies, the PROSE award, the Chicago Folklore Prize, and the International Society for Ethnohistory. Her essays can be found in MousseDocumentaAmerican EthnologistangelakiPublic Culture, and elsewhere. Her new book Λέρος: Η γραμματική του εγκλεισμού (Leros. The Grammar of Confinement) was published in July 2020 in Greek (Nefeli Publishers). It is in its second edition and is forthcoming shortly in English.

Register: in person or online via Zoom.

  • African American and African Diaspora Studies
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Department of Classics
  • Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Department of Music
  • Tamer Center for Social Enterprise