The Carter G. Woodson Institute, U.Va.

The Carter G. Woodson Institute

for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia

Currents in Conversation: "The Prison Strike and the Carceral State"

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 5:30 PM
Minor 125

The "Currents in Conversation" fora explore issues and topics dominating the headlines, airwaves, and social media platforms with implications for the study of race. This Fall, we pick up on a topic that has received precious little air-time on major news organizations: the Nationwide Prison Strike, which took place across 13 states from August 21st - September 9th, 2018. 

Panelists Include:

Dennis Childs is Associate Professor of African American Literature at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Slaves of the State: Black Incarceration from the Chain Gang to the Penitentiary—a work that considers the legal, political, and cultural connections between chattel slavery and modern imprisonment in the U.S. As a scholar-activist, he has worked with various organizations including All of Us or None, the Chicano-Mexicano Prison Project, Students Against Mass Incarceration, and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. He was a member of the first ever prisoner solidarity delegation from the US to Palestine in 2016, which included former US-held political prisoners, Black Panther Party members, labor organizers, and scholar-activists. He has also served as Community Advisory Board Member for Critical Resistance, a national organization working to abolish the prison industrial complex.  


A.D. Carson is a performance artist and educator from Decatur, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design at Clemson University doing work that focuses on race, literature, history, and rhetorical performances. A 2016 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Excellence in Service at Clemson, Carson worked with students, staff, faculty, and community members to raise awareness of historic, entrenched racism at the university through his See the Stripes campaign, which takes its name from his 2014 poem. His dissertation, “Owning My Masters: The Rhetorics of Rhymes & Revolutions,” is a digital archive that features a 34 track rap album and was recognized by the Graduate Student Government as the 2017 Outstanding Dissertation. 


Shannon Ellis is a Powell Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. Ellis's Fellowship project is designed to provide civil advocacy on behalf of vulnerable court-involved or incarcerated individuals. Since Ellis began working for the Legal Aid Justice Center in January 2017 and as a fellow starting last November, she has met with more than 100 women at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women in Troy, Virginia, to help ensure they are healthy and safe, and that their rights are being met. Before joining LAJC, Shannon practiced family law in Charlottesville and provided pro bono representation for LAJC’s Special Immigrant Juvenile project.  Shannon earned her bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Virginia. 


Jordy Yager is a freelance journalist focused on issues of poverty and inequity in America. From the base of his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, Jordy's work has appeared in The New Yorker, NPR, Columbia Journalism ReviewThe Los Angeles Times, and many others. He also serves as a research fellow at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, where he is mapping the city's current and historical racial disparities.