Race, Gender, And Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror

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Eurospan Group, Feb 25, 2007 - History - 232 pages
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The disproportionate representation of black Americans in the U.S. criminal justice system is well documented. Far less well-documented are the entrenched systems and beliefs that shape punishment and other official forms of social control today.

In Race, Gender, and Punishment, Mary Bosworth and Jeanne Flavin bring together twelve original essays by prominent scholars to examine not only the discrimination that is evident, but also the structural and cultural forces that have influenced and continue to perpetuate the current situation. Contributors point to four major factors that have impacted public sentiment and criminal justice policy: colonialism, slavery, immigration, and globalization. In doing so they reveal how practices of punishment not only need particular ideas about race to exist, but they also legitimate them.

The essays unearth troubling evidence that testifies to the nation's brutally racist past, and to white Americans' continued fear of and suspicion about racial and ethnic minorities. The legacy of slavery on punishment is considered, but also subjects that have received far less attention such as how colonizers' notions of cultural superiority shaped penal practices, the criminalization of reproductive rights, the link between citizenship and punishment, and the global export of crime control strategies.

Uncomfortable but necessary reading, this book provides an original critique of why and how the criminal justice system has emerged as such a racist institution.

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About the author (2007)

Mary Bosworth is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University. Her research interests include prisons, race, and gender. She is the author of "Engendering Resistance: Agency and Power in Women's Prisons" (1999).

 

Jeanne Flavin is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Fordham University and co-editor of "Race, Gender, and Punishment: From Colonialism to the War on Terror". She is also a member of the board of directors for National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), a non-profit organization which protects the civil rights of women. Proceeds from this book will be shared with NAPW.

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