Lunch & Learn: Insurgent Knowledges

April 18, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Light refreshments will be available at 11:45 a.m.

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Meet the Authors/Presenters:

Damien M. Sojoyner is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.  He researches the relationship among the public education system, prisons and the construction of Black masculinity in Southern California. In addition to his work appearing in many popular media forms, he has written articles in scholarly journals such as Transforming Anthropology, Race, Education, and Ethnicity, and the Berkeley Review of Education. His book, entitled First Strike: Prison and Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles,was released in 2016 by the University of Minnesota Press. 

Sabina E. Vaught is Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma. She researches state institutional contexts and relationships of discipline, schooling, and knowledge exchange. Her scholarship has appeared in scholarly journals such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, andRace, Ethnicity, and Education. Her book, entitled Compulsory: Education and the dispossession of youth in a prison school, was released in 2017 by the University of Minnesota Press.

About the Books:

First Strike: Educational Enclosures in Black Los Angeles by Damien M. Sojoyner:

Taking an insider’s perspective, First Strike examines the root causes of California’s ever-expansive prison system and disastrous educational policy. Recentering analysis of Black masculinity beyond public rhetoric, it critiques the trope of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” exploring the realm of public school as a form of “enclosure” that has influenced the schooling (and denial of schooling) and imprisonment of Black people in California. 

Damien M. Sojoyner fills a significant gap in literature by problematizing the school-to-prison pipeline, offering a more nuanced analytical frame than the one represented in most contemporary popular discourse. First Strike helps us understand what is happening to young people in under-resourced schools and the ways that their experience reflects an eroding commitment to education in favor of punishment.

Beth E. Richie, University of Illinois at Chicago


Compulsory: Education and the Dispossession of Youth in a Prison School by Sabina E. Vaught: 

An institutional ethnography of race and gender power in one juvenile prison school system, Compulsory has major implications for public education. Through an analysis of the experiences of prisoners, teachers, state officials, mothers, and more, it provides insight into the broad compulsory systems of schooling, asking readers to reconsider understandings of the role, purpose, and value of state schooling today.

Fiercely rendered, Compulsory is the book for our moment. This book requires readers to remap the circuits that bind schools to prisons and the state and centers how communities—including young men who are locked up and their loved ones—negotiate, and often shatteringly resist, these powerlines. Situating the ‘prison classroom’ within a carceral landscape punctuated by deeply racialized and heteropatriachal practices of removal and premature death, Sabina E. Vaught’s necessary and poetic writing moves activist scholarship into needed and new terrains and pushes readers to mourn, to analyze, and to build struggles for radical freedom that leave no one behind.

Erica R. Meiners, Northeastern Illinois University



Location and Address

CUE Commons

4303 Wesley Posvar Hall

230 S. Bouquet Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15260