Prisons are contingent political economic projects, which, following Ruth Gilmore’s work, stitch together the restructuring of the state, land, labor, and capital. This chapter situates the construction of federal prisons in the state of Louisiana between 1982 and 2002 within the context of three fundamental shifts, the restructuring of 1) the regional plantation bloc, after Clyde Woods; 2) the neoliberal state; and 3) the late- and post-Cold War military. In an era of prison overcrowding and budget shortfalls, expansion was not assured, nor was privatization a necessary outcome. I draw upon political economic theories of the carceral state to argue that a multi-scalar, materialist analysis is necessary to explain the paradoxes and geographies of prison expansion. Examining these intergovernmental relationships and how they have evolved through crisis exposes systemic vulnerabilities of the carceral state, and thereby avenues for decarceration.
Patricia Ehrkamp, Jenna M. Loyd and Anna Secor
Trauma has become a ubiquitous framework for attempts to conceptualize the after-effects of violent and life-disruptive experiences. As such, trauma is an important discursive practice through which to consider how militarized violence persistently escapes from ideologically circumscribed war zones and their discrete temporalities. This chapter demonstrates the tension between trauma practices that conceptualize trauma as within individual body-minds and trauma practices that understand experiences of trauma as relational, or emergent from particular social environments and legal procedures that individuals encounter. The authors focus on trauma practices within refugee resettlement processes specifically for Iraqi refugees since the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. They focus on the narratives and creative practices of Iraqis who have been exiled, and in particular one woman’s memoir. Through Alia Al-Ali’s narrative the authors demonstrate how a relational understanding of trauma unfolds an intimate, affective geopolitics that cannot be extracted from historical geographies of US imperialism, war, and displacement.