Interstitial EP005

Prison Land
by Brett Story

Why do we design our landscapes to inflict particular kinds of coercive activities on other people? Geographer and filmmaker Brett Story invites us to see, and unsee, the spaces of carceral power.

About the book

Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America

'Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America' book cover

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Brett Story
University of Minnesota Press
March 2019

Brett Story is a geographer and award-winning nonfiction filmmaker based in Toronto whose work focuses on racial capitalism, ideology, and carceral space. She holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. Her 2016 feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. The film was broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in April of 2017. Brett was a 2016 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in film and video. She is the author of the book, Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America, and coeditor of the forthcoming volume, Infrastructures of Citizenship. Her latest feature documentary, The Hottest August, is currently playing festivals and will be opening theatrically this fall.

Keep Thinking

Brett Story recommends

Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

An absolutely necessary book. Gilmore helps us understand the carceral state in California and elsewhere through four surpluses: surplus land, surplus labor, surplus capital, and surplus state capacity. She methodically tracks how and why these surpluses, each of them endemic to racial capitalism, help organize and make logical the proliferation of prisons.

The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City

Neil Smith

In this book, Smith tracks and deconstructs the political economy of gentrification in urban centers. His description of urban transformations in Manhattan in the 1980s and 1990s would prove prescient, noting how, in the service of profitability, then-Mayor Giuliani instructed New York police officers to remove homeless people from public spaces and to criminalize a broad swath of activities deemed inimical to “the quality of life” in city neighborhoods.

Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order

Stuart Hall, Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke, Brian Roberts

A really incredible read about the coproduction of the police state in Britain with Thatcherism, and also a methodical deconstruction of ideological tropes, like the idea of mugging, and their salience to British political transformations.