SHARE WITH STUDENTS: ART 382 “Prison Aesthetics and Policy” is open for Spring 2018

Prison Aesthetics and Policy

ART 520/ SOC 540/ AH 546/ ART 382

Tuesdays 1:00pm-3:40pm
Instructor: Laurie Jo Reynolds

This class will take aesthetic and political approaches to study the Illinois carceral landscape, particularly the state prison system. Through theoretical readings and engaged research, we will consider the daily life of prisoners, including sensory experiences, movements, schedules, and sense of time passing. We will learn about the prison administration: the paramilitary structure, the bureaucracy, and the prison labor dynamic. We will examine the social and political relations between prison staff, legislators, advocates, family members, and prisoners, and the systems of classification and identification used by each. The course is designed to consider how all these factors construct public understandings of the carceral state, and how that bears on public policy. Field trips, to at least one prison and one re-entry center, will provide important class research.
Students will complete creative and research assignments, and have the opportunity to apply their work to current advocacy efforts. Topics could include: teaching in the jail, prisoner re-entry support, parole for long-term prisoners, banning the box from college applications, responses to sexual offending, and the phenomenon of public conviction registries. The class combines interactive learning, independent research, and guest lectures. No prerequisites required. Designed for students of public policy, sociology, social work, political science, criminology, architecture and art.

ART 520: CRN 40699/40698
SOC 540: CRN 30130
AH 546: CRN 40717
ART 382: CRN 40695/40694

ART 382 students please contact Amanda Grant at for permission.

Please contact the instructor at with any questions.