Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Ella Weed Room
“Captivity and Redemption: Conservative Christians and the Politics of Prison Ministry”
A lecture by Tanya Erzen, Associate Professor, University of Puget Sound; Soros Justice Fellow; and Director, Freedom Education Project Puget Sound
In prisons throughout the United States, punitive incarceration and religious revitalization are occurring simultaneously. Faith-based programs operate under the logic that religious conversion and redemption will transform prisoners into new human beings. Why are Christian prison ministries on the rise amidst an increasingly punitive system of mass incarceration? How do people in prison practice religion in a space of coercion and discipline? What are the implications of the state?s promotion of Christianity over other religious traditions in some prisons? How do faith-based programs enable forms of transformation and community organizing? And, why have conservative Christians, particularly, embraced criminal justice reform?
Co-Sponsored by the Barnard Religion Department and the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life of Columbia University.
Free and open to the public.
Tanya Erzen is an Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Puget Sound, a Soros Justice Media fellow, and the executive director of the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound, a college program for women in prison. She is the author of Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement, which won the Gustave O. Arlt Book Award in the Humanities and the Ruth Benedict Prize, and Fanpire: The Twilight Saga and the Women Who Love It, and is co-editor of Zero Tolerance: Quality of Life and the New Police Brutality in New York City. She has received research support from the Open Society Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Mellon Foundation, American Association of University Women, and the Social Science Research Council. Her writing has appeared in Guernica, The Nation,The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Religion Dispatches, and The Revealer Bookforum, and academic journals such as American Quarterly and PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association. She is currently finishing a book entitled God in Captivity: Becoming a Faith-Based Prison Nation about religious programs in American prisons and the conservative movement for criminal justice reform.