HC444H/431H - Inside-Out Prison Exchange: Autobiography as Political Agency (Spring/2024)

Professor: Anita Chari

4.00 credits

CRN 32070: Mondays @ CHA/OSCI

This course is open only to CHC students. An an application and instructor approval are required to register for this course. If you are not familiar with the Inside-Out Program, please check out the information on the Honors College website here:  http://honors.uoregon.edu/story/inside-out-prison-exchange-program and watch the Inside-Out documentary here: https://uoprisoned.org/inside-out. Students may only take one Inside-Out class in a given term. However, given the limited spaces available, students are encouraged to apply to multiple sections if their schedule allows.

An Information Session will be held on Wednesday, February 14th from 4:00-5:00 pm, in the CHC’s Shephard Library, located on the third floor of Chapman Hall.

The application is due by 5:00 p.m., Sunday, February 18th 2024. See the application document for details on how to submit your application.

This class will be held on Monday evenings at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem; transportation will be provided.  We will leave campus between 3:30 to 4:00 p.m. and return by 10:30 p.m., with class being held from 6:00-8:30 p.m.  

This class explores the autobiography as a form of both personal and political expression.  We begin by complicating, questioning and demystifying the divide between the personal and political by linking personal stories and histories with narratives of broader social structures, such as capitalism, patriarchy, slavery, and colonialism. We will read autobiographies from diverse sources, including letters, quasi-fictionalized autobiographies, poetry, and autobiographies of political activists.  We will also engage with theories of social structure and agency in order to theorize the interface between personal experience and political agency. A number of the books that we will read are focused on experiences of incarceration and the criminal justice system from different angles. Finally, practices of embodied storytelling and reflection will be an important part of our exploration.

Please note that the Inside-Out format of this class is dependent on the prisons allowing the course to take place.