The Captive Maternal and Carceral Capitalism
Joy James in conversation with Jackie Wang
Moderated by Hannah Zeavin
Date: April 22, 2023
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
We live in a moment where the rights of incarcerated parents are once more increasingly contested. This insidious logic—that to produce stability, children must be torn from their parents, especially their mothers—is not new. As many scholars have shown, actuarial management of the family and of the mother and child bond was central to the practices of the plantation, including the near ubiquitous practice of family separation in the Antebellum context, as well as carceral practices in the Jim Crow Era and beyond. Joy James terms these women “Captive Maternals”—drawing a genealogy across the last 300 years to argue that the United States’ “longest war is with its domestic target: enslaved or captive black women, a war that dates back to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s 1658 attempts to (re)enslave Elizabeth Key, one of the first Captive Maternals to have her battles enter public record.” Addressing our contemporary, and the drive for the prison-for-profit model, or what Jackie Wang calls “carceral capitalism” this panel offers a conversation about the mother incarcerated.