Prison Days: Observations and Reservations of a Public Scholar

Yvonne Schwarz Hammond
2019 Anthurium A Caribbean Studies Journal  
Around 2016 the Appalachian Prison Book Club (a non-profit organization that sends free books to incarcerated persons in a six-state region) extended efforts to reach readers inside prisons by supporting a men's book club at a medium security prison for just over two years. As a prison studies scholar and activist, I began working with APBP during the early years of my graduate studies and was offered the chance to co-facilitate the book club. In this essay I explore observations about labor,
more » ... ions about labor, service, and gender made during this two-year period working simultaneously with incarcerated men, prison staff, and a university. Maintaining the book club shaped my experiences in graduate school, redefining my understanding of scholarship, especially in terms that highlighted the conflicted and complex relationships between the two institutions that made demands for my education, time, and labor. Rather than establishing a firm trajectory, my academic labor shifted between service and scholarship, exposing anxieties about women's roles in both academic and prison spaces.
doi:10.33596/anth.387 fatcat:pkkuvezkk5gstenrqor7vdl2pe