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How We Talk about Prison: Rewriting the Language of Incarceration

When: Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm (iCal) Where: Asian American Writers' Workshop, 112 W 27th St Suite 600 , New York, New York (See map)

Please note, this event is NOT at SRLP
Asian American Writers’ Workshop
112 W 27th St Suite 600
New York, NY 10001

There are enough people in American prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers to populate a country. And like a country, American incarceration has its own language. There’s the technocratic and euphemistic language of the state—offender, felon, illegal immigrant, detainee, parolee. There’s also the language that the incarcerated use to describe their own position in a system of confinement—captive, prisoner, migrant, refugee, returning citizen. At the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, we’ll interrogate these terms and the political narratives they feed into.

Is language adequate to describe the harsh reality of incarceration? Which words are used too often, too lazily, not often enough? Does language have the power to shape the way we think about freedom? Join us for presentations by Nicole R. Fleetwood, Madhu Kaza, Aviva Stahl, Sarah Wang, and a conversation with AAWW’s Prisons Editor Daniel A. Gross about the evolving language of 2019 and the way it shapes lives.


Image credit: “Canary Robin and the Place Without Cages” by CM Campbell

*The space is wheelchair accessible. No stairs. Direct elevator from ground floor to 6th floor.
*We strongly encourage all participants of the space/event to be scent-free.
If you all have any other specific questions about accessibility, please email Tiffany Le at with any questions on reserving priority seating.

Asian American Writers' Workshop
112 W 27th St Suite 600
New York, New York

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