A Workshop to Examine Prisons and Prisoners Prison Records in Historical Perspective

Evan Roberts's picture
Call for Papers
September 16, 2018 to September 30, 2018
Ontario, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Canadian History / Studies, Demographic History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Economic History / Studies, Social History / Studies


April 23-24, 2019

University of Guelph, Canada

The constitution of the prison as mass incarceration institution has long attracted the interest of researchers. The unusually detailed nature of most of the prison archives partly explains the attraction. Similar sources are readily available in European societies and their colonies, which brings together a large amount of personal information about individuals incarcerated. The detailed analysis of these data, starting in the 1970s; it is the fact that so many criminologists specialists in social and economic history, demographers and other social scientists. The increasing power of software and hardware as well as the accumulation of vast amounts of data on prisons, some of which is combined with other sources, provide researchers with broad prospects, but also a challenge. This workshop will be an opportunity to deepen these questions about the operation of criminal justice records. It will bring together researchers from different disciplines and countries to confront their sources and methods (classification, analysis, etc.) and to reassess the paradigms of research.

The workshop is open to researchers who are interested in one or more of the following questions:

  • What research projects are underway in Canada and elsewhere, on the history of prisons and prison population? How these projects are located in the research on the history of prisons conducted since the 1970s? Historiographical syntheses and case studies from current research projects are the welcome.
  • What are the difficulties in analyzing the life experiences of prisoners, which is based on institutional documents, and is carried out without the permission of held-es and often without their knowledge?
  • Which conceptual and methodological challenges facing the construction and use of databases from digital archives, which describe a whole population of prisoners-eras? How to ensure the longevity of digital resources created today and ensure their access to future generations?
  • How to organize information about the institutions in order to facilitate comparative analysis of practices and experiences in the prosecution, conviction and incarceration in different jurisdictions?
  • What does the analysis by the methods of social science of criminal justice records - ie, the historical criminology - researchers and policy makers with respect to current and future challenges?

Researchers wishing to propose a communication, or who simply wish to participate in discussions, are invited to express their interest. Graduate Students are especially welcome. The Scientific Committee and organizer is composed of: Catrien Bijleveld (Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement), François Fenchel (Laval University), Donald Fyson (Laval University), Barry Godfrey (University of Liverpool), Kris Inwood (University Guelph) and Hamish Maxwell-Stewart (University of Tasmania).

Please send an abstract of 250 words before 30 September, to Kris Inwood kinwood@uoguelph.ca


Contact Info: 

Kris Inwood kinwood@uoguelph.ca

Contact Email: