Angela J. Hattery and Earl Smith present "Way Down in the Hole: Race, Intimacy and the Reproduction of Racial Ideologies in Solitary Confinement"
THURSDAY, MAY 18TH 2023
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Based on hundreds of hours of observation in solitary confinement units and interviews with both those who are incarcerated and those who work in solitary confinement, Way Down in the Hole: Race, Intimacy and the Reproduction of Racial Ideologies in Solitary Confinement, uncovers the ways in which specific structures of solitary confinement, including the close and intimate contact between the incarcerated and the correctional officer, serve as a petri dish that fuels the production and reproduction of white racial resentment.
Smith and Hattery explore the outcome of building prisons in rural, economically depressed communities, staffing them with white people who live in and around these communities, filling them with Black and brown bodies from urban areas and then designing the structure of solitary confinement units such that the most private, intimate daily bodily functions take place in very public ways. Under these conditions, it shouldn’t be surprising, but is rarely considered, that such daily interactions produce and reproduce white racial resentment among many correctional officers and fuel the racialized tensions that prisoners often describe as the worst forms of dehumanization.
Angela J. Hattery is Professor of the Women & Gender Studies and co-Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Gender Based Violence at the University of Delaware. She is the author of 12 books, including Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives are Surveilled and How to Work for Change (2021) Gender, Power and Violence: Responding to Intimate Partner Violence in Society Today (2019) as well as dozens of book chapters and peer reviewed articles. Her most recent book (2023) is entitled Way Down in the Hole: Race, Intimacy and the Reproduction of Racial Ideologies in Solitary Confinement explores the ways in which racial antagonisms are exacerbated by the particular structures of solitary confinement. She serves as a consultant to agencies that seek to combat violence against women, she testifies as an expert witness in domestic violence cases, and she regularly comments in the local, regional and national news media on issues related to gender-based violence and the criminal legal system. At the University of Delaware she teaches courses on race and gender inequality, families and methods. Earl Smith is Professor of Women & Gender Studies at the University of Delaware and Emeritus Distinguished Professor of American Ethnic Studies and Sociology at Wake Forest University. Dr. Smith earned his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. His teaching and research focus on the sociology of sport, social stratification, and the intersection of race and the criminal justice system. He is the author of 12 books, including his most recent books, Policing Black Bodies, 2nd ed., (2021), Gender, Power and Violence (2019), and Way Down in the Hole: Race, Intimacy, and the Reproduction of Racial Ideologies in Solitary Confinement (2021).