Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Africana Studies

First Advisor

Tess Chakkalakal


This project focuses on American prison writings from the late 1990s to the 2000s. Much has been written about American prison intellectuals such as Malcolm X, George Jackson, Eldridge Cleaver, and Angela Davis, who wrote as active participants in black and brown freedom movements in the United States. However the new prison literature that has emerged over the past two decades through higher education programs within prisons has received little to no attention. This study provides a more nuanced view of the steadily growing silent population in the United States through close readings of Openline, an inter-disciplinary journal featuring poetry, essays, fiction, and visual art created by incarcerated students enrolled in the College Program at San Quentin State Prison. By engaging the first person perspective of the incarcerated subject, this project will reveal how incarcerated individuals describe themselves, how they maintain and create intimate relationships from behind bars, and their critiques of the criminal justice system. From these readings, the project outlines conventions of “the incarcerated experience” as a subject position, with an eye toward further research analyzing the intersection of one's “incarcerated status” with one’s race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Included in

African American Studies Commons, African History Commons, American Literature Commons, American Politics Commons, American Popular Culture Commons, Art Practice Commons, Chicana/o Studies Commons, Child Psychology Commons, Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Civil Law Commons, Civil Procedure Commons, Civil Rights and Discrimination Commons, Cognition and Perception Commons, Cognitive Psychology Commons, Community-Based Learning Commons, Community Psychology Commons, Comparative Literature Commons, Courts Commons, Criminal Law Commons, Criminal Procedure Commons, Criminology Commons, Criminology and Criminal Justice Commons, Cultural History Commons, Defense and Security Studies Commons, Educational Sociology Commons, Education Law Commons, Education Policy Commons, Ethnic Studies Commons, European History Commons, Family Law Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Fiction Commons, Food and Drug Law Commons, Housing Law Commons, Human Rights Law Commons, Immigration Law Commons, Inequality and Stratification Commons, Intellectual History Commons, Interactive Arts Commons, Interdisciplinary Arts and Media Commons, Juvenile Law Commons, Latin American History Commons, Law and Economics Commons, Law and Politics Commons, Law and Society Commons, Legal Commons, Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Commons, Legislation Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, Literature in English, North America, Ethnic and Cultural Minority Commons, Modern Languages Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Multicultural Psychology Commons, Nonfiction Commons, Oral History Commons, Other American Studies Commons, Other English Language and Literature Commons, Other History Commons, Other International and Area Studies Commons, Other Law Commons, Other Political Science Commons, Other Sociology Commons, Personality and Social Contexts Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Poetry Commons, Political History Commons, Political Theory Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons, Public Affairs Commons, Public Policy Commons, Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Reading and Language Commons, Regional Sociology Commons, School Psychology Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons, Social History Commons, Social Policy Commons, Social Psychology Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons, Social Welfare Commons, Social Welfare Law Commons, Social Work Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons, United States History Commons, Urban Studies Commons, Urban Studies and Planning Commons