Kritika Kultura, the international refereed journal of language, literary, and cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University will be hosting a lecture by Benjamin D. Weber titled “Geographies of Incarceration in the American Colonial Philippines, 1904-1924.” The lecture will be on Feb. 24, 2015, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Faculty Lounge, 1/f Dela Costa Building, Ateneo de Manila University.
Weber’s abstract reads: “Using the methods of multimedia historical storytelling, this project examines how the production of geographic knowledge was entwined with the construction of criminality in the Philippines, and how both became transfigured into practices of incarceration, criminal transportation, and forced labor. Drawing on archival materials from the Philippines and the U.S., it seeks to use the kinds of data collected about convicts at the turn of the twentieth century to denaturalize the supposed self-evidence of truth claims that relied on ‘natural facts.’ Even while the focus is on a particular case study, the aim is to ask broader questions about what it means to think the history of carceral forms within an imperial frame: how does changing the spatial parameters of criminal transportation and convict labor in American empire, for example, change the temporal ones? What can historical GIS and critical geography, or image-driven narration, help us to see about criminality and imperial governance that academic writing alone cannot?”
Benjamin D. Weber is a PhD candidate in History at Harvard University. He is completing a dissertation entitled “America’s Carceral Empire: Confinement, Punishment, and Work At Home and Abroad, 1865-1945.” As a fellow at the History Design Studio last year, Weber created a multimedia project mapping “Geographies of Criminality in the American Colonial Philippines, 1904-1944” which was exhibited in the Hutchins Center’s Rudenstein Gallery. He is the author of “Emancipation in the West Indies and the Freedom to Toil: Manual Labor and Moral Redemption in Transatlantic Antislavery Discourse” (Journal of the Oxford History Society), and is currently conducting research on the history of incarceration in Louisiana, the Pacific Northwest, Panamá, and the Philippines supported by the CLIR Mellon Research Fellowship.