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"Inside the Carceral Church: The Impact of Faith-Based Prison Ministries in American Prisons" with Dr Tanya Erzen
WhenWednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, 3:30 – 4:50 p.m.
Campus locationPhysics / Astronomy Auditorium (PAA)
Campus roomA102
Event typesAcademics, Lectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsMedical Anthropology and Global Health Seminar Series, Department of Anthropology. Contact information: Dr. Marieke van Eijk (mariev2@uw.edu)

​https://anthropology.washington.edu/
Description

Lecture by Dr Tanya Erzen: "Inside the Carceral Church: The Impact of Faith-Based Prison Ministries in American Prisons"

In prisons throughout the United States, punishment and religious revivalism are occurring simultaneously. Faith-based ministries have become a dominant force in American prisons, operating under the logic that religious conversion and redemption will transform prisoners into new human beings. Based on her recent book, Dr. Erzen addresses the political and psychological consequences of Christian ministries within a punitive system of mass incarceration. She also discusses how people in prison practice religion in a space of coercion and discipline, the implications of the state’s promotion of Christianity over other religious traditions, and how faith-based programs may enable forms of transformation and community organizing.

Dr. Tanya Erzen is Associate Research Professor in Religion and Gender Queer Studies at The University of Puget Sound.  Her research focuses on American religion as it intersects with ethnography, gender and sexuality studies, and critical prison studies. In 2016 Dr. Erzen published the book God in Captivity: The rise of faith-based ministries in the age of mass incarceration (Beacon Press). In this book she discusses in rich ethnographic detail the rise of religious organizations in cash-strapped and overcrowded state and federal prisons in the United States. She published Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian conversions in the ex-gay movement (University of California Press, 2006) and co-authored Zero Tolerance: Quality of life and the new police brutality in New York City (New York University Press, 2001). Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including American Quarterly, The Boston Globe, and PLMA, among other journals. Dr. Erzen is the executive director of the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (FEPPS), an organization that offers college classes to women, transgender and gender nonconforming people in Washington State prisons.

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