On March 27, 2023 the Humanities Center and the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice co-hosted a lecture series focused on race and justice in two critical American institutions; prisons and the healthcare system. The first lecture featured Dr. Michael Lawrence Walker, Beverly and Richard Fink Professor in Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His broad research concerns stratification, social control, punishment, and social psychology, which he translates into studies of race relations, carceral patterns, inequality, identities, emotions, and time.
Dr. Walker is the author of Indefinite: Doing Time in Jail, which won the 2022 Charles H. Cooley Award for Best Recent Book from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. Indefinite is a transformative ethnography of social life in a modern county jail. Conducted while Dr. Walker, himself, was incarcerated, Indefinite presents a visceral examination of the emotional landscape of penal living from the viewpoint of those locked away.
Dr. Walker’s presentation examined how the prison system’s sub-par sleeping conditions affect the dreams and subconscious of those incarcerated. Told through the lens of his personal experience being incarcerated, Dr. Walker examines the negative effects of the prison system on individuals even when asleep. Watch Dr. Walker’s presentation below.