presentations

“We Spoke Our Truths: refusing gendered criminalization, making abolition feminism geographies.”
October 18, 2021
Haverford College
Distinguished Visitors Program

Over the last three decades, the incarceration of women, trans and gender nonconforming people has exploded in the United States, increasing more than eightfold and at twice the rate of men’s. Dr. Laura McTighe’s research aims to offer a history of our present that challenges both the stories we tell about gendered criminalization and the tools we use to tell them. The central claim of her work is that gendered criminalization had to be continually reasserted through changing modes of religious and scientific punishment precisely because of criminalized women’s, trans and gender nonconforming people’s challenges from within and beyond the prison walls. Thus, centering the sacred worlds they made together can help us to differently understand the prison’s beginnings, which is essential for imagining its ends. “We Spoke Our Truths” puts this claim into action through rigorous, abolition feminism research and organizing project that partners with formerly incarcerated women, trans and gender nonconforming people of color across the South as experts in excavating the histories of the institutions that once held them captive and in mapping the geographies of freedom they create today.


“Front Porch Revolution.”
October 6, 2021
University of Tennessee, Knoxville


“HIV Is Not Over.”
June 23, 2021
Oberland


“Religion, Punishment, Restoration”
April 6, 2021
Pomona College


“Abolition is sacred work.”
March 28, 2021
Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara


“Anti-Racism and BLM”
March 12, 2021
Graduate Researchers of Geography and the Tallahassee Community Action Committee


“Abolition is sacred work.”
February 23, 2021
Ball State University


“Addressing Racism in/and the Academic Study of Religion”
February 16, 2021
Columbia University and Barnard College


“Making Abolition: The Ground on Which We Stand”
February 5, 2021
Social Change Symposium
Florida State University

As the Symposium’s penultimate speaker, Dr. Laura McTighe introduces abolition as both a vision and a practice: it is a vision of presence, of a world without prisons; it is also the practice of how we make that world together. Using academic and activist theories of change, participants will demystify concepts of abolition, and identify entry points for working across many interwoven institutions.


“Abolitionist Theologies: Religious Resistance to Policing and Prisons”
August 12, 2020
Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois

As the movement for abolition continues to grow, with calls to defund police departments, demands for mass release of prisoners, campaigns for reparations, and more; where do faith communities fit in? Religious leaders from across traditions have always been involved in abolitionist organizing. At the same time, religious institutions, especially white Protestantism, hold much responsibility for the creation of the American punishment system as it is today. Join us for a conversation with religious organizers and scholars about the need to create and uplift abolitionist theologies and mobilize people of faith towards the dreams of abolition.


Past as Prologue: Storytelling about Resistance to the Brutality of Incarceration
May 8, 2020
Survived and Punished NY + Barnard Center for Research on Women

For centuries incarcerated people and others have painted a grim and gruesome picture of conditions inside prisons and jails. There have been countless reports, testimonies, exposes, and essays addressing the brutality and violence that incarcerated people are subjected to daily. Often these terrible conditions have led to uprisings and rebellions by prisoners. Attica is among the most well-known, however it is far from the only example. The reality is that incarcerated people have always and continue to resist daily and everywhere.

Too often accounts of this brutality are met by the general public with indifference or tacit support. This is to all of our shame. We need to be in solidarity with incarcerated people who deserve freedom and at least to be treated with care while locked up.

Join Survived and Punished NY and the Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) for a discussion of the current horrific conditions that incarcerated people are enduring under the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are resisting this violence. In addition, the conversation will focus on historical examples of prisoner resistance to the violent conditions of confinement.

We’ll be joined by formerly incarcerated organizers and leading thinkers about criminalization, Monica Cosby and Kathy Boudin, along with historians Toussaint Losier and Laura McTighe. Other participants to be confirmed.

Organized and moderated by Mariame Kaba.


Religious Studies and Mass Incarceration: Tips for Sharing Scholarship with the Public
February 24, 2020
Public Scholars Project, a joint project of the American Academy of Religion and the Freedom Forum Institute

Host Benjamin Marcus and guests discuss how scholars of religion can share work on religion and mass incarceration with different publics. Co-presenters include Tanya Erzen, associate research professor of religion and gender queer studies at University of Puget Sound; Herron Keyon Gaston, associate director of admissions and recruitment at Yale Divinity School; Laura McTighe, assistant professor in the department of religion at Florida State University; and Christophe Ringer, assistant professor of theological and social ethics and society at Chicago Theological Seminary.


Theory on the Ground
March 27, 2020––Postponed Due to COVID
Yale University

For more than two decades, scholar-activist Laura McTighe has been enmeshed in our nation’s movements to end AIDS and prisons. In this workshop, McTighe will open a collaborative conversation around “theory on the ground” as developed in the midst of lived struggle. What are the resistant visions of lived struggle? How are they carried forward? What do they demand of us as scholars and global citizens?

Co-sponsored by the Yale University Chaplain’s Office, Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM), Department of Religious Studies, Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), and Yale Divinity School


“The Struggle Continues: religion, prisons, and abolition
November 21, 2019
University of California, Santa Barbara
Hosted by the MultiCultural Center as part of the Race & Religion speaker series

Abolition is an intimate practice of otherwise world-building. It brings us into different relationships with one another, with our histories of struggle, with our gods and ancestors, and with the emergent possibilities always already unfolding around us. Drawing on more than two decades of work in our nation’s movements to end AIDS and prisons, this talk explores the everyday, bone-deep work of building a world without prisons; it also practices it. By staying close to activist ‘theory on the ground,’ this talk uncovers the ways in which religious ideas and practices have been used to grow mass criminalization; it also lifts up the very different forms of religious praxis through which we can imagine and realize its ends.