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Dan Berger

Dan Berger, PhD, historian and professor at the University of Washington, will speak on the connections between American slavery and mass incarceration today, Wednesday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. in the Grupp Fireside Lounge. Given the fact that the U.S. continues to lead the world in incarcerating its citizens, particularly African Americans and other minorities, this talk is particularly timely. Berger is coming to Canisius under the auspices of the distinguished lectureship program of the Organization of American Historians. All are welcome to attend this free public lecture, which is sponsored by the All-College Honors Program, the Immersion East Side program, the History Department and the Sociology, Criminal Justice and Environmental Studies Departments.

Lecture Synopsis:

“Freedom as Method: Slavery, Prisons and the Modern Carceral State”

This talk explores the connection between two of the most notorious institutions in the history of American racism: slavery and prisons. In this lecture, Berger explores what unites these two peculiar institutions and how people of color have resisted them both. Slavery and prisons are joined not by forced labor but by severe captivity. In response, people of color have developed a novel approach to freedom. Drawing on the experiences of enslaved and imprisoned people from the 19th century to the present, Berger argues that freedom is a multifaceted series of individual and collective acts. Ultimately, freedom is not just a destination but a journey: a method through which people survive and challenge captivity.

Submitted by: Bruce Dierenfield, professor, History; director, All-College Honors Program