A BOLD AND PROVOCATIVE EXPLORATION OF ONE OF THE MOST RELIGIOUSLY VIBRANT PLACES IN AMERICA—A STATE PENITENTIARY Baraka, Al, Teddy, and Sayyid: Four black men from South Philly, two Christian and two Muslim, are serving life at Pennsylvania’s maximum-security Graterford Prison. All of them work in the prison chapel, where they have regular opportunities to dispute the workings of God, faith, and self-transformation. And then Sayyid disappears. Down in the Chapel tells the story of one week in Graterford’s chapel. We learn how the men at Graterford pass their time, care for themselves, foster relationships, and commune with their makers. We observe Evangelicals, Catholics, Jews, and black Muslims at prayer and study and song. And we watch what happens when an interloping scholar of religion is thrown into the mix with hopes of making sense of it all. When prisoners turn to God, they are often scorned as “bad men” who fake their piety or as “poor men” who have no better option than to adopt simplistic and rigid creeds. Joshua Dubler goes beyond these stereotypes to show the religious life of a prison in all its vital complexity. An essential interpretation of faith in an age of mass incarceration, Down in the Chapel reveals what prisoners do with religion, and what religion does with them.
Religious Life in an American Prison
Author: Joshua Dubler
A bold and provocative interpretation of one of the most religiously vibrant places in America—a state penitentiary Baraka, Al, Teddy, and Sayyid—four black men from South Philadelphia, two Christian and two Muslim—are serving life sentences at Pennsylvania's maximum-security Graterford Prison. All of them work in Graterford's chapel, a place that is at once a sanctuary for religious contemplation and an arena for disputing the workings of God and man. Day in, day out, everything is, in its twisted way, rather ordinary. And then one of them disappears. Down in the Chapel tells the story of one week at Graterford Prison. We learn how the men at Graterford pass their time, care for themselves, and commune with their makers. We observe a variety of Muslims, Protestants, Catholics, and others, at prayer and in study and song. And we listen in as an interloping scholar of religion tries to make sense of it all. When prisoners turn to God, they are often scorned as con artists who fake their piety, or pitied as wretches who cling to faith because faith is all they have left. Joshua Dubler goes beyond these stereotypes to show the religious life of a prison in all its complexity. One part prison procedural, one part philosophical investigation, Down in the Chapel explores the many uses prisoners make of their religions and weighs the circumstances that make these uses possible. Gritty and visceral, meditative and searching, it is an essential study of American religion in the age of mass incarceration.
Religious Life in an American Prison
Author: Joshua Dubler
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
A candid examination of a state penitentiary follows four prisoners serving life sentences as they find and observe religion at the prison chapel, revealing the relationship between prisoners and religion.
Religious Life in an American Prison
Author: Joshua Dubler
Over the last 40 years, the US penal system has grown at an unprecedented rate—five times larger than in the past and grossly out of scale with the rest of the world. In The Punishment Imperative, eminent criminologists Todd R. Clear and Natasha A. Frost argue that America’s move to mass incarceration from the 1960s to the early 2000s was more than just a response to crime or a collection of policies adopted in isolation; it was a grand social experiment. Tracing a wide array of trends related to the criminal justice system, this book charts the rise of penal severity in America and speculates that a variety of forces—fiscal, political, and evidentiary—have finally come together to bring this great social experiment to an end. The authors stress that while the doubling of the crime rate in the late 1960s represented one of the most pressing social problems at the time, it was instead the way crime posed a political problem—and thereby offered a political opportunity—that became the basis for the great rise in punishment. Clear and Frost contend that the public’s growing realization that the severe policies themselves, not growing crime rates, were the main cause of increased incarceration eventually led to a surge of interest in taking a more rehabilitative, pragmatic, and cooperative approach to dealing with criminal offenders that still continues to this day. Part historical study, part forward-looking policy analysis, The Punishment Imperative is a compelling study of a generation of crime and punishment in America.
The Rise and Failure of Mass Incarceration in America
Author: Todd R. Clear,Natasha A. Frost
Publisher: NYU Press
Category: Social Science
More than the citizens of most countries, Americans are either religious or in jail--or both. But what does it mean when imprisonment and evangelization actually go hand in hand, or at least appear to? What do "faith-based" prison programs mean for the constitutional separation of church and state, particularly when prisoners who participate get special privileges? In Prison Religion, law and religion scholar Winnifred Fallers Sullivan takes up these and other important questions through a close examination of a recent trial challenging the constitutionality of a faith-based residential rehabilitation program in an Iowa state prison, a trial in which she served as an expert witness for the prisoner-plaintiffs. Using the trial to illuminate the interrelationship of American law and religion today, Prison Religion argues that the plaintiffs' case unintentionally shows that separation of church and state is no longer possible because religious authority has radically shifted from institutions to individuals, making it difficult to define religion, let alone disentangle it from the state. In the course of advancing this unconventional view, Prison Religion casts new light on church-state law, the debate over government-funded faith-based programs, and the predicament of prisoners who have precious little choice about what kind of rehabilitation they receive, if they are offered any at all.
Faith-Based Reform and the Constitution
Author: Winnifred Fallers Sullivan
Publisher: Princeton University Press
With passion and precision, Exile and Embrace examines the key elements of the religious debates over capital punishment and shows how they reflect the values and self-understandings of contemporary Americans. Santoro demonstrates that capital punishment has relatively little to do with the perpetrators and much more to do with those who would impose the punishment. Because of this, he convincingly argues, we should focus our attention not on the perpetrators and victims, as is typically the case in debates pro and con about the death penalty, but on ourselves and on the mechanisms that we use to impose or oppose the death penalty. An important book that will appeal to those involved in the death penalty debate and to general religious studies and American studies scholars, as well.
Contemporary Religious Discourse on the Death Penalty
Author: Anthony Santoro
Category: Social Science
Egerton explores southern food in over 200 restaurants in 11 Southern states, describing each establishment's specialties and recounting his conversations with owners, cooks, waiters, and customers. Includes more than 150 regional recipes.
At Home, on the Road, in History
Author: John Egerton
Publisher: UNC Press Books
By focusing on a single game in 1982, the author dissects the game of baseball, looking at the pitching, the batting, the owners, the players, and much more. Reprint.
The Anatomy of a Baseball Game
Author: Daniel Okrent
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Category: Sports & Recreation
Aggressive policing and draconian sentencing have disproportionately imprisoned millions of African Americans for drug-related offenses. Michael Javen Fortner shows that in the 1970s these punitive policies toward addicts and pushers enjoyed the support of many working-class and middle-class blacks, angry about the chaos in their own neighborhoods.
The Rockefeller Drug Laws and the Politics of Punishment
Author: Michael Javen Fortner
Publisher: Harvard University Press
It is by now well known that the United States' incarceration rate is the highest in the world. What is not broadly understood is how cash-strapped and overcrowded state and federal prisons are increasingly relying on religious organizations to provide educational and mental health services and to help maintain order. And these religious organizations are overwhelmingly run by nondenominational Protestant Christians who see prisoners as captive audiences. Some 20,000 of these Evangelical Christian volunteers now run educational programs in over 300 U.S. prisons, jails, and detention centers. Tanya Erzen gained inside access to many of these programs, spending time with prisoners, wardens, and members of faith-based ministries in six states, at both male and female penitentiaries, to better understand both the nature of these ministries and their effects. What she discovered raises questions about how these ministries and the people who live in prison grapple with the meaning of punishment and redemption, as well as what legal and ethical issues emerge when conservative Christians are the main and sometimes only outside forces in a prison system that no longer offers even the pretense of rehabilitation. Yet Erzen also shows how prison ministries make undeniably positive impacts on the lives of many prisoners: men and women who have no hope of ever leaving prison can achieve personal growth, a sense of community, and a degree of liberation within the confines of their cells.
Redemption and Punishment in America's Faith-Based Prisons
Author: Tanya Erzen
Publisher: Beacon Press
Category: Church work with prisoners
Pentecostal Christianity is flourishing inside the prisons of Rio de Janeiro. To find out why, Andrew Johnson dug deep into the prisons themselves. He began by spending two weeks living in a Brazilian prison as if he were an inmate: sleeping in the same cells as the inmates, eating the same food, and participating in the men's daily routines as if he were incarcerated. And he returned many times afterward to observe prison churches' worship services, which were led by inmates who had been voted into positions of leadership by their fellow prisoners. He accompanied Pentecostal volunteers when they visited cells that were controlled by Rio's most dominant criminal gang to lead worship services, provide health care, and deliver other social services to the inmates. Why does this faith resonate so profoundly with the incarcerated? Pentecostalism, argues Johnson, is the "faith of the killable people" and offers ex-criminals and gang members the opportunity to positively reinvent their public personas. If I Give My Soul is a deeply personal look at the relationship between the margins of Brazilian society and the Pentecostal faith, both behind bars and in the favelas, Rio de Janeiro's peripheral neighborhoods. Based on his intimate relationships with the figures in this book, Johnson makes a passionate case that Pentecostal practice behind bars is an act of political radicalism as much as a spiritual experience.
Faith Behind Bars in Rio de Janeiro
Author: Andrew Johnson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: A&C Black
Category: Juvenile Fiction
Mark Rothko, one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century, was born in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in 1903. He immigrated to the United States at age ten, taking with him his Talmudic education and his memories of pogroms and persecutions in Russia. His integration into American society began with a series of painful experiences, especially as a student at Yale, where he felt marginalized for his origins and ultimately left the school. The decision to become an artist led him to a new phase in his life. Early in his career, Annie Cohen-Solal writes, “he became a major player in the social struggle of American artists, and his own metamorphosis benefited from the unique transformation of the U.S. art world during this time.” Within a few decades, he had forged his definitive artistic signature, and most critics hailed him as a pioneer. The numerous museum shows that followed in major U.S. and European institutions ensured his celebrity. But this was not enough for Rothko, who continued to innovate. Ever faithful to his habit of confronting the establishment, he devoted the last decade of his life to cultivating his new conception of art as an experience, thanks to the commission of a radical project, the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. Cohen-Solal’s fascinating biography, based on considerable archival research, tells the unlikely story of how a young immigrant from Dvinsk became a crucial transforming agent of the art world—one whose legacy prevails to this day.
Toward the Light in the Chapel
Author: Annie Cohen-Solal
Publisher: Yale University Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Author: Eric Valentine Gordon
Category: Gawain (Legendary character)