This blog is maintained by our convening group of activists and academics, who together organized “Break Every Yoke: Religion, Power and the Ends of Mass Incarceration“ at the 2013 meeting of the American Academy of Religion to not only advance conversations about the ways that religious ideas and practices can enable/interrogate/oppose mass criminalization, but also to intentionally ground these conversations in partnerships between activists and academics.
Laura McTighe, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College and the Co-Founder and Associate Director of Front Porch Research Strategy in New Orleans. Her research excavates the often-hidden histories, practices, and geographies of struggle in America’s zones of abandonment, and asks how these worlds ‘otherwise’ are emerging, taking root, and transforming our present. With her interlocutors and research partners, she has undertaken fieldwork to understand and intervene at the intersections of religion, racialization, colonialism, criminalization, health, and the state, through an engaged abolitionist ethics. The public focus of her scholarship is informed by her twenty years of work in movements to end AIDS and prisons, as well as her sustained commitment to building bridges among scholars, activists, artists, and visionary practitioners concerned about otherwise worlds. Her research, teaching, and service been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Institute for Religion, Culture, & Public Life, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the Dartmouth College Venture Fund. Her most recent publications include: “‘There Is NO Justice in Louisiana’: Crimes against Nature and the Spirit of Black Feminist Resistance,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society 19, no. 3 (2017); “Front Porch Revolution: Resilience Space, Demonic Grounds, and the Horizons of a Black Feminist Otherwise,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (2018); and “’And Still We Rise’: Moral Panics, Dark Sousveillance, and Politics Otherwise in the new New Orleans” in Panic, Transnational Cultural Studies, and the Affective Contours of Power, ed. Micol Seigel (2018).
Hakim ‘Ali, was born in Washington, North Carolina, and came to Philadelphia with his family at a very young age. He has 5 brothers and 1 sister. He has been a practicing Muslim since 1969, and has held the position of Imam (i.e. spiritual leader), in both Federal and State institutions, where he served 40 years. During his incarceration, Hakim received an “AA” degree from Hagerstown Junior College in Maryland, and his “BS” from Morgan State University, also located in Maryland. Since his release in 2003, Hakim has been involved with many community organizations addressing prison-related issues. Currently, he is the PR/Outreach Coordinator for Reconstruction Inc., and serves as the Administrative Assistant for the projects/programs within Reconstruction’s umbrella. He is also a member of Decarcerate PA, a Pennsylvania coalition working to stop prison construction and to establish whole, healthy communities. Hakim made a determination that it is far better to give back to his community, than to deprive it of the wealth and safety that it deserves, and he views himself as: “the voice of the voiceless.”
Joshua Dubler, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. He is author of Down in the Chapel: Religious Life in American Prison (FSG, 2013), and with Andrea Sun-Mee Jones of Bang! Thud: World Spirit from a Texas Schoolbook Depository (Autraumaton, 2016).
Reverend Doris J. Green, B.A., CADC, CCHP, has worked with the incarcerated population for more than 30 years. She is the Founder of Men & Women in Prison Ministries/Universal House of Refuge Center, and the Director of Correctional Health & Community Affairs at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. A respected faith leader in Chicago, Rev. Green successfully launched the Faith Responds to AIDS (FRA) interfaith coalition in 2006, garnering support citywide among land leaders’, organizations and faith communities. In recognition of the international reach of her work, Rev. Green was appointed Ambassador for World Peace by the Universal Peace Foundation and the Interreligious & International Federation for World Peace while on-site in Benin, West Africa in 2007. Currently, she serves as the Prisoners Representative on the Cook County Bureau of Health Services Institutional Review Board; as a Commissioner for the Illinois Torture, Inquiry and Relief Commission; and as member of the NAACP’s National HIV Faith & Social Justice Advisory Board in Washington D.C.
Vincent Lloyd, Ph.D., is assistant professor of religion at Syracuse University, and visiting faculty fellow at the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion. He is the author of The Problem with Grace: Reconfiguring Political Theology (Stanford, 2011) and Black Natural Law: Beyond Secularism and Multiculturalism (Oxford, forthcoming).
James Logan, Ph.D., was born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx. He received a BA in Psychology/Pre-Law from Goshen College, an MA in theology and ethics from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and Ph.D. in religion and society from Princeton Seminary. He is Associate Professor of Religion, and Associate Professor and Director of African and African American Studies at Earlham College. Logan’s areas of teaching and research cover religious, philosophical and social ethics; religion and law; constructive Christian theologies; Black religion; theories of religion; and the relationships among religion, ethics and politics in civil/public life.