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Review Essay Global Perspectives on the Birth of the Prison

MARY GIBSON

SINCE THE TURN OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, a wave of new studies has revitalized the eld of prison history. Most notably, scholars of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have joined historians of the Western world in the debate over, to use Michel Foucaults phrase, the birth of the prison.1 The new prison histories of the non-Western world contest, or at least complicate, the original paradigm developed by Foucault and other historians of Europe and the United States in the 1970s in several fundamental ways. That paradigm dates the birth of the prison to the years between 1760 and 1840, when the rising middle class abolished public rituals of corporal punishment as incompatible with its new aspirations to build a modern liberal and industrial society. Focusing on Asia, Africa, and Latin America, recent research calls this framework into question by introducing the factors of colonialism, race, and the agency of prisoners themselves. Because each continentand, more accurately, each former colony and modern nation within each continenthas its own chronology and exhibits its own pattern of punishment, no denitive global model has yet emerged. But a consideration of these new themes is fundamental not only for understanding the adoption of imprisonment by a variety of political systems in the non-Western world, but also for reimagining the birth of the prison in Europe and North America as part of a dynamic global history.2 Because of its ambitious philosophical scope, as well as its immediate translation into many languages, Foucaults brilliant book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison has become the touchstone of prison history worldwide.3 Foucaults reviI wish to thank Nicole Hahn Rafter, Steven C. Hughes, Ellen Dwyer, James K. Cohen, and the anonymous readers for the AHR for their insightful comments on an earlier draft of this essay.
1 Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans. Alan Sheridan (New York, 1977; orig. French ed. Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison [Paris, 1975]). 2 In the tradition of review essays for the AHR , this article will focus on books in English, with the addition of a few key works in French that have offered important responses to Foucault. This approach regrettably ignores research in other languages that is pertinent to debates in prison history. In the future, collaborative efforts will be necessary to construct truly global review essays that draw on the multiple languages of international scholarship. 3 The continuing centrality of Foucaults work is evident in the ve featured books on prison history in this review, all but one of whose authors explicitly discuss their ndings in relation to the Foucauldian paradigm. The exception is Frank Diko tter, who nevertheless refers to Foucault in the introduction to his subsequent book, Frank Diko tter and Ian Brown, eds., Cultures of Connement: A History of the Prison in Africa, Asia, and Latin America (Ithaca, N.Y., 2007), 9. Foucaults Discipline and Punish is the master text consulted by most prison historians. For additional insight into Foucaults thinking during the mid1970s, see Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, ed. Colin Gordon,

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sionist interpretation, largely shared by two other early prison historians, David Rothman and Michael Ignatieff, provoked immediate debate and elicited critical responses that ranged from mild tinkering with details to wholesale rejection. Out of these critiques came several signicant developments. The output of the 1980s and 1990s is too vast to review here in its entirety, but the contours of the earlier debates are crucial for understanding recent books on non-Western prisons, whose authors have admirably immersed themselves in earlier work on Europe and the United States (in contrast to the woeful ignorance that many Western scholars exhibit about world history).4 Among the studies that are characterized by this global approach are ve books that explicitly address the inuence of Europe and the United States on the birth of the prison in Vietnam (by Peter Zinoman), in Africa (by Florence Bernault as editor and author), in China (by Frank Diko tter), in Japan (by Daniel Botsman), and in Peru (by Carlos Aguirre). Read as a group, these works shift our thinking about the periodization of mass incarceration and the practice of prison reform and probe two understudied issues: the characteristics of inmate subculture and the relation of race to punishment.

FOUCAULTS ARGUMENT IN DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH is so intellectually provocative and richly textured that it seems foolhardy to attempt a summary. His work as a whole created such a paradigm shift in historical explanation that it arguably changed the mindset of even his ercest critics. After reading Discipline and Punish, no historian can analyze prison history with the same innocence that was common before its publication; even those who have never read it cannot escape the partially Foucauldian perspective that pervades, sometimes imperceptibly, the entire contemporary historiography of crime and punishment. Foucault does more than offer an explanation for the birth and workings of the early-nineteenth-century French prison: his much more ambitious aim is to investigate how power is exercised and truth is established in modern society, typied by a carceral continuum of institutions with the prison as the extreme exampleemploying scientic techniques to discipline and normalize the individual.5 In one of the most famous openings of any book, Foucault contrasts a journalistic account of the bloody public execution in 1757 of Robert-Franc ois Damiensaccused of trying to murder the French kingwith the written rules prescribing the rigid schedule of a French juvenile reformatory in 1838. He uses these two documents to argue that between 1760 and 1840, the entire economy of punishment was redistributed in the Western world.6 In place of painful corporal punishment, sometimes as extreme as the drawing and quartering of Damiens, France substituted imprisonment, which was intended to deprive criminals of liberty and target their souls. Contemporaneous with the age of revolution and the consequent liberalization of
trans. Colin Gordon, Leo Marshall, John Mepham, and Kate Soper (New York, 1980); and Foucault, Abnormal: Lectures at the Colle `ge de France, 1974 1975, ed. Valerio Marchetti and Antonella Salomoni, trans. Graham Burchell (New York, 2003). 4 Major works in prison history from the 1980s and 1990s will be cited in the subsequent footnotes. 5 Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 297. 6 Ibid., 7.

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the legal codes under Napoleon, this new age for penal justice signaled the end of monarchical sovereignty, which had displayed its absolute powers through secret inquisitorial trials, torture of defendants, and the political ritual of public execution.7 While Foucault admits that the Enlightenment project to shift the object of punishment from the body to the mind had previously been recognized by legal historians, he criticizes them for accepting the self-characterization of early prison advocates as philanthropists nobly seeking less cruelty, less pain, more kindness, more respect, more humanity for poor and defenseless criminals.8 He argues instead that eighteenth- and nineteenth-century bourgeois reformers were motivated by a desire to overthrow royal absolutism and redirect penal law against offenses particularly damaging to their class interests, most notably theft, rather than by benevolence or a new revulsion against subjecting humans to physical torture.9 No longer emanating from a central authority, power became dispersed among a series of institutions that subjected the lower classes to surveillance and discipline. Emblematic of these institutions was the prison, which, through a micro-physics of power, required all inmates to follow a uniform daily schedule with the same mechanical gestures, whether in their cells, the workshop, or the recreation yard.10 Such rigid discipline was enforced not by the outdated methods of inicting physical pain but by the gaze, the constant surveillance by guards and wardens.11 Citing Jeremy Benthams design of 1791 for a panopticon prison, in which guards in a central tower could see every prisoner while remaining invisible themselves, Foucault condemns modern prison discipline as no less repressive than the corporal punishment of the old regime, and even more insidious in its aim to use the body as an instrument to regiment the soul and reshape the mind.
7 Ibid. Despite his insistence on a clear break in the philosophy and practice of punishment between the old regime and the modern liberal state, Foucault locates the roots of modern prison discipline in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century regulations for the army, schools, hospitals, and large workshops; ibid., 138, and more generally the full chapter Docile Bodies, 135169. 8 Ibid., 16. While Foucault does not name specic French historians who he believes mistakenly interpreted prison reform as humanitarian and progressive, Michael Ignatieff offers the following examples for the Anglo-American world: Orlando F. Lewis, The Development of American Prisons and Prison Customs, 17761845 (Albany, N.Y., 1922); Negley K. Teeters, The Cradle of the Penitentiary: The Walnut Street Jail at Philadelphia, 17731835 (Philadelphia, 1933); W. David Lewis, From Newgate to Dannemora: The Rise of the Penitentiary in New York, 17961848 (Ithaca, N.Y., 1965); J. R. S. Whiting, Prison Reform in Gloucestershire, 17761820: A Study of the Work of Sir George Onesiphorus Paul, Bart. (London, 1975); and Eric Stockdale, A Study of Bedford Prison, 16601877 (London, 1977). See also Ignatieff, State, Civil Society and Total Institutions: A Critique of Recent Social Histories of Punishment, in Stanley Cohen and Andrew Scull, eds., Social Control and the State: Historical and Comparative Essays (New York, 1983), 75105, here 75. 9 Foucault exempts Georg Rusche and Otto Kirchheimer from his general condemnation of prior prison historians, praising their great work Punishment and Social Structure (New York, 1939) for emphasizing that the rise of industrial capitalism rather than the good intentions of individual reformers led to the mitigation of corporal punishment over the centuries. Many modern prison historians also cite Rusche and Kirchheimer approvingly, although few, including Foucault, believe that their Marxist approach adequately explains the birth of the prison. The clearest heirs of Rusche and Kirchheimers economic determinism are Dario Melossi and Massimo Pavarini, who offer a fascinating analysis of how imprisonment could have triumphed only under industrial capitalism, in which the value of laborand therefore the severity of punishmentis measured in time. Melossi and Pavarini, Conclusions: Contractual Reason and Disciplinary Necessity at the Basis of Punishment by Deprivation of Liberty, in Melossi and Pavarini, The Prison and the Factory: Origins of the Penitentiary System, trans. Glynis Cousin (New York, 1981; orig. Italian ed. Carcere e fabbrica [Bologna, 1977]), 182188. 10 Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 26. 11 Ibid., 173.

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For Foucault, such reform of the individual is simply a process of normalization shared by parallel institutions including the army, the school, the hospital, and the workshop. Thus power is dispersed because judges of normality are everywhere, in the guise of prison wardens, military ofcers, teachers, doctors, and employers.12 As Foucault writes in some of his most innovative and persuasive pages, this power is not just repressive but also creative, because it produces knowledge about the subjected individual. Thus power and knowledge (pouvoir/savoir ) characterize modernity as inseparable and dialectical forces that both constrain and construct the prisoner. Knowledge produced by disciplinary institutions makes possible the growth of the scientic disciplines of criminology, medicine, and psychiatry, which count, measure, examine, and interview their subjected populations. In a circular fashion, these disciplines then develop new strategies for rendering these same institutions more efcient at producing docile bodies.13 Such a radical philosophical critique sets Discipline and Punish apart from almost all other histories of the prison and explains its powerful inuence on a wide array of academic elds. Foucault, however, was only one of a larger group of historians in the 1970s who criticized the traditional Whig historiography of the prison, which classed it with other progressive components of the welfare state. The two other most inuential works were those of David Rothman and Michael Ignatieff, and in all fairness it must be noted that Rothmans The Discovery of the Asylum came out four years before Discipline and Punish and anticipated many of Foucaults arguments.14 Rothman identies the 1820s as the beginning of a revolution in social practice in the United States, which saw the proliferation of not only prisons but also other institutions for deviants such as asylums, almshouses, orphanages, and reformatories.15 In colonial society, punishment was typically corporalthe whip, stocks, or gallowsand jails were used simply to hold debtors or the accused awaiting trial. Crime, equated with sin, was thought to be rooted in failings of the individual rather than of the family or of society in general and therefore required no institutional response. With population growth and increasing mobility in the period after the American Revolution, however, a new generation of reformers fomented what later historians would label a moral panic about the breakdown of traditional social ties, especially within the family. Believing that human nature was basically good, they proposed penitentiaries as a way to reform deviant individuals in an environment that would provide an alternative to their corrupt families. Based on a military model, American prisons required rationalized and uniform bodily movements, such as the lockstep, as well as complete silence whether prisoners were conned perpetually to their individual cells (the Philadelphia or separate system) or worked together during the day in silence and slept in separate cells at night (the Auburn or silent system). In A Just Measure of Pain, Ignatieff constructs a similar narrative for England,
Ibid., 304. Ibid., 138. 14 Rothman, however, cites an earlier work by Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (New York, 1965), in his introduction to David J. Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (Boston, 1971), showing his familiarity with Foucaults general perspective. Calling Foucaults analysis fascinating and suggestive, he nevertheless criticizes it for divorcing ideas from their social context (xviixviii). 15 Ibid., xii.
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starting with the period before 1775, when punishment was characterized by whipping, the pillory, or hanging. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, theories of reform inspired both by the Enlightenment and by evangelical Protestant religion condemned the barbarity of traditional forms of punishment and inspired several waves of prison construction, culminating in the opening in 1842 of the Pentonville Penitentiary, the internationally acclaimed model of the new disciplinary regime.16 Based on the Philadelphia or cellular model, Pentonville rigorously separated inmates from the outside world and from each other; when permitted outside their cells for chapel, they wore masks to prevent corrupting communication and occupied separate boxes, enabling them to be seen only by the gaze of authority of the chaplain and the guards.17 Isolation and silence were expected to encourage examination of the conscience, and religion the reform of character. Faced with increasing social unrest and perceived crime waves, the centralizing English state rebuilt its entire prison system at the same time that it was establishing new police forces. More than Rothman, Ignatieff emphasizes the class dimension of the transition in punishment as the state sought to discipline the new and increasingly radical working classes through a massive building program of new penitentiaries. Despite differences of tone and national framework, the three works by Foucault, Rothman, and Ignatieff share some common features.18 They all date the birth of the prison and the corresponding curtailment of corporal punishment to the period between 1760 and 1840, the era of the Enlightenment and European/American revolutions. Suspicious of the self-proclaimed humanitarian intentions of liberal reformers, they interpret the purpose and the effects of the new penitentiaries in a more sinister light. Rather than guaranteeing the rights of inmates, the new parliamentary states of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries subjected the lower classes to intrusive, secretive, and dehumanizing regulation of both the mind and the body in the so-called reformatory prison. Inmates underwent demeaning rituals upon entrance to prison that stripped them of their identity, followed by the severance of contact with outside society and the prohibition of communication except with wardens and chaplains (even contact with guards was minimized and highly regulated). That the new penitentiary was recognized as a failure in all three countries by the mid-nineteenth century but was nevertheless perpetuated until the present day only strengthens the revisionist argument that its main purpose is the exercise of power rather than humanitarian reform or even the reduction of crime. The three authors differ over the sincerity of the reformers (with Rothman being the most sympathetic and Foucault the least) and the identication of the source of disciplinary power (the state for Rothman; the state on behalf of the industrializing classes for Ignatieff; dispersed for Foucault). Despite these quibbles, the inuence of the revisionist analysis has been so strong that even today historians of prison,
16 Michael Ignatieff, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 17501850 (New York, 1978). 17 Ibid., 39. 18 Ignatieff provides a useful overview of the claims of the revisionist school in State, Civil Society and Total Institutions. Although professing to be an unrepentant member of the revisionist school, Ignatieff in this essay admits that the revolution in punishment was not the generalized triumph of Weberian rationalization which the revisionist account suggests (78) because there was a gulf between the reformers rationalizing intentions and the institutionalized results of their work (83).

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including those studying non-Western nations, feel compelled to read and respond to its claims.

THE RESPONSE TO THE REVISIONISTS ARGUMENTS, and especially to the philosophical approach of Foucault, took several forms. Many subsequent works of prison history incorporated the general revisionist perspective but criticized Foucault, Rothman, and/or Ignatieff for their analysis of specic issues; others rejected their pessimistic evaluation of prison reformers, returning to the earlier Whig or progressive interpretation; and a third group simply took off on paths left unexplored by the three pioneering works. Historians of France tended to adopt the rst approach, producing an early and noteworthy response to Foucault in the 1980 volume Limpossible prison (The Impossible Prison).19 Edited by Michelle Perrot, Limpossible prison included a long review of Discipline and Punish by the historian of medicine Jacques Le onard, a reply by Foucault, and a roundtable discussion between Foucault and a prominent group of historians.20 A general sense of admiration for Foucault pervades the remarks of the participating historians, with Le onard particularly praising his explication of disciplinary techniques for its spirit of synthesis that recalls certain writings of Marx.21 But for the most part, the historians raised the kinds of critiques that have continued to echo through the historiography of prisons: that Foucault ignored other types of punishment that coexisted with the new penitentiaries (for example, the old-regime bagnes or hard labor camps, which continued into the modern era); that he failed to make distinctions between different categories of prisoners, schools of lawyers, and types of courts; and that he emphasized the theories of reformerssuch as Jeremy Benthams panopticon penitentiaryrather than the everyday reality of prison life. Perhaps most vexing to historians was Foucaults refusal to locate the origin of the disciplinary power that circulated through society and manifested itself in the prison and parallel institutions. If it did not emanate from the state, was it wielded by the bourgeoisie? And if so, by which sections of a ruling class that was by no means homogeneous? Finally, as Perrot argued in her introduction, the nineteenth-century French prison system never resembled the rationalized machine described in Discipline and Punish but rather remained a world of chains, overcrowding, and disorder.22 A minority of historians continued in the Whig tradition of championing the
Michelle Perrot, ed., Limpossible prison: Recherches sur le syste `me pe nitentiaire au XIX e sie `cle (Paris, 1980). 20 Michelle Perrot had already written a pioneering article titled Delinquency and the Penitentiary System in Nineteenth-Century France, Annales ESC 30 (1975): 6791, reprinted in Robert Forster and Orest Ranum, eds., Deviants and the Abandoned in French Society, trans. Elborg Forster and Patricia M. Ranum (Baltimore, 1978), 213245. Appearing the same year as Discipline and Punish, this essay does not mention Foucault; Perrots call for research focusing on prisoners themselves, who have disappeared from their own history (215), and her careful detailing of available archival sources for such a study contrast with the Foucauldian tendency to focus on elite discourse drawn from published texts. 21 Perrot, Limpossible prison, 25. While other historians have compared Foucault to Marx in a negative way, criticizing them both for having constructed grandiose philosophical theories that ignore the messiness of the primary data and that have attracted undue adulation from bedazzled fans, Le onards words constituted a compliment and an acknowledgment that the philosopher had constructed a more daring and wide-ranging argument than is possible with the tools of a historian. 22 Ibid., 61.
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goodwill of prison reformers even in the face of the strong and popular revisionist argument that bourgeois self-interest constituted the main motivation for replacing corporal punishment with incarceration. In his overview of French policies toward crime during the last two centuries, Gordon Wright pronounces Foucaults hypothesis to be provocative but unproven, and therefore declares a continued preference for the older orthodoxy that attributes the birth of the prison primarily to the circulation of Enlightenment beliefs in reason and humanitarianism among European elites.23 In the monumental history of English criminal law by Leon Radzinowicz, the volume on penal policy (co-authored by Roger Hood) attributes the birth of the prison to classical legal principles of the Enlightenment (rather than to the disciplinary sciences of Foucault) and emphasizes how progressive and competent administrators had signicantly reformed punishment after 1750.24 William James Forsythe, in a pair of books tracing British reform theories, legislation, and parliamentary commissions from 1830 to 1939, offers perhaps a more nuanced critique of Foucault and Ignatieff by admitting that many innovations of prison reformers for example, the use of the treadwheel in mid-nineteenth-century Englandseem odd and distasteful to modern historians and certainly had the effect of asserting discipline over inmates.25 Yet he warns that historians who deny the fundamentally humanitarian impulse of prison reformers, and the philosophical integrity of their theories, risk underestimating their successes and obliterating the distinction between relatively good prisons on one end of the spectrum and notorious networks of connement such as the Nazi concentration camps and the Russian gulag on the other.26 A third approach to the revisionist school has been to acknowledge it briey but focus on exploring dimensions of prison history left out of the original iconic texts. Most notably, womens historians almost immediately criticized Foucault, Rothman,
23 Gordon Wright, Between the Guillotine and Liberty: Two Centuries of the Crime Problem in France (New York, 1983), 22. 24 Leon Radzinowicz and Roger Hood, History of English Criminal Law and Its Administration from 1750, vol. 5: The Emergence of Penal Policy (London, 1986). For an excellent review that places Radzinowicz and Hoods approach within the larger discussion on prison history, see Martin J. Weiner, The March of Penal Progress? Journal of British Studies 26, no. 1 (1987): 8396. 25 William James Forsythe, The Reform of Prisoners, 18301900 (London, 1987); Forsythe, Penal Discipline, Reformatory Projects, and the English Prison Commission, 18951939 (Exeter, 1990). Like Forsythe, Margaret DeLacy accepts some conclusions of the revisionists (or as she labels them, the radicals) in her study of Lancaster, including their critique of nineteenth-century prisons for rarely achieving rehabilitation. However, her ndings more often echo the traditional Whig school in emphasizing the importance of the character of the warden and the quality of the staff for the proper functioning of individual prisons. DeLacy, Prison Reform in Lancashire, 17001850: A Study in Local Administration (Stanford, Calif., 1986). 26 Forsythe, The Reform of Prisoners, 229. Institutions of connement for political criminals have mostly been ignored by prison historians or are considered marginal to the evolution of the normal modern penitentiary, with its subordination to the rule of law and its mission to rehabilitate common criminals. Yet several of the books under review here have begun to question the traditional distinction between the punishment of political and common criminals by emphasizing the political role of colonial and postcolonial prisons. The distinction also became blurred in Nazi Germany, where Nikolaus Wachsmann has argued that the normal prison system did not remain autonomous but became highly politicized as it collaborated closely with the concentration and death camps run by the police; Wachsmann, Hitlers Prisons: Legal Terror in Nazi Germany (New Haven, Conn., 2004). These works point to the need to problematize the categories of common and political crime and bring the most extreme institutions of violent incarceration into the wider debate about the birth and development of the modern penitentiary.

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and Ignatieff for drawing their paradigms exclusively from sources and debates about the appropriate punishment of men. As early as 1982, Patricia OBrien produced a history of both male and female inmates in French prisons; it remains one of the few studies to compare the experiences of the two sexes. While acknowledging a large intellectual debt to Foucault, OBrien nevertheless seems more inuenced by Perrot in her determination to construct the history of the prison from the inside out.27 Agreeing with the revisionists on periodizationthat the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw the birth of a centralized penitentiary system in France she differs from them in shifting her focus from theorists and administrators to criminals of both sexes, whose daily routines and subcultures were not always consistent with national policy. Several years later, explorations of womens prisons in the United States by Estelle Freedman (1984) and Nicole Hahn Rafter (1985) emphasized the gendering of punishment in a nation where prisons were decentralized and therefore policies differed widely among localities.28 While taking no explicit stand on the revisionist school, Freedman tends to sympathize with the good intentions behind the demands of female reformers in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century for separate prisons to protect women prisoners from neglect and sexual violence. Beginning in 1874 and accelerating after 1900, many states in the American East and Midwest responded by establishing separate reformatories for women, administered by prison matrons along maternalistic lines, which replaced the military model of mens prisons with a family model.29 In her comparative study of New York, Ohio, and Tennessee, Rafter criticizes Rothman for not recognizing that women prisoners, who were usually held in custodial annexes to male penitentiaries, were initially forgotten by male prison advocates of the early American Republic and were only later addressed by female reformers in the late nineteenth century.30 Yet she generally agrees with the social control thesis of the revisionist school, taking a less charitable view of prison matrons, who in her view were intent upon disciplining working-class women to remake them in the matrons own imagethat is, moral, domestic, and obedient middle-class women. Rafters book is especially useful for adding the variable of race to the discussion. She points out that the new, more comfortable female reformatories were reserved almost exclusively for white (and usually American-born) women, while African American and immigrant women continued to languish in the custodial prisons, where conditions were miserable and opportunities for education and work were minimal. A second unexplored area that quickly received attention in response to the revisionist model was the prison before the prison, or institutions of control before the late eighteenth century.31 Pieter Spierenburg is the leading proponent of the argument that no sharp break in practices of punishment occurred during the rev27 Patricia OBrien, The Promise of Punishment: Prisons in Nineteenth-Century France (Princeton, N.J., 1982), xixii, 9. 28 Estelle B. Freedman, Their Sisters Keepers: Womens Prison Reform in America, 18301930 (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1984); Nicole Hahn Rafter, Partial Justice: Women, Prisons, and Social Control (1985; 2nd ed., New Brunswick, N.J., 1990). 29 Freedman, Their Sisters Keepers, 95. 30 Rafters book provides both an in-depth investigation of female prisons in these three states and statistics on the conditions of female incarceration throughout the United States. 31 The phrase prison before the prison is taken from Edward M. Peters, Prison before the Prison:

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olutionary era because penal connement already existed in the early modern period.32 According to Spierenburg, the workhouses of Holland and northern Germany, as well as the bridewells and houses of correction in England, constituted penitentiaries in the modern sense of requiring labor and seeking reform of inmates. Admitting that these prison workhouses differed from the modern disciplinary prison in modeling themselves on the family rather than the army or the factory, he nevertheless proposes a new periodization in which the decline of corporal punishment overlapped and coexisted with the rise of imprisonment from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. This alternate reading of the birth of the prison derives from not only his extensive archival research but also his preference for Norbert Elias over Foucault as the theorist who best explains historical change. A historical sociologist writing in the mid-twentieth century, Elias argued that Europe underwent a civilizing process in the early modern period, in which state formation encouraged elites to develop both self-control and compassion for others.33 According to Spierenburg, this theory explains both the slow change in modes of punishment over time (as nation-states gradually replaced feudalism) and the growing preference for imprisonment as European sensibilities rejected as barbaric traditional practices of punishment that inicted pain and suffering on the body. While Elias has been employed more often by criminal justice historians trying to explain the drop in murder and other violent crimes since the Middle Ages than by those writing on the birth of the prison, Spierenburg is perhaps the only critic of the revisionist school to propose a sweeping philosophical alternative to Foucault.34 The publication of two prestigious collections of essays in the mid-1990s signaled the arrival of prison history as a recognized topic of importance and offered summaries of the slow but steady accumulation of research over more than two decades. Most publications of the 1980s and 1990s continued to cluster geographically in the nations originally explored by Foucault, Rothman, and Ignatieff, although innovative work began to appear on Latin America, Africa, and Asia.35 The rst of the two
The Ancient and Medieval Worlds, in Norval Morris and David J. Rothman, eds., The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Western Society (New York, 1998), 3 43. 32 See Pieter Spierenburg, The Prison Experience: Disciplinary Institutions and Their Inmates in Early Modern Europe (New Brunswick, N.J., 1991). His critique of Foucault has its roots in his earlier book on the death penalty, The Spectacle of Suffering: Executions and the Evolution of Repression, from a Preindustrial Metropolis to the European Experience (Cambridge, 1984). 33 Norbert Eliass classic work, U ber den Prozess der Zivilisation, was originally published in German in two volumes in 1939 but did not receive widespread recognition until 1969, when it was republished in German and the rst volume was translated into English as The Civilizing Process. Spierenburg has compared the explanatory power of Foucaults and Eliass theories for criminal justice history in Punishment, Power, and History: Foucault and Elias, Social Science History 28, no. 4 (2004): 607636. 34 For an overview of this research, see Pieter Spierenburg, Violence and the Civilizing Process: Does It Work? Crime, Histoire & Socie te s 5, no. 2 (2001): 87105. 35 For France, see Jacques G. Petit, ed., La prison, le bagne et lhistoire (Paris, 1984); Petit, Ces peines obscures: La prison pe nale en France (17801875) (Paris, 1990); and Robert Badinter, La prison re publicaine (18711914) (Paris, 1992). For the United States, see two studies of the revolutionary era that in different ways challenge the revisionist paradigm: Adam J. Hirsch, The Rise of the Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishment in Early America (New Haven, Conn., 1992); and Michael Meranze, Laboratories of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution, and Authority in Philadelphia, 17601835 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1996). The system of convict labor in the South, closely related to the burgeoning eld of African American history, has also produced a number of studies (see fn. 64 below). For one of the few histories of the midtwentieth-century American prison, see Charles Bright, The Powers That Punish: Prison and Politics in the Era of the Big House, 19201955 (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1996). Two overviews of American prison

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collections, Institutions of Connement, edited by Norbert Finzsch and Robert Ju tte, focused mainly on Germany and therefore added an important dimension to the English-language literature on prison history in continental Europe.36 Containing an equal number of essays on insane asylums and prisons, the volume implicitly accepted the revisionist equation of different institutions of connement in their role as disciplining institutions. The editors, however, follow Spierenburgs lead in dating the roots of these institutions to the sixteenth century, although they endorse no particular philosophical approach. To Elias and Foucault, they add Gerhard Oestreich as a pertinent theorist, one who argued that the gradual growth of secular social discipline in early modern Europe replaced the authority of the church and culminated in the centralized and highly regulated absolutist states of the eighteenth century.37 Social discipline thus offers an explanation for the growth of policing functions in early modern cities (and subsequently in absolutist monarchies) and the resulting need for institutions to conne those arrested for disrupting the social order. A second collection of essays, The Oxford History of the Prison, constituted a landmark in that it validated the eld of prison history and summarized much of the existing literature at the time of its publication in 1995. Edited by Norval Morris and David Rothman, this volume brought together many of the pioneers of research on prisonsincluding OBrien, Spierenburg, and Rothman himselfin a group of elegant and informative essays that provide a chronological overview of the eld and analysis of thematic issues such as juvenile delinquency and political prisoners. Shunning theory for the most part, the collection was a bit old-fashioned in focusing almost exclusively on the Anglo-American experience, with only one essay on modern continental Europe and none on non-Western areas. Perhaps as a concession to
history are provided by Larry E. Sullivans chronological study The Prison Reform Movement: Forlorn Hope (Boston, 1990) and Mark Colvins more thematic treatment in Penitentiaries, Reformatories, and Chain Gangs: Social Theory and the History of Punishment in Nineteenth-Century America (New York, 1997). For England, see Sea n McConville, A History of English Administration (London, 1981); McConville, English Local Prisons, 18601900: Next Only to Death (London, 1995); Robin Evans, The Fabrication of Virtue: English Prison Architecture, 17501840 (Cambridge, 1982), for the inuence of reforming ideas on prison architecture; Philip Priestley, Victorian Prison Lives: English Prison Biography, 18301914 (London, 1985), for the perspective of inmates; John Bender, Imagining the Penitentiary: Fiction and the Architecture of Mind in Eighteenth-Century England (Chicago, 1987), for a correlation of the birth of the novel with the birth of the prison; Joe Sim, Medical Power in Prisons: The Prison Medical Service in England, 1774 1989 (Philadelphia, 1990), for analysis of one group of administrators; and Janet Semple, Benthams Prison: A Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary (Oxford, 1993), for the legislative defeat of Benthams utopian vision. The mid-1990s also saw the publication of studies on prison reform in Holland: Herman Franke, The Emancipation of Prisoners: A Socio-Historical Analysis of the Dutch Prison Experience (Edinburgh, 1995); in Italy: Susan B. Carraello, The Tombs of the Living: Prisons and Prison Reform in Liberal Italy (New York, 1998); and in Russia: Bruce F. Adams, The Politics of Punishment: Prison Reform in Russia, 18631917 (DeKalb, Ill., 1996). Contributions to Latin American, African, and Asian prison history will be discussed later in this article. 36 Norbert Finzsch and Robert Ju tte, eds., Institutions of Connement: Hospitals, Asylums, and Prisons in Western Europe and North America, 15001950 (Cambridge, 1996). In one particularly interesting essay, Martin Dinges explains why Foucault has received a generally negative reaction in Germany, so different from the adulation of many French and American readers; Dinges, Michel Foucaults Impact on the German Historiography of Criminal Justice, Social Discipline and Medicalization, ibid., 155 174. 37 Gerhard Oestreich, Neostoicism and the Early Modern State, ed. Brigitta Oestreich and H. G. Koenigsberger, trans. David McLintock (1982; repr., Cambridge, 2008; orig. German ed. Geist und Gestalt des fru hmodernen Staates [Berlin, 1969]).

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Spierenburg, it included an essay by him on early modern Europe as well as a second on ancient and medieval Europe by Edward M. Peters; yet the introductory essay and many of the other contributions continued to point to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a radical break and the era when prisons were born.38 The editors gave a nod to gender analysis by including a chapter on womens prisons written by Lucia Zedner, who in 1991 had published an exhaustive study of the punishment of female criminals in Victorian England.39 With that exception, however, womens experience remained marginal to the essays in The Oxford History of the Prison, very few of which mentioned gender or included research by womens historians in their bibliographies. The Oxford History of the Prison was more innovative in its inclusion of essays detailing the history of prisons after the heroic era of their birth, which was characterized by Enlightenment philosophy and liberal revolutions, and the subsequent universal recognition, around 1850, of their failure. Several chapters are devoted to a second wave of prison reform during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which was rooted in anxiety over high rates of recidivism but also entertained hope that the new sciences of criminology, psychiatry, and sociology could provide the solution.40 The most famous of the new academic specialists was the Italian psychiatrist Cesare Lombroso, whose positivist theory distinguished born criminals, or those biologically predisposed to crime, from occasional criminals, or those corrupted by a bad environment.41 Although many participants in the new series of International Prison Congresses, the rst of which met in 1872 in London, rejected Lombrosos specic diagnosis of atavism as the cause of inborn deviancy, experts across the Western world recommended the individualization of punishment. According to this medical model, the degree of punishment would be calibrated not to the severity of the crime but to the dangerousness of the criminal, so that recidivists would be locked up for long sentences, while less menacing lawbreakers would be kept out of prison under new policies of suspended sentences, probation, and parole. This new approach encouraged some nations to divert women and children, generally perceived as malleable, from traditional penitentiaries to reformatories or asylums classied as medical or educational in nature.42 Attitudes hardened, however, toward convicts diagnosed as atavistic, degenerate, or morally insane, and they were subjecteddepending on the countryto capital punishment, imprisonment for life, and/or sterilization in the name of social defense.
38 Pieter Spierenburg, The Body and the State: Early Modern Europe, in Morris and Rothman, The Oxford History of the Prison, 44 70; Peters, Prison before the Prison. 39 Lucia Zedner, Wayward Sisters: The Prison for Women, in Morris and Rothman, The Oxford History of the Prison, 295324; Zedner, Women, Crime, and Custody in Victorian England (Oxford, 1991). 40 Again, Rothman and OBrien had long been pioneers in exploring the fate of the new reformative penitentiaries after 1850. See David J. Rothman, Conscience and Convenience: The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive America (Boston, 1980); OBrien, The Promise of Punishment. Other authors who had also treated the period of the second wave of prison reform include Badinter and Wright for France; Freedman, Rafter, and Sullivan for the United States; and Forsythe, Priestly, Sim, and Zedner for Britain. 41 For the inuence of Lombroso on criminology and prison policy in the United States, see Nicole Hahn Rafter, Creating Born Criminals (Urbana, Ill., 1997). 42 For an overview of policies on juvenile delinquency in the United States, accompanied by an excellent bibliography, see Steven Schlossman, Delinquent Children: The Juvenile Reform School, in Morris and Rothman, The Oxford History of the Prison, 325349.

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AMONG THE NEW WORKS IN GLOBAL PRISON HISTORY are ve books that dramatically expand our empirical knowledge about transformations in punishment outside the geographical birthplace of the prison. While directly addressing debates about the revisionist, and more particularly the Foucauldian, paradigm, they also introduce entirely new perspectives that will require European and American historians to rethink fundamental issues and to conduct future research within a much less provincial context. The books fall into three categories, in accordance with whether the prison was introduced by a colonial government (Vietnam, Africa), by indigenous rulers under imperialist pressure from Western powers (China, Japan), or by postcolonial leaders (Peru).43 The rst book to appearand one considered pathbreaking by the subsequent authorswas The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862 1940, by Peter Zinoman.44 Covering the mosaic of territories acquired by France between 1862 and 1885 that would later become Vietnam (Cochin China, Annam, and Tonkin), this work argues that the prison was a colonial imposition on Indochinese society. Before the incursions of the French, punishment in precolonial Vietnam took the forms recommended by Confucian legal thought: ogging, indentured servitude, exile, and death. Imprisonment was used only for individuals awaiting trial or execution. In the face of erce native resistance to military conquest, the French colonizers initially built prisoner-of-war camps to subdue the population. Once the French had consolidated their control, they constructed a network of prisons throughout the territories, whose rules and regulations were drawn from the European model of the reforming penitentiary. Zinoman, however, focuses on practice rather than discourse and argues that the rules imported from France bore no resemblance to the actual conditions in Indochinese prisons. Rather than the rational and disciplined institutions of Europe analyzed by Foucault, the colonial prison recalled the brutality and squalor of the eighteenth-century Bastille, with its roots in the prisoner-of-war camp.45 As in the early modern European prison, corruption and violence were endemic, labor was
43 Prison research on other regions of the world has produced mostly articles rather than books. For India, see Anand A. Yang, Disciplining Natives: Prison and Prisoners in Early Nineteenth-Century India, South Asia 10, no. 2 (1987): 29 45; Satadru Sen, Rationing Sex: Female Convicts in the Andamans, South Asia 30, no. 1 (1999): 2959; Sen, The Female Jails of Colonial India, Indian Economic and Social History Review 39, no. 4 (2002): 417 438; Sen, A Separate Punishment: Juvenile Offenders in Colonial India, Journal of Asian Studies 63, no. 1 (2004): 81104; Clare Anderson, The Politics of Convict Space: Indian Penal Settlements and the Andaman Islands, in Carol Strange and Alison Bashford, eds., Isolation: Places and Practices of Exclusion (New York, 2003), 4055; and three essays in Diko tter and Brown, Cultures of Connement : David Arnold, India: The Contested Prison, 147184; Clare Anderson, Sepoys, Servants and Settlers: Convict Transportation in the Indian Ocean, 1787 1945, 185220; and Ian Brown, South East Asia: Reform and the Colonial Prison, 221268. For the Middle East, see Anthony Gorman, Regulation, Reform and Resistance in the Middle Eastern Prison, ibid., 95146; and Ervand Abrahamiam, Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran (Berkeley, Calif., 1999). For sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to the essays in Bernault, see David Williams, The Role of Prisons in Tanzania: An Historical Perspective, Crime and Social Justice, no. 13 (Summer 1980): 2737; Linda Chisholm, The Pedagogy of Porter: The Origins of the Reformatory in the Cape Colony, 18821910, Journal of African History 27, no. 3 (1986): 481 495; and Rudolph Peters, Controlled Suffering: Mortality and Living Conditions in 19th-Century Egyptian Prisons, International Journal of Middle East Studies 36, no. 3 (2004): 387 407. 44 Peter Zinoman, The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 18621940 (Berkeley, Calif., 2001). 45 Ibid., 7.

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backbreaking and often dangerous, and inmates lacked decent food, sanitation, and medical care. Citing prominent criminologists such as Alexandre Lacassagne, colonial administrators held yellow criminality to be fundamentally different from criminality in Europe, and its perpetrators to be morally irredeemable. Thus Vietnamese inmates were kept separate from Europeans, who enjoyed individual cells and better treatment. That violence rather than reform characterized colonial Vietnamese prisons resulted also from their political nature. As heirs of the prisoner-of-war camps, they held inmates considered not just, in Zinomans words, antisocial but also antistate by their French captors.46 Ultimately this racist and politicized approach on the part of the French colonial administration backred, because the appalling conditions encouraged inmates to organize, to resist, and in some cases to riot. Furthermore, the circulation of prisoners among different institutions, for reasons of work or punishment, began to create a sense of national community among individuals from different regions and classes. This incipient nationalism created fertile ground for Communist Party members, who, liable to arrest in large numbers, began in the 1930s to recruit new members and hold classes in prisons. Noting the large body of prison memoirs and poetry from the colonial era by individuals later hailed as national heroes, Zinoman argues that French prisons must be recognized as an important incubator of the communist revolution. A second work that treats colonial prisons, A History of Prison and Connement in Africa, is a collection of essays edited by Florence Bernault, who also provides an excellent introductory chapter.47 Before the European incursions into sub-Saharan Africa, imprisonment was as unlikely to be used as a form of punishment there as in precolonial Vietnam. Instead, African societies tended either to settle minor disputes through mediation and reparation or to punish more serious crimes by exile, execution, or sale into slavery. The chronology of the birth of the prison in Africa, however, is more complicated than that in Vietnam. First, European penetration took place in several stages, each of which introduced a characteristic type of enclosure: dungeons in forts on the coast built by traders beginning in the sixteenth century; depots to hold captured Africans during the slave trade; and military jails to hold prisoners of war after the 1880s as the imperialist powers moved inland. Precedents therefore existed for the modern penitentiaries erected by colonial rulers beginning in the 1910s. Bernault and several other authors in this collection enrich the debate over the birth of the prison by widening the lens of the discussion to include all forms of connement. From this broader perspective, some African societies did indeed use enclosure before the arrival of the Europeans, either to hold suspects or conne political opponents (as in early modern Europe) or to isolate individuals during initiations or for other ritual purposes. Thus Africans brought various associations to their experience of modern imprisonment, including terrifying memories of the slave trade and associations between ritual enclosure and contact with the spirit world. The institutionalization and massive expansion of imprisonment did not occur until after 1910, but it quickly became an important tool of domination by the French,
46 47

Ibid., 32. Florence Bernault, ed., A History of Prison and Connement in Africa (Portsmouth, N.H., 2003).

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British, Portuguese, and Belgian colonial administrations. Unlike European prisons, which rested in principle on social consensus and promised to reform the delinquent citizen, African prisons sought to reinforce white authority through political despotism. Chaotic and lthy, they made no effort to individualize punishment, because Africans were held to be an undifferentiated mass who preferred to live in large, crowded cells. Colonial prisons also resembled premodern European prisons in the frequent use of violence, so that incarceration constituted not a replacement for but an addition to corporal punishment. In an innovative essay on female inmates in Senegal, Dior Konate argues that women suffered the worst conditions in colonial prisons, where they were rarely provided with separate cells. Left to sleep in the kitchen or on the porch, women prisoners were subjected to sexual harassment and violence from both male guards and male prisoners.48 African prisons also differed from the European model in their requirement of hard labor and their concern with earning prots. Rather than a tool to discipline and rehabilitate the individual as in Europe, penal labor constituted an integral part of colonial economies, where inmates worked at minimal expense for white colonists in both the public and private sectors. Labor circulated between free society, which required Africans to perform forced labor, and prisons, which sent those arrested for violating forced labor service to work for private employers. The use of prisons to discipline the workforce formed part of the larger strategy of European imperialist rulers to impose new notions of space on subject populations. The redenition of punishment as connement in a specic architectural space complemented other policiessuch as pass laws and the drawing of new bordersmeant to disrupt the traditional migratory uidity of precolonial African societies. Crime, Punishment and the Prison in Modern China, by Frank Diko tter, also represents the prison as an importation from Europe, but in markedly different circumstances.49 Because Confucianism dominated late imperial Chinese culture and legal principles, traditional punishments before the turn of the twentieth century resembled those in precolonial Vietnam: nes, beatings, penal servitude, exile, and death. Again, jails were used only to house defendants being held for trial or convicted criminals who were awaiting execution or were being sent into penal servitude or exile. While China was never directly colonized, it was subjected to diplomatic pressure from Europe and the United States to reform its legal system, and specically to abolish corporal punishment. This pressure took the form of a series of nineteenth-century treaties guaranteeing extraterritoriality, the right of citizens of Western nations to be judged and sentenced in their own courts rather than be subjected to Chinese criminal law. After Chinas humiliating defeat in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 1895 and the resulting nationalist fervor, the emperors of the late Qing dynasty began to call for an end to extraterritoriality, a campaign continued by the republican regime that took power in 1911. Because Western powers claimed that extraterritoriality was a necessary protection for their citizens against the supposed irrationality and brutality of the Chinese legal process, nationalist reformers called for the replacement of corporal punishment with prisons on the European model. That the great era of Chinese prison-building began during the reforming years
48 49

Ibid., 16, 20; Dior Konate , Ultimate Exclusion: Imprisoned Women in Senegal, ibid., 155164. Frank Diko tter, Crime, Punishment and the Prison in Modern China (New York, 2002).

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of the late Qing and accelerated with the republican revolution accords with Diko tters thesis that the birth of the prison correlates with the introduction of popular sovereignty and individual rights, whether in France in 1789 or in China in the early twentieth century. By 1918, China boasted thirty-nine model prisons, with the Bei tter concedes that jing No. 1 Prison being the model of all models.50 Although Diko everyday life in local jails and even model prisons never embodied the utopian dreams of reformers, he nevertheless emphasizes the real commitment of state administrators to establish efcient and humane institutions that would symbolize Chinas progress toward modernity. China eliminated almost all corporal punishment in prisons before many European nations and resisted calls by some Western powers to reinstate it after subsequent episodes of social disorder. In 1934, having adopted standards set by the League of Nations for the treatment of prisoners, the Chinese prison system was more progressive and humane than those of Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union in the same decade. For Diko tter, the popularity and acceptance of the theory of reformative imprisonment can be explained not simply by foreign pressure or supercial emulation but mainly by its compatibility with a much older Chinese belief in the power of education. Adopted as one of a constellation of institutions meant to promote correct behavior through moral training, emulation, and discipline, the prison was not blindly copied by Chinese ofcials but was redeployed to inculcate respect for traditional social norms in prisoners.51 This reconguration of the prison to local conditions did not prevent Chinese reformers and ofcials from participating in the International Penitentiary Congresses or from adapting Western criminological ideas, including the positivism of Lombroso. But they turned the racism of European criminology to their own uses by elevating yellows to the level of whites as rivals for control of supposedly inferior darker races. The republican system of model prisons remained intact after the Guomindang took power in 1927, but it was weakened by World War II and nally destroyed by the civil war during the late 1940s. The succeeding Chinese Communist Party continued to use imprisonment, but in the form of forced labor camps, employing torture for mostly political ends. Daniel Botsmans book Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan has many parallels with Diko tters, because it also addresses a nation that escaped direct colonization but not imperialistic pressure from Western powers.52 Botsman devotes a signicant part of his analysis to the period before the establishment of modern prisons, which occurred after the arrival of Commodore Matthew C. Perry in 1853 and the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Especially violent punishments, such as quartering, impaling, and boiling alive, had already disappeared under earlier Tokugawa rule. But various forms of aggravated execution remained, including a form of crucixion known as stringing up, as well as pillorying, ogging, and tattooing (to mark an individual as a criminal). As in early modern Europe, the most horrifying punishments were applied publicly, albeit rarely, to impress the populace with the power of the ruling shoguns; frequent pardons were also granted to display the shoguns capacity for benevolence. Sensitive to space as a dimension of punishment, Botsman
50 51 52

Ibid., 69. Ibid., 14. Daniel V. Botsman, Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan (Princeton, N.J., 2005).

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characterizes early-nineteenth-century Edo (now Tokyo) as a city covered with penal signs, with its jailhouse in the poor section of town, frequent parades of criminals on horseback to the execution grounds, and the subsequent display of severed heads.53 The exact dating of the birth of the prison is controversial in Japanese historiography, because several institutions of connement existed before the Meiji period. The Kodemacho Jailhouse in Tokyo was established as early as the 1610s, but like many European jails, it mostly held suspects before sentencing, or less often housed convicted women as an alternative to ogging. In 1790, the Stockade for Laborers was built on the island of Ishikawajima to put vagrants and petty thieves to work and as a supplement to corporal punishment. In contrast to many historians, who point to the Stockade of the Tokugawa period as an embryonic modern prison, Botsman characterizes it as simply an addition torather than a replacement forolder punishments, because it pursued the identical aim of upholding the traditional hierarchical and paternalistic social order dominated by the warrior class. Only after the Western powers, through treaties guaranteeing them extraterritoriality, pressured Meiji administrators to reform legal institutions did incarceration begin to replace corporal punishment, although these same administrators quickly came to see modern prisons as a prestigious symbol of nation-building. The rst modern penitentiary was opened at Kajibashi (Tokyo) in 1874, and the 1881 prison on the island of Hokkaido (now Ezo) set the pattern for most Meiji institutions in using inmates to colonize underpopulated areas by building roads, dredging rivers, and mining coal and sulfur. Botsman emphasizes the inuence both of Western models on Japan and, in turn, of Japanese reformers on other Asian countries considered backward and barbaric in their legal practices. Interaction with the West included study trips abroad by experts such as Ohara Shigechika, who laid out a blueprint for the Kajibashi prison based on Benthams panopticon; participation in the International Penitentiary Congresses, beginning with that held in Stockholm in 1878; and the recruitment in 1889 of a German consultant, Kurt von Seebach, to advise the government and train prison administrators. Japanese scholars, in turn, began to consider themselves the real experts on the East, with their own forms of Orientalist knowledge to spread to their neighbors.54 Ogawa Shigejiro, an expert on European penology, served as an ofcial adviser to the Qing dynasty in developing blueprints for model prisons like those described by Diko tter. Once the Japanese themselves became an imperial power, they set outas had Europeans in their own coloniesto introduce modern prisons in Taiwan to discipline inhabitants they perceived as wild and uncultured. In The Criminals of Lima and Their Worlds: The Prison Experience, 18501935, Carlos Aguirre builds on the collective efforts of Latin American historians since the 1990s to develop a historiography of crime and punishment that would be comparable to that for Europe and the United States.55 Aguirre has been a central gure in this initiative, serving as co-editor of two collections of essays that include pioIbid., 28. Ibid., 221. 55 Carlos Aguirre, The Criminals of Lima and Their Worlds: The Prison Experience, 18501935 (Durham, N.C., 2005).
53 54

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neering studies of prisons in several Latin American nations.56 In Lima, as in most of Latin America, the birth of the prison occurred after independence, though in a nation that was shaped by the legacy of colonialism, most notably racism among the white population against indigenous Indians and former black slaves. Thus the Lima penitentiary, opened in 1862 and modeled on the American prison in Auburn, New York (which had been visited by a Peruvian emissary), could never live up to its principles of discipline and reform. Instead, prison administrators ran their institution with a combination of brutality and indifference reecting the exclusionary nature of the modern Peruvian state, which denied full citizenship to Indians and blacks.57 Conditions in the new penitentiarypopularly called el pano pticowere better, however, than those in the old Ca rcel de Guadalupe and the penal colony on the island of El Fronto n, where the majority of prisoners were held. To his credit, Aguirre compares the three institutions throughout the book to emphasize the patchwork of heterogeneous penal institutions that typied most nineteenth-century countries, including many in Europe. Despite its numerous shortcomings, the new penitentiary was the rst modern building in Lima and a symbol of progress for the ruling classes. By the 1890s, Peruvian criminologists were importing and debating European positivist theories, including that of the born criminal. Aguirre offers a fascinating analysis of how local circumstances shaped the reception of Lombrosos biological determinism, seemingly so tting to a society permeated by rigid racial hierarchies. With a population that was majority non-white, however, Peru could not hope to aspire to build a modern, liberal nation if Indian and black inferiority was held to be an eternal biological condition. Consequently, most criminologists developed sociological and cultural explanations for crime and professed faith in the reforming capacity of the Lima penitentiary despite its failure to put disciplinary principles into practice. The prison was ruled not by discipline but by what Aguirre labels a customary order that was tacitly negotiated between the inmates and the guardsand sometimes even administratorsat the institution. Both prisoners and guards violated the rules for their own purposes, in the case of the former to make life more tolerable and in the case of the latter for economic gain. Prisoners paid bribes for alcohol and coca, for sexual services, and even for pardon or release. Administrators were often complicit in these transactions in hopes of appeasing inmates and preventing violent disorders such as escapes and revolts. Hierarchy pervaded the inmate community, an ultra-masculine world characterized by the practice of tattooing, the use of criminal jargon, homosexual behavior, and a cult of violence.58 Thus the customary order tended to benet older and more experienced inmates or those with a reputation for aggression (whether white or black) over those who were young, weak, or indigenous. By the 1920s and 1930s, prisoners began to protest their conditions in letters to prison authorities and even to newspapers, appropriating language from
56 See Ricardo D. Salvatore and Carlos Aguirre, eds., The Birth of the Penitentiary in Latin America: Essays on Criminology, Prison Reform, and Social Control, 18301940 (Austin, Tex., 1996); and Ricardo D. Salvatore, Carlos Aguirre, and Gilbert M. Joseph, eds., Crime and Punishment in Latin America: Law and Society since Colonial Times (Durham, N.C., 2001). 57 Aguirre, The Criminals of Lima and Their Worlds, 1. 58 Ibid., 165.

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both prison reformers and the growing number of political prisoners in their midst. But these denunciations did little to guarantee respect for prisoners rights in a society that continued to be marked by extreme social and racial stratication.

THESE INNOVATIVE STUDIES INVITE US to rethink and re-theorize four issues of central importance for globalizing prison history. The rst is the question of periodization, because non-Western societies did not experience the birth of the prison until almost one hundred years after its creation in Europe and the United States. Our ve authors date the rst modern penitentiaries in their nations of study to 1862 (Peru), 1874 (Japan), the late nineteenth century (Vietnam), and the early twentieth century (China and Africa), thus shifting the focus from the European Enlightenment to the age of European imperialism. This time lag is not surprising, in that the prison was an export of the late-nineteenth-century colonial project, albeit reinterpreted by local rulers to serve their interests. The new studies thus direct our attention away from debates about the birth of the prison as an institution to the birth of imprisonment as the dominant form of worldwide punishment. When did incarceration become the global response to crime? At what date did the majority of the worlds population begin to face imprisonment rather than traditional penal sanctions? To answer this question, the late nineteenth/early twentieth century is replacing the classical period of the revisionist paradigm, a century earlier, as the more important focus of current historical research. While prisons were exported as part of the civilizing mission of the imperialist powers, they were exible enough to serve the strategies of very different political regimes. In some cases, similar political climates encouraged the abolition of corporal punishment in favor of incarceration during both the classic age of the birth of the prison in Europe and the United States (17601840) and the age of globalization (18801940). For China, Japan, and Peru, nations that were independent, prisons became an architectural symbol of modernity and a sign of advancing civilization. In all three cases, the building of penitentiaries formed part of a larger wave of liberal reform, whether the government was a republic (China after the Qing and Peru) or a monarchy (Japan). Crucially linked to the overhaul of the justice system as part of state-building, the new penitentiaries in theory introduced a democracy of punishment for all citizens. The case was quite different in the colonial societies of Vietnam and Africa, where the Enlightenment values of liberalism, equality, and humanity in punishment were almost entirely absent. While colonial administrators themselves came from nations professing these ideals and defended the imposition of widespread imprisonment on native subjects as part of the civilizing mission, they never intended to build autonomous states or to confer citizenship on their subjects. The colonial enterprise was surely one of discipline and not reform. The practice of prison reform, the second issue that must now be reconsidered in a global perspective, diverged markedly between the independent and colonial societies discussed in the ve books. This is not to say that any of the authors believe that practices inside prisons lived up to the legal principles that supposedly guaranteed a disciplined but humane environment providing moral regeneration, edu-

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cation, and vocational training to all prisoners. Nor did prison administrators fully implement the Western model of individualization, the separation of various categories of prisoners (men and women, adults and children, suspects and convicts, the healthy and the sick/insane) in different cells with appropriate daily regimes. Yet China and Japan seriously sought to replace corporal punishment with reforming penitentiaries, which became a source of national pride. Peru also enacted liberal prison legislation modeled on the European ideal, but it was rarely enforced because it cut against the grain of a fundamentally hierarchical and exclusionary social structure. In contrast, little pretense of reform characterized the functioning of colonial penitentiaries in Vietnam and Africa, where disorder, corruption, and communal cells were the order of the day. The centrality of forced labor also distinguished many non-Western prisons, whether or not they were under colonial domination. Of course, work was central to the original vision of early European and American prison reformers, but as much, if not more, for its promise to inculcate inmates with bourgeois habits of diligence, regularity, and sobriety as for the purpose of prot.59 In fact, prisons built on the Philadelphia model could never promise large revenues, because only artisanal types of work could be pursued in individual cells. Even penitentiaries with common workshops failed to bring in much prot, partly because of the opposition of free workers in Europe and the United States to unfair competition from much lower-paid inmates. In contrast, China and even more so Japan employed their prisoners to open up underpopulated areas for colonization by reclaiming agricultural wastelands, building infrastructure, and mining raw materials. According to Bernault, economic motives were central to the prison project in many African colonies, where prisoners provided a docile, cheap, and constantly available labor force for underpaid tasks for private entrepreneurs and plantation owners as well as for the colonial administration.60 Such hard and often deadly work had almost disappeared in Europe with the closing in the nineteenth century of the continental bagnes that had replaced the galleys a century earlier.61 The new research on non-Western prisons has also emphasized a third issue, prison subculture, which has largely been ignored in the traditional paradigm. The exception was OBriens extensive analysis of the world of French prisoners, which is cited frequently in recent studies as a model for attempting to reconstruct daily
59 The treadwheel, introduced into English prisons by the Prison Act of 1865, was an extreme example of hard labor that produced nothing of economic value. See Sea n McConville, The Victorian Prison: England, 18651965, in Morris and Rothman, The Oxford History of the Prison, 131133. A recent work that contests this consensus and argues that labor was indeed central to the Westernin this case Americanprison project is Rebecca M. McLennan, The Crisis of Imprisonment: Protest, Politics, and the Making of the American Penal State, 17761941 (New York, 2008). 60 Bernault, A History of Prison and Connement in Africa, 22. 61 The exception was those European felons transported to Australia, French Guiana/Caledonia, or other European penal colonies, where they were treated almost as colonial subjects. On transportation, see Stephen Nicholas, ed., Convict Workers: Reinterpreting Australias Past (Cambridge, 1988); Joy Damousi, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts, Sexuality and Gender in Colonial Australia (Cambridge, 1997); Alice Bullard, Exile to Paradise: Savagery and Civilization in Paris and the South Pacic, 17901900 (Stanford, Calif., 2000); Peter Redeld, Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana (Berkeley, Calif., 2000); Gwenda Morgan and Peter Rushton, Eighteenth-Century Transportation: The Formation of the Criminal Atlantic (Basingstoke, 2004); and Stephen A. Toth, Beyond Papillon: The French Overseas Penal Colonies, 1854 1952 (Lincoln, Neb., 2006).

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life within prisons.62 But for the most part, historians of early penitentiaries in Europe and the United States, while admitting that prisoners frequently lacked adequate food, clean cells, and good medical care, have focused nevertheless on the discourse of statesmen, reformers, and administrators in a quest to understand why the prison came to be seen as the answer to a host of perceived social issues. While not rejecting the cultural turn, and especially the multiple ways in which colonial ofcials or non-Western rulers appropriated foreign penological theories and reinvented them for their own purposes, scholars are also returning to an interest in social history, or history from below.63 They attempt to reconstruct the interaction between prisoners and their guards, which took the form of both collaboration and violent conict. Guards, who came primarily from the same impoverished class as most prisoners and were usually just as poorly educated, endured harsh working conditions characterized by low pay, danger from prisoner violence, and humiliating submission to middle-class administrators. In Vietnam, penal colonies on the borders were staffed by members of non-Vietnamese minority groups, which only increased tensions between guards and inmates. Yet, as Aguirre shows in great detail for Peru, collusion frequently developed between the two groups, allowing a subculture of illegal transactions, homosexuality, and self-organization within the inmate community. Thus inmates were not entirely passive recipients of discipline, although their agency was severely circumscribed by prison walls and militarized guards. In their quest to reconstruct the experience of imprisonment, the authors of these ve new books have actively sought out new sources rarely used in previous studies. Letters of grievance, sometimes by groups of prisoners, were permitted in some nations and offer insight into both the conditions of everyday life and also, by their tone, the degree of militancy among inmates. In China, for example, Diko tter found that prisoners frequently requested better food, health care, and education but rarely complained about violent treatment by guards. Thus he cautiously concludes that Chinese authorities took seriously the European principle of eliminating corporal punishment. Written complaints seem not to have been tolerated in colonial Vietnam, so that prisoners frequently resorted to revolt to air their opposition to the prison regime. With the rise of the anticolonial and communist movements of the 1920s and 1930s, the number of political prisoners grew throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Often middle-class and literate, these radical inmates used letters and petitions to ensure that their grievances were heard outside prison walls. Opposition and colonial newspapers publicized the repressive and inhumane conditions of local prisons, sometimes championing political prisoners as martyred heroes. Finally, many political opponents wrote memoirs after their release, which, while cast in politically prescribed molds, nevertheless offer valuable glimpses into the lives of those incarcerated for not only political but also common crimes. Although the
62 For the early modern period, Spierenburg should also be given credit for focusing on prisoner life in workhouses. 63 Diko tter uses this phrase, borrowed from the heyday of social history in the 1970s and 1980s, in his introduction to Crime, Punishment and the Prison in Modern China, 22. Alyson Brown shares a similar concern in her attempt to understand the perspective of inmates as expressed through their frequent infractions and revolts; Brown, English Society and the Prison: Time, Culture and Politics in the Development of the Modern Prison, 18501920 (Rochester, N.Y., 2003).

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full range of these sourcesletters of grievance, petitions, newspaper expose s, and memoirsmay not be as abundant before the twentieth century, the history of the birth of prisons in Europe and the United States would be enriched by complementing the existing history from above about discourse and institutions with a social history from below about inmate life. Race is the fourth issue treated in the ve books, and it is the most important because it conditions the other three and is fundamental for understanding the historical trajectory of non-Western prisons. Largely absent from the pioneering studies of the birth of the prison in Europe and the United States, racism must now be incorporated into any new global paradigm of prison history. The only previous body of work that has made race central to the analysis of changing modes of punishment treats convict labor in the American South, where the private disciplining of black slaves by their owners before the Civil War was replaced by the public chain gang.64 Most historians have emphasized the paternalism and violence of the leasing system, although a recent book by Mary Ellen Curtin argues that African American prisoners who were contracted out to work in the mines of Alabama at least learned skills that could be turned into jobs after their release and took advantage of state law to ght oppressive work rules.65 Despite these unintended consequences, the parallels between the American South and colonial societies during the age of imperialism are striking. In both cases, the overarching purpose of punishment was the subjection of non-white peoples to the white ruling class rather than the introduction of equality before the law or of popular sovereignty. Outgrowths of prisoner-of-war camps, the new penitentiaries in Vietnam and Africa did not replicate the European ideal of punishing the mind rather than the body. Instead, both violence and forced labor were employed indiscriminately by guards and administrators as part of the colonial enterprise of subjecting supposedly inferior races to white hegemony. By foregrounding race, the new studies challenge the perspective of historians of Europe and the United States who have tended to characterize the prison population as a relatively homogeneous group of lower-class men. But a closer inspection of Western nations may make race and ethnicity visible and help to explain certain persistent features of their prison regimes. For example, racial difference was thought to determine the criminal behavior of the Irish in Great Britain, the Sicilians in Italy, and immigrants to the United States from Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Did theories of biological determinism shape penal policies in ways similar to colonial societies, where prisons were places of violence and forced labor rather than reform? Was there a hierarchy of prisoners in which higher-ranking ethnic groups
64 For example, see Michael Stephen Hindus, Prison and Plantation: Crime, Justice, and Authority in Massachusetts and South Carolina, 17671878 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1980); Alex Lichtenstein, Twice the Work of Free Labor: The Political Economy of Convict Labor in the New South (New York, 1996); David M. Oshinsky, Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice (New York, 1996); Matthew J. Mancini, One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 18661928 (Columbia, S.C., 1996); and Martha A. Myers, Race, Labor, and Punishment in the New South (Columbus, Ohio, 1998). Robert David Ward and William Warren Rogers point out that Alabama, and perhaps the South in general, participated in the same early national movement for prison reform analyzed by Rothman until the 1840s, when preoccupations with defending slavery began to dene a unique southern penal policy that culminated in the leasing system; Ward and Rogers, Alabamas Response to the Penitentiary Movement, 18291865 (Gainesville, Fla., 2003). 65 Mary Ellen Curtin, Black Prisoners and Their World: Alabama, 18651900 (Charlottesville, Va., 2000).

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received separate cells, special privileges, and/or individualization of punishment? Did the experience of exporting prisons to the colonies in turn affect Western philosophies of punishment and change the penal practices of imperialist nations for their own subjects?

THE RECENT SPATE OF PUBLICATIONS in prison history is so rich that authors in the non-Western world are not alone in suggesting future directions for research. The geographical area that inspired the original revisionist paradigmEurope and the United Stateshas also produced several provocative new studies that will redirect attention to several underexplored topics. In Criminal Intimacies: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality, Regina Kunzel demonstrates how samesex sex was constitutive of the modern prison as a succession of expertsrst religious reformers, then medical doctors, and nally psychologists, psychiatrists, and sociologistshelped to shape prison policy.66 Guy Geltner, in The Medieval Prison: A Social History, argues that punitive prisons date back to medieval Europe, when Florence and Venice built well-run institutions that were anything but the stereotypical hellhole of the medieval dungeon.67 Finally, the politicization of punishment is the focus of Nikolaus Wachsmanns study Hitlers Prisons: Legal Terror in Nazi Germany, which demonstrates that the brutal violence typical of the SS camps increasingly became the fate of common criminals held in the traditional prison system.68 The nexus between prisons and politics is also a concern of the new books on non-Western prisons, where decolonization led not to their abolition but to the
66 Regina Kunzel, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality (Chicago, 2008). For two earlier essays on the sex problem in prison, see Estelle B. Freedman, The Prison Lesbian: Race, Class, and the Construction of the Aggressive Female Homosexual, 19151965, Feminist Studies 22, no. 2 (1996): 397 423; and Elise Chenier, Segregating Sexualities: The Prison Sex Problem in Twentieth-Century Canada and the United States, in Strange and Bashford, Isolation, 7185. 67 Guy Geltner, The Medieval Prison: A Social History (Princeton, N.J., 2008). Similar arguments have been made for England by Richard W. Ireland, Theory and Practice within the Medieval English Prison, American Journal of Legal History 31, no. 1 (1987): 5667. Ireland argues that imprisonment for debtors, introduced in 1352, had a punitive aspect meant to protect the kings interests and dignity in addition to its long-recognized purpose of encouraging repayment to creditors. Similarly, Joanne Innes backdates the birth of penal institutions, in this case only to 1555, with the establishment of the rst English bridewell. She characterizes English bridewells and houses of correction as sites of punishment and reformation of the working poor that occupied an important niche in penal policy until 1865, when they were merged with local jails. She thus suggests a periodization in which bridewells both preceded and postdated the supposed birth of the modern prison. See Innes, Prisons for the Poor: English Bridewells, 15501800, in Francis Snyder and Douglas Hay, eds., Labour, Law and Crime: An Historical Perspective (London, 1987), 42122. 68 Wachsmann, Hitlers Prisons. The politicization of prison systems should not be assumed to occur under all non-democratic regimes. Peter Solomon has argued, for example, that Lenins administration introduced Western prison reforms after the Russian Revolution, and that abandonment of the rehabilitative model occurred only later, under Stalin, who needed a supply of cheap prison labor for his plan for rapid and forced industrialization. See Peter H. Solomon, Jr., Soviet Penal Policy, 19171934: A Reinterpretation, Slavic Review 39, no. 2 (1980): 195217. Like Solomon, Michael Jakobson documents the Bolsheviks commitment to prison reform but emphasizes the chaos of a penal system administered by a variety of competing state agencies; Jakobson, Origins of the Gulag: The Soviet Prison Camp System, 19171934 (Lexington, Ky., 1993).

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appropriation and sometimes exaggeration of the most repressive features of the Western model of disciplinary institutions.69 In conclusion, the new works on prison history in Asia, Africa, and Latin America point the way toward a global history of punishment that emphasizes the circulation of discourses and practices among continents and within regions. Most obviously, the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the diffusion of the ideal of the reforming penitentiary from Europe and the United States to the rest of the world through a variety of means: direct imposition by colonial administrators, indirect diplomatic pressure from imperialist powers, and active appropriation by modernizing nation-states. Statesmen and experts in the receiving countries obtained knowledge of the Western model through a variety of channels: by reading and translating European and American criminological texts and journals, by touring Western prisons, and by hiring foreign consultants. Yet the ow of information did not move only from west to east or from north to south; representatives from non-Western nations attended the International Prison Congresses in Europe and the United States to explain their adaptation of the Western model and began to publish their own criminological textbooks and journals. Information also owed back to metropolitan governments from colonial administrators, whose reports about indigenous inmates in prisons under their supervision must have reinforced the scientic racism that characterized the emerging eld of criminology. Furthermore, political prisoners created enough publicity through their writings, interviews with journalists, and periodic revolts that the abysmal conditions in colonial prisons became a global issue that could not be ignored and even inspired protests by Western prison reform societies. Future research must build on these innovative and provocative insights when mapping the birth of the prison in nations and regions yet unstudied. The experience of women prisonersmarginal to the new non-Western studiesmust become a more developed eld of inquiry, one that promises to challenge the revisionist paradigm as radically as has race.70 As prisons globalize their history, global history in turn would prot from integrating this new eld into its growing and dynamic agenda,
69 Peter Zinoman, for example, concludes his analysis of Vietnamese prisons by arguing that communist institutional innovations such as rituals of public criticism and self-criticism embody modern disciplinary technologies more perfectly than the Western institutions condemned by Foucault; The Colonial Bastille, 302. 70 Sufcient research on women already exists to begin to construct a gendered history of connement. See Anne M. Butler, Gendered Justice in the American West: Women Prisoners in Mens Penitentiaries (Urbana, Ill., 1997); L. Mara Dodge, Whores and Thieves of the Worst Kind: A Study of Women, Crime, and Prisons, 18352000 (DeKalb, Ill., 2002). Mark E. Kann has also made gender central to his recent application of the category of patriarchy to early American prisons; Kann, Punishment, Prisons, and Patriarchy: Liberty and Power in the Early American Republic (New York, 2005). Several collections of essays on institutions of connement contain one or two entries on women. See Claudie Lesselier, Les femmes et la prison, 18201939, in Petit, La prison, le bagne et lhistoire, 115128; Claude Langlois, Lintroduction des congre gations fe minines dans le syste `me pe nitentiaire franc ais, 18391880, ibid., 129140; Mar a Soledad Za rate Campos, Vicious Women, Virtuous Women: The Female Delinquent and the Santiago de Chile Correctional House, 18601900, in Salvatore and Aguirre, The Birth of the Penitentiary in Latin America, 78100; Donna J. Guy, Girls in Prison: The Role of the Buenos Aires Casa Correccional de Mujeres as an Institution for Child Rescue, 18901940, in Salvatore, Aguirre, and Joseph, Crime and Punishment in Latin America, 369390; Kristen Ruggiero, Houses of Deposit and the Exclusion of Women in Turn-of-the-Century Argentina, in Strange and Bashford, Isolation, 119132; Lila M. Caimari, Whose Criminals Are These? Church, State, and Patronatos and the Rehabilitation of Female Convicts (Buenos Aires, 18901940), The Americas 54, no. 2 (1997): 185208; and Zedner, Wayward Sisters.

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which has for the most part ignored the broad area of law and crime.71 Although the denition of global history is still being debated, the prison clearly ts several of its fundamental criteria as an institution that, while born in the West, has been shaped by cross-cultural interaction and adopted by many nations. Only when historians can map the multivalent form and function of the prison from a global perspective can they begin to investigate Foucaults larger claim that a carceral continuum constitutes an inherent and dangerous characteristic of modern society.
71 For example, Patrick Mannings comprehensive overview of research in world history does not include the words law, crime, or prison in its index; Manning, Navigating World History: Historians Create a Global Past (New York, 2003). For another key discussion of global history, see Bruce Mazlish, Comparing Global History to World History, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 28, no. 3 (1998): 385 395.

Mary Gibson is Professor of History at John Jay College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is author of Prostitution and the State in Italy, 18601915 (Rutgers University Press, 1986) and Born to Crime: Cesare Lombroso and the Origins of Biological Criminology (Praeger, 2002). She has translated (with Nicole Hahn Rafter) Cesare Lombrosos classic criminological texts Criminal Woman, the Prostitute, and the Normal Woman (Duke University Press, 2004) and Criminal Man (Duke University Press, 2006). She is currently working on a history of prisons in modern Italy.

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