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Freedom & Captivity: The Soundscape of American Hyperincarceration

Wednesday | September 29, 2021
5:30pm - 7:00pm

Location: Zoom
Audience: Adults

Dr. Andrew McGraw (University of Richmond) situates the Richmond, Virginia city jail within the highly racialized context of contemporary American hyperincarceration and describes the ways in which the sounds of suffering were muted in the transition from the old city jail to a new, “cutting edge” facility in 2014. McGraw discusses the music that residents have produced in both facilities and concludes by arguing that the contemporary jail is only one component of several interlocking structures that sonically segregates Richmond’s majority African American population from its minority Anglo-American population. Studying carceral soundscapes represents a political intervention by bringing into the public auditorium the sounds of suffering that have been muted both within and without penal institutions. 

Andrew McGraw - photo by Jorge VismaraAndrew McGraw is an associate professor of music at the University of Richmond in Virginia. He is the author of Radical Traditions: Reimagining Culture in Balinese Experimental Music (Oxford 2013) and Music as Ethics (forthcoming on Oxford 2022). He has co-edited two volumes on Indonesian music: Performing Indonesia, with Sumarsam (Smithsonian 2014) and Sounding Out the State of Indonesian Music, with Chris Miller (forthcoming on Cornell 2022). He has published numerous articles music and ethics as well as analytical pieces on temporality in Balinese, Javanese, and Cuban musics. In Richmond he facilitates community gamelan and kroncong ensembles, and runs a music program in the Richmond City Jail. 


Freedom & Captivity logoFreedom & Captivity is a coalition-based state-wide public humanities initiative to bring critical perspectives from the humanities to the interrogation of incarceration. Recognizing that mass incarceration is fueled by racism and profit-generating mechanisms that tear apart communities and families, the project offers opportunities to educate the public about benefits of prison abolition and the redirection of resources toward community investments, the repair of racial and gender injustice, intergenerational trauma, and eldercare for the aging population in Maine’s prisons. The project, which includes art exhibitions, workshops, webinars, a podcast, documentary projects, and linked courses taught across Maine’s campuses, aims to cultivate opportunities for imagining freedom in an abolitionist society. The project is conceived with the participation of people in Maine directly impacted by the carceral system. 

Full Zoom Info:

You will find yourself in a waiting room when you first enter the Zoom gathering, or you may receive a message that the meeting has not yet started. The host will admit you to the program at 5:30.   

All microphones will be automatically muted by the host. If you would like to participate in the Q&A, you can send your question to the host via Zoom’s chat or Q&A features.  

By entering into the Zoom program, you are agreeing to have your image captured and shared by Portland Public Library.   

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Webinar ID: 861 5892 6283