During the Fall 2018 semester Dr. LaShawn Harris offered a first of its kind class in conjunction with the “States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue on Local Histories” exhibit featured at the Michigan History Center. Dr. Harris’ HST 480 class, Histories of The Carceral State, focused on the history of cultural and leisure activities at Jackson State Penitentiary. According to Dr. Harris, students engaged directly with persons who were incarcerated, becoming part of a “national dialogue about what confinement means.”
The class looked at different types of formal and informal rehabilitation programs at Jackson State Penitentiary from 1900 to the 1940s. Students worked in pairs to create online projects about incarceration with help from MSU’s Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research (LEADR). Based on these projects the HST 480 class created a new exhibit panel for the “States of Incarceration” exhibit which is still on display at the Michigan History Center. The new panel consists of photos and primary source documents showing rehabilitation programs that centered around art, music, and sports. The panel is a summary of what the students found when making their websites. The new exhibit panel displayed is both ideas taken from the students themselves, along with Dr. Harris’ own research.
The exhibit created by Dr. Harris’ HST 480 course will debut at the Michigan History Center on Tuesday, March 19th at 5:00pm. The new exhibit panel will be on display at the Michigan History Center until May 19th, 2019 and then travel throughout the country.