Territories of Incarceration: Architecture and Judicial Procedure Across the English Channel
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationHaber-Thomson, Lisa. 2019. Territories of Incarceration: Architecture and Judicial Procedure Across the English Channel. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation focuses on the agency of architecture in producing material geographies of law, and shows that carceral spaces across the British Empire played a wide role in the development of English Common Law—well beyond their functional use as places of punishment. By tracing the material manifestations of judicial procedure, I map out a “legal geography” that was literally constructed through prison buildings across Crown territories. Throughout the years encompassed by the study (the longue durée between the 17th and 20th centuries), changing ideology regarding what constituted the proper architectural form of the prison building, alongside changing ideas regarding the rights of prisoners, reconfigured relationships between architecture, territory, and law.
I posit that the legibility of the prison as an architectural object contributed to the way that justice operated not only in England but also across expanding colonial borders of the British Empire, and that architectural knowledge of the prison extended beyond the well-known panoptic geometries of the late 18th century. I show that those practicing law had a deeply considered understanding of architectural form, and that this understanding was crucial in articulating notions of personal rights. In opening up a long view of the prison building, I argue that incarceration was a multivalent tool in the drawing of political boundaries, in making claims on the bodies of citizens and subjects, and for reinforcing or contesting local authority.
The materials of prison history include of course doctrinal accounts of legal punishment. Alongside these, however, are records of jail-breaks and administrative mishaps; of fictional custodies and the occasional ghost; of Gothic castles and never-built utopic penitentiaries. Prisons and jails, it would seem, are leakier than a historical focus on penal strategies has allowed. Likewise in the history of architecture, carceral spaces have fallen between the cracks all the others jails and prisons have constituted legal personhood. This dissertation reframes the parameters by which architectural history understands the carceral by close attention to the legal instruments that were used to authorize, justify, or contest imprisonment across the British Empire.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365510
- FAS Theses and Dissertations