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IR5731   Prisons: Spaces of Power, Resistance and Peacebuilding

Academic year(s): 2023-2024

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 30

ECTS credits : 15

Level : SCQF level 11

Semester: 2

Planned timetable: Friday 3-5pm

Today, millions of people are caged in prisons. Those are often the society's most oppressed and marginalized communities. Prisons have for long been the response to almost all societal problems. In the words of professor and activist Angela Davis, 'Prisons have become a response of first resorts to so many of the society's problems'. They are the response to poverty, drugs, and political dissent. And it is often people of color, especially Black people, who are the most impacted by those violent spaces.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 1 lecture (X11 weeks), 2 tutorials (X10 weeks), 3 hours preparation (X11 weeks), 2 hours office hours (X11 weeks), 2 hours for film/video viewing (X11weeks ), 1 hours one-to-one supervision (X11 weeks).

Scheduled learning hours: 108

Guided independent study hours: 187

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework = 100%

As defined by QAA
Coursework: 100%

Re-assessment: Coursework = 100%


Module coordinator: Dr M M B Shwaikh
Module teaching staff: Dr Malaka Shwaikh

Intended learning outcomes

  • Critically engage with the subject of abolition, its significance in the modern day, and be able to develop an argument on whether it is possible in the current political climate.
  • Develop an understanding of the key arguments surrounding the nature of global prisons and what they are built for, violence of the authorities/prisoners, resistance of the prisoners, and peacebuilding approaches and the way they impact on the national and international just and sustainable peace.
  • Examine the role of prisons in managing justice and peacebuilding efforts through several case studies.
  • Develop a multidisciplinary understanding of how and why prisons emerge and their impact on the society and whether they achieve what they are built for?
  • Critically analyze resistance within prisons and the resource mobilization of tactics and bodies to resist.
  • Contextualize the racial injustice that allow prison authorities to put more people of color in prisons for longer periods and sometimes without charges.