Cornell University

This is a past event. Its details are archived for historical purposes.

The contact information may no longer be valid.

Please visit our current events listings to look for similar events by title, location, or venue.

The closed and the Open Prison: Contested Imaginaries and the Limits of Openness

Monday, November 28, 2022 at 12:15pm

Uris Hall, G08
Central Campus

Talk by Trishna Senapaty

This talk explores the conceptual landscape of open prisons in India. Open prisons are institutions intended to facilitate prisoner rehabilitation by permitting them to live in small dwellings with their families and earn livelihoods outside their boundary walls. The talk delves into the tensions between how 'openness' is conceived in prison reform documents and the multiple ways in which it is imagined and materialized through everyday practices. It focuses on a specific open prison in Rajasthan, India, which is considered exceptional even as far as open prisons are concerned, both for its scale and forms of community. It draws attention to its histories and modes of governance that incrementally shape its socio-spatial landscape. This is followed by an interrogation of the elevated status this specific prison enjoys in penal discourse as an idealized community of reformed prisoners while underscoring the open prison's overall potential as a shifting institutional form. By drawing on ethnographic research conducted with activists, advocates, formerly incarcerated persons, and open prison residents, this talk contributes to the study of governance, political and legal institutions, and the carceral state.

Trishna Senapaty is an SSRC IDRF fellow and a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Cornell University. Her interests at the intersection of feminist and carceral studies are informed by her experiences working as an educator and volunteer in prisons in India and the US. Her research focuses on prisons and custodial institutions in India, transformative politics and spaces, and anti-carceral socio-legal formations. 

Google Calendar iCal Outlook
Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, South Asia Program, Anthropology


cascal, asianstudiescal, anthro, cashum, fgsscal



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Gloria Lemus-Chavez

Contact Phone


Dept. Web Site

Open To

Cornell community only

Recent Activity