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Grant number like: FT-52453-04

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James Jonathan Willis
University of Massachusetts, Boston (Boston, MA 02125-3300)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 8/31/2004

The Relationship between Transportation and Imprisonment in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain

This project uses historical data to compare the development of the penitentiary in Britain to its primary, yet largely unexamined, penal substitute, the transportation of felons to America and Australia. In doing so, it provides an alternative explanation for the ascendancy of institutionalized imprisonment. Moving beyond debates on the penitentiary as a mechanism of repression or reform, I argue that these institutions were made possible by: (1) changes in the structure and administration of the state’s penal apparatus (from decentralized to centralized and patrimonial to bureaucratic); and (2) transformations in popular understandings of the state’s power to punish in correspondence with the expansion of a more equal definition of citizenship (democratization).