“Race, Gender & the Carceral Net: Disciplinary Technologies and Anti-disciplinary Tactics”

The Women’s Studies Annual Lecture:

Dr Jasmin Yiwani
Associate Professor, Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University

“Race, Gender & the Carceral Net: Disciplinary Technologies and Anti-disciplinary Tactics”


Friday April 8
3:00 to 4:30 pm
HC L3 (Humanities Centre Lecture Hall 3, University of Alberta)

Reception to follow in HC 4-29

In this presentation, I begin with Foucault’s notions of disciplinary power and how its various technologies intermesh in the carceral state. These technologies, I argue, privilege particular regimes of truth that normatively enshrine dominant ways of seeing. This is especially true of the mass media and its circulation of specific economies of representations embedded in colonialist tropes that entrap women, eliding their histories and lived realities. Discourses of worthiness/unworthiness or deserving/undeserving victims mark much of the contemporary underpinnings of the carceral state, most especially its discursive and visual economies of visibility and invisibility. Through examples drawn from media accounts, I demonstrate how these discourses perform ideological labour geared towards upholding hegemonic values vis-à-vis representations of discrete groups of women – from the missing and murdered Aboriginal women to the endangered Afghan women, and from the erasure of everyday gendered violence to its heightened focus in cases involving South Asian and Muslim women. I conclude with a brief discussion of some antidisciplinary tactics, drawing from de Certeau’s work, emanating from subjugated knowledges. These span the continuum from counter-memorials to destabilizing narratives offered through various forms of alternative media.

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