States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories

The first HAL project focuses on the past, present, and future of incarceration, exploring the explosion of prisons and incarcerated people in the US — including immigration detention centers — and its global dimensions. States of Incarceration brings together the national community of over 500 people in 20 cities who together created a traveling exhibit on the past, present, and future of mass incarceration. Teams of students and people directly affected by incarceration from 20 cities each explored a history of incarceration in their own community, from Angola’s slave plantation-turned-prison in Louisiana, to the legacies of the Dakota Wars for Native American incarceration in Minnesota, to immigration detention at Ellis Island and Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Click here for States of Incarceration Exhibition Schedule
Learn more about the HAL University Partners
Learn more about the April 2016 National Launch & Conference
Watch videos from the States of Incarceration Launch & Conference

The Pilot: Guantánamo Public Memory Project

Launched in Fall 2012, the Guantánamo Public Memory Project brought together over 300 students from 13 universities to research, document, and interpret the history of the US naval base at Guantánamo, Bay, Cuba and foster public dialogue on the urgent questions it raises today. The Project was motivated by concern that the vitriolic public debate over “closing Guantánamo” was severely limited by ignorance of how GTMO had been “closed” before, and how it could open again.Students enrolled in courses, taught simultaneously across the country, that used nationally shared teaching resources combining history, theories of memory and social change, and hands-on experience. Students from around the country collaborated with more than 600 community stakeholders including Haitian refugees, former service people, and attorneys representing current detainees to explore GTMO’s history from many perspectives, and the questions it raises today. Together they created a traveling exhibit, web platform, digital and physical archive, interview collection, and series of public dialogues. The exhibit has traveled for more than 3 years to 18 cities and counting, with public dialogues in each place.  More than 500,000 people will have had a face-to-face encounter with the exhibit, and many more online and through social media.