University of Dundee, Scotland, DD1 4HN, UK

18-19 June 2015

This event seeks to draw together researchers working across disciplines to explore how prison and other carceral institutions can function as a site of political repression and dissent. In doing so, it aims to create a comparative context within which attendees can explore larger questions of prisoners’ agency and their capacity to shape power relations within and outside the prison. In this respect, political protest is defined in its widest sense. It includes examples of overtly political or collective acts of protest; for example, political education, rioting, work and hunger strikes. However, researchers are also invited to explore everyday or passive examples of resistance by prisoners.

The meeting seeks to cover cases where prisoners have been incarcerated as a result of their political activity and are therefore deemed “political prisoners,” but also where “ordinary prisoners” have been politicized during their incarceration.

For further information, please contact the organiser, Dr Zoe Colley,

This event is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.




Some topics that arise from studying the prisoner as a political actor and the prison as a political stage include, but are not limited to:

  • The use of penal institutions and labour camps as sites of political repression.
  • The wider impact of political incarceration upon social and anti-colonial movements.
  • The relationship between prisoners’ protests and political movements outside the prison walls.
  • Literary and other creative expressions of resistance.
  • The influence of race, gender, and ethnicity upon prisoners’ political outlook.
  • Religious conversion.
  • Everyday forms of prisoner resistance and the extent to which these can alleviate the “pains of imprisonment.”
  • State responses to prisoner protest and strategies used to suppress challenges to its authority.
  • The long-term impact of prisoners’ political activity upon penal regimes and larger political debates.

Proposals for individual papers, panels, or roundtable sessions are invited. The event is open to researchers working across disciplines, periods, and place. 




If you wish to submit a paper, please send a 300 word abstract and curriculum vitae for each paper/presenter to by 15 March 2015. 

Those selected to present papers will have the cost of standard class travel and accommodation covered for the duration of the meeting.

Download the Call for Papers



Attendance at the event is free, but registration is required and places are limited.

For those who wish to attend without presenting a paper, please email  by 22 May 2015.

Travel & Accommdation

Travel & Accommodation

The following websites may help you make your travel arrangements:


Travelling to Dundee:

Travelling to the University of Dundee:


Rates including breakfast for those attending the conference have been secured with the Queen’s Hotel, Dundee:

  • £65 per night for single occupancy
  • £85 per night for double occupancy.

To book, please contact the hotel directly on 01382 322515 and inform them you are attending The Political Prison conference.
Accommodation must be booked by 1 May 2015 to secure this rate.

Other accommodation options:

Visitor Information