OU Carceral Studies Consortium Invites Applications for Faculty Director

Faculty Director, Carceral Studies Consortium

Review of applications to begin Nov. 15th and continue until filled.

  • Application requirements: Letter of interest and qualifications, full CV, and names of three references (see below)

The Carceral Studies Consortium invites applications from OU faculty for the role of Faculty Director of the OU Carceral Studies Consortium. Applicants must be full or associate professors at OU at time of application in any discipline with a connection to Carceral Studies.   

The Carceral Studies Consortium brings together faculty, staff and students from across the University of Oklahoma and beyond to cultivate and support rigorous research, pedagogy, and community engagement toward social transformation. The Carceral Studies Consortium is a grassroots initiative started by OU faculty in 2019. In the CSC’s short history, it has grown to include over 20 faculty, staff, students, and community members drawn from two universities, seven OU colleges, three campus divisions, and two off-campus organizations. The group provides a platform for scholars and advocates across our campus and beyond to connect and a platform to support critical work in this area.

To date, the CSC has hosted lectures, film screenings, workshops and supported dedicated courses in carceral studies. We have a bi-weekly newsletter and a podcast series that highlights the voices and perspectives of leading scholars and activists around the world.  The Consortium offers micro-grants to OU faculty, staff, and students to support the development of research, pedagogy, and community engagement projects relating to carceral studies. The CSC offers annual student prizes to recognize excellence in scholarly or creative work from any discipline which engages carceral studies, broadly construed.

This CSC Faculty Director will contribute to the goal of building research, scholarship and creative activity at OU by building on the foundational infrastructure of the Consortium to make OU a community and national leader in the field. Working with the CSC Board, the new Director will develop the Consortium in alignment with three of the VPRP’s strategic priorities: Environment, Energy and Sustainability; The Future of Health; and Society and Community Transformation. The Director’s work as a leader of the Consortium will help fulfill the Strategic Plan’s key pillar of enriching and positively impacting Oklahoma, the Nation and the World through research and creative activity. The Director will oversee and support transdisciplinary research and community engagement work in areas including therapeutic approaches to Carceral Studies (e.g., trauma informed movement facilitation; supporting healthy mother-child bonding for incarcerated women, restorative writing), advocacy and social justice approaches (e.g., race, gender and prison labor, environmental justice, community organizing around racial justice), exploring policing policies and practices (e.g., eyewitness identification bias, effects of policing on marginalized communities), and effects on children (e.g., punishment in schools, delinquency in schools, reducing violence and trauma for youth).

Role Overview

  • Role Requirements: The Director should be a highly motivated research leader and/or community organizer with a proven track record of securing significant funding and/or community engagement capacity building in the broad area of carceral studies. All disciplinary backgrounds are welcome; must be an associate or full professor. Applicants should have confirmation from their Chair and Dean that they may serve in this role as a part of their regular faculty role. A supplemental stipend will be offered to Director.
  • Team & Resources: The Consortium has a core board of 5 members and a Grad Fellow (8 hours/week) to help support regular planning efforts, as well as more than 20 affiliate board members from the campus and local community committed to providing support where possible. In addition, the Consortium has a podcast, newsletter, micro-grant program, and more.
  • Consortium Goals: Short term goals to cultivate a community of scholars & community partners; grow offerings in support of community. Long-term goals: funded research & community engagement activity that supports interdisciplinary teams partnering toward transformational work in our communities; postdoctoral researchers to support consortium administration and research/CE projects; undergraduate certificate/degree program in Carceral Studies.
  • Timing: Review of applications will begin Nov. 15th and continue until filled, with an anticipated start date of January 1st, 2022.


  • Applicants are encouraged to review the Consortium website for a full list of past and current programs (architecture.ou.edu/csc)
  • Submit applications (including letter of interest and qualifications, full CV, and names of three references) to: carceralstudies@ou.edu.  For inquiries contact Matt Bejar at mdbejar@ou.edu

About Carceral Studies

Carceral Studies takes as its primary subject of inquiry the contemporary problem of states and societies organized by punishment and incarceration.

This cutting-edge, robust area of scholarship extends this inquiry into the wide range of conditions that organize social and political systems—from cultural thought to the built environment to apparatuses of state governance—that shape, sustain, and entrench practices and commonsense notions of punishment and incarceration.

Carceral Studies is concerned with both the independent function and nexus of these systems. For instance, a political science theorist might ask: How is contemporary nationalism framed to privilege patriotism in its punitive forms? A population health scholar might inquire: How does the commonsense punishing of poverty as a personal failure lead to pockets of drug addiction, or other patterns of human behavior linked to higher rates of incarceration? A literary scholar might ask: How do troubling norms of the memoir genre entrench punishment as a productive prompt for learning, growth, and independence? And, a legal theorist might inquire: How do anti-immigration litigation and legal constructions of citizenship naturalize detention and incarceration as legitimate punishments over and above human rights?

Carceral Studies convenes scholars asking related questions across a range of disciplines and fields and brings them into analytical conversation. Specifically, it forms a scholarly nexus of these lines of inquiry, building capacity for more rigorous, far-reaching observation. For instance, a collective comprised of Education, Architecture, Human Geography, Economics, and Political Science scholars might offer a dexterous, fertile analysis of the ways in which schools and prisons interact to cement mass incarceration. In so doing, they also offer the greatest possibility for intervention and transformation. This multi-disciplinary observation promises to address some of our most pressing social issues of our time and context. In fact, it is the premise of Carceral Studies that the problem of carcerality can only be addressed by the sophisticated coming-together of different disciplines and fields, a rich array of theoretical traditions, and a diverse set of methodological interventions. It does not privilege one above the other, but rather presumes the necessity of the whole. In this way Carceral Studies not only promises to move us toward a more just society, it also offers a model of necessarily collaborative scholarly endeavor.