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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 27, 2020

Disrupting Carceral Narratives: Race, Rape, and the Archives

  • Tonia Sutherland EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Information Science


Using critical archival studies as a methodological frame, this paper applies theories of the carceral archive to two historic legal cases: the Ala Moana Boys and the Central Park Five. Through these two cases I demonstrate that engaging the three primary underpinnings of the carceral archive—documentary records, narrative construction, and Foucauldian conceptions of “the carceral”—can critically expose, complicate, and unsettle carceral narratives, providing a new theoretical framework for troubling what Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie calls “the danger of a single story” in the historical record. Finally, I argue that it is through disrupting carceral narratives and centering more liberatory counter-narratives that archives might envision and promote themselves as sites replete with emancipatory impulses and ripe with liberatory potential.


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Received: 2019-12-21
Accepted: 2020-05-21
Published Online: 2020-08-27

© 2020 Tonia Sutherland, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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