Making Connections through Scholarship
When Associate Provost and Professor of Geography Karen Morin came to Lewisburg more than two decades ago to teach geography, she began seeking ways to connect to the local community. After attending a meeting of the Lewisburg Prison Project, which Morin describes as “a local nonprofit dedicated to protecting the civil and human rights of people incarcerated in the Middle District of Pennsylvania,” she knew she’d made the right choice.

Since then Morin has published five books, two of which relate to the prison-industrial complex, 2015’s Historical Geographies of Prisons: Unlocking the Usable Carceral Past, co-edited with British geographer Dominique Moran, and 2018’s Carceral Space, Prisoners and Animals.

In her latest book, Morin says she took her “interest in carceral geography and expanded it to include captive animals. I find there are many common denominators across the mass exploitation of animals and mass incarceration of humans, which originate in the ‘animalization’ of certain beings.

“There is a connection between both prisoners and animals treated as property and commodity,” she adds. “There is a geography of invisibility with both, and legal potholes fail to protect certain animals and prisoners. There is a whole bundle of connections.”

With the new book, Morin hopes to draw attention to “industrial violence that is taken for granted as part of everyday life.” She wants to ensure that “what’s happening in prisons, as well as what’s happening with animal confinement and enclosure, is on our radar.” — Sherri Kimmel