David Christopher Thompson

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Simon Fraser U.

Grant number

Gr. 10190

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Thompson, David (Simon Fraser U.) "'Resocialize to Conquer the Future': Incarceration and Reform in Rio de Janeiro"

DAVID C. THOMPSON, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, was awarded a Hunt Fellowship in October 2021 to aid research and writing on “‘Resocialize to Conquer the Future’: Incarceration and Reform in Rio de Janeiro.” With the support of the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, the grantee completed the manuscript for “Where the Square Sun Rises: Incarceration and Reform in Rio de Janeiro.” This ethnography draws on 24 months of fieldwork in Rio to examine the enduring legal and moral impulse to “resocialize” those held in the state’s prisons. Following parole applications, Christian theater performances, workshops promoting “health and citizenship” and routine escapes, the book argues that prisons are anticipatory institutions that draw in the future to treat, punish, evaluate and ultimately release those held captive within them. This anticipation marks the ongoing project of Black emancipation in Brazil, one marked by the combined assurance and deferral of freedom. Those imprisoned in Rio are held hostage for resocialization’s plot, caught between the promise of the future and the weaponization of this promise against them. By following resocialization across different domains of prison life and governance, the book also questions the effects and the limits of holding up redemption as a proxy for justice—a substitution shared between prisons and the discipline of anthropology itself. The work is expected to be published in early 2024.