States of Incarceration

States of Incarceration
A National Dialogue of Local Histories
Seabrook Farms migrant worker
child worker
Packing Birdeye asparagus

ABOUT

States of Incarceration is an exhibition and series of programs created by over 500 students and community partners in 17 states, including participants from Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Rutgers University–Newark. The exhibit explores the roots of mass incarceration in the United States through local case studies and opens a dialogue on what must happen next.

Students from the American Studies, Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies, and History departments at Rutgers University–New Brunswick focused on the history of Seabrook Farms. A frozen-foods agribusiness in Cumberland County, New Jersey, during World War II Seabrook Farms recruited 2,500 incarcerated Japanese Americans released on parole from so-called internment camps in the western interior of the United States. Seabrook Farms would also employ guestworkers from the British West Indies, migrant workers from the United States South, Japanese Peruvians imprisoned by the United States, and, after the war, Estonian refugees from displaced persons camps in Germany.

Rutgers University–New Brunswick will host the full States of Incarceration exhibition at Douglass Library from January 22 to March 9, 2018. We will also host a three-day conference exploring the history of Seabrook Farms and issues that agricultural workers—who are mainly immigrants—face today. Additionally, the university will host a two-week summer institute to train history teachers to incorporate this type of research and local history into their curriculums.

Andy Urban and Kayo Denda, on behalf of the American Studies department and Rutgers University Libraries, would like to thank the following sponsors and supporters of the exhibition and conference programming.

Rutgers Sponsors and Supporters include:

  • The Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui
  • Allan Isaac, Chair of the American Studies Department
  • Dee Magnoni, Assistant Vice President for Information Services and Director of New Brunswick Libraries
  • The History Department
  • Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Coordinator and Instructor of Public History
  • Nicole Fleetwood
  • Lou Masur
  • The Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies Program
  • The English Department
  • The Latino and Caribbean Studies Department
  • Rutgers Global

Conference programming is also supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant made to the Humanities Action Lab.

Important Dates

Exhibition
January 22–March 9, 2018

Conference
February 28–March 2, 2018

Summer Institute
July 16–27, 2018

Application deadline for the Institute is March 1, 2018.

Follow the dialogue about States of Incarceration at Rutgers-New Brunswick on Twitter.

STATES OF INCARCERATION EXHIBITION

January 22–March 9, 2018

Visit
Douglass Library
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527
Check hours

About the Exhibit
States of Incarceration is an exhibition and series of programs created by over 500 students and community partners in 17 states, including participants from from Rutgers University–New Brunswick and Rutgers University–Newark. The exhibit explores the roots of mass incarceration in the United States through local case studies and opens a national dialogue on what must happen next.

From January 22 to March 9, 2018, States of Incarceration will be on display in Douglass Library and open to the public during regular library hours.

Arrange a Group Tour
Classes, student groups, and other interested organizations are encouraged to schedule a guided tour of the exhibit, which will be led by three Aresty Undergraduate Research Assistants being trained as docents and dialogue facilitators. Guides will lead groups through the exhibit and, following these tours, engage students and visitors in a dialogue on the difficult subjects that the exhibit raises. Tours will culminate with a discussion about the further actions that visitors can take.

If your group is interested in a tour, please contact Professor Andy Urban at aturban@rutgers.edu.

STATES OF INCARCERATION CONFERENCE

February 28–March 2, 2018

Conference events and programming explore themes related to the different components of the "States of Incarceration" exhibit. In particular, they highlight subjects connected to the history of Seabrook Farms, the focus of Rutgers–New Brunswick students’ contribution to the exhibit.

A frozen-foods agribusiness in Cumberland County, New Jersey, during World War II Seabrook Farms recruited 2,500 incarcerated Japanese Americans released on parole from so-called internment camps in the western interior of the United States. Seabrook Farms would also employ guestworkers from the British West Indies, migrant workers from the United States South, Japanese Peruvians imprisoned by the United States, and, after the war, Estonian refugees from displaced persons camps in Germany.

Events and panels seek to explore not only the history of Seabrook Farms and Japanese Americans’ incarceration, but also the issues that agricultural workers—who are mainly immigrants—face today.

For questions about the conference, please contact Professor Andy Urban at aturban@rutgers.edu.

REGISTRATION

Let us know if you will attend. Please register for the Conference at this link.

PROGRAM

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
7:30–9:30 pm
Rutgers Cinema, Livingston Campus
105 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway Township, NJ 08854

Screening of Resistance at Tule Lake. Q & A with Director Konrad Aderer.

The dominant narrative of the World War II incarceration of Japanese-Americans has been that they behaved as a "model minority," that they cooperated without protest and proved their patriotism by enlisting in the Army. Resistance at Tule Lake, aa new feature-length documentary from Third World Newsreel (Camera News Inc.) and directed by Japanese American filmmaker Konrad Aderer, overturns that myth by telling the long-suppressed story of Tule Lake Segregation Center.

Konrad Aderer director/producer)is a Japanese American filmmaker whose documentaries have focused on immigrants affected by detention and deportation. His feature documentary Enemy Alien received a Courage in Media Award from CAIR and a Pacific Asian Community Alliance Courage Award. His short Rising Up: The Alams screened internationally and in the US at venues including BAM and MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight. Under his nonprofit multimedia project Life or Liberty (lifeorliberty.org), founded in 2002, his work has been supported by Center for Asian American Media, Open Society Institute, and NYSCA grants. Aderer holds a master’s degree in sociology from Brooklyn College.

Thursday, March 1, 2018
6:00–9:00 pm
Douglass Library, Mabel Smith Douglass Room
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527

Buffet Dinner and Exhibit Tours, 6 – 6:45PM

Aresty Tour Guides and Educators:

Jazmyn Carrington
Rachel Ferrante
Lilah Orengo

Opening Remarks - 6:45 PM

Production of The Castle - 7 PM

The Castle iCastle is a play produced by Eric Krebs, and directed by David Rothenberg, founder of the Fortune Society. It will be followed by a Q & A discussion.

Cast:

Vilma Ortiz Donovan
Casimiro Torres
Victor Rojas
Rory Anderson

Friday, March 2, 2018
Noon–5:00 pm
Douglass Library, Mabel Smith Douglass Room
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527

Lunch - noon

Panel: Advocating on Behalf of Agricultural Workers: Perspectives from the Frontlines, 12:30 - 2 PM

Representatives from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Alliance/Campaign for Fair Food, and CATA: The Farmworker Support Committee will discuss the pressing issues and concerns that farmworkers face, such as immigration raids, sexual harassment in the fields, and wage theft. Participants will also highlight worker activism, campaigns directed at consumers, and how Rutgers community members can take action.

Panelists:

Patricia Cipollitti, Alliance for Fair Food
Jessica Culley, CATA: The Farmworker Support Committee
Julia de la Cruz, Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Jose Manuel Guzman, CATA: The Farmworker Support Committee

Moderated by Professor Andy Urban, Professor of American Studies and History, Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

Panel: Incarceration, Release, and the Prison Economy in Bridgeton, New Jersey, 2:15 - 3:45 PM

Panel participants will explore the daily practices, resistance efforts, and difficulties that come with navigating life on the outside of prisons. The Bridgeton area of Cumberland County, where Seabrook Farms operated, now houses county, state, and federal prisons. Towns where prisons are sited are entangled in the US system of incarceration in unique and overlooked ways. Panel participants will include a Bridgeton-based defense attorney, an educator-activist involved with the New Jersey Judiciary’s Intensive Supervision Program for released offenders, and a formerly incarcerated individual. Panelists will offer their perspectives on the challenges that formerly incarcerated individuals face, and share their experiences as activists seeking to change how parole and release works in Bridgeton.

Panelists:

Arthur Horn, Educator and Organizer
JoEllyn Jones, Public Defender
William Rowley, Educator and Organizer

Moderated by Heath Pearson, PhD Candidate in anthropology, Princeton University.

Plenary: John Seabrook, 4 - 5 PM

John Seabrook is the author The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, published by Norton in October, 2015. He is also the author of Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing—The Marketing of Culture (2000), Deeper: My Two-Year Odyssey in Cyberspace (1997), and Flash of Genius, and Other True Stories of Invention (2008). He has been a contributor to The New Yorker since 1989 and became a staff writer in 1993.

The grandson of C.F. Seabrook, the founder of Seabrook Farms, John is currently working on a family history that explores the company’s rise to national prominence as the leading producer of frozen foods. For his plenary, he will connect his findings to the conference panels, and address why more critical histories and contemporary understandings of agricultural labor and production in southern New Jersey are necessary.

GETTING TO THE CONFERENCE

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Douglass Library
8 Chapel Drive
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8527

From the New Jersey Turnpike (north or south):
Take Exit 9 to Route 18 North. Take the first exit for George Street (Cook/Douglass Campus) which is after the traffic light at Paulus Boulevard. Follow George Street to the second traffic light. Turn left on Nichol Avenue. Turn left on Lipman Drive. Immediately turn left again into Lot 70, located behind the Douglass Student Center.

From Garden State Parkway South:
Take Exit 129 to NJ Turnpike South to Exit 9. Follow New Jersey Turnpike directions from this point.

From Garden State Parkway North:
Take Exit 105 to Route 18 North. Follow NJ Turnpike directions from this point.

From Route 1:
Take Route 1 to the intersection of Route 18 and take the exit for Route 18 North. Follow New Jersey Turnpike directions from this point.

From Route 287:
Take Exit 9 to River Road toward Bound Brook/Highland Park. Proceed east on River Road toward Highland Park for approximately 3.4 miles to Route 18 South. Follow Route 18 South to the first traffic light and turn right on Commercial Avenue. At the first traffic light, turn left on George Street. At the first traffic light, turn right on Nichol Avenue. Turn left on Lipman Drive. Immediately turn left again into Lot 70, located behind the Douglass Student Center.

Douglass Campus Map

Parking:
Parking is available in the parking deck located directly behind the Douglass College Center and in the lot marked Lot 70.

SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS

  • The Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui,Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • Allan Isaac, Chair of the American Studies Department
  • Dee Magnoni, Assistant Vice President for Information Services and Director of New Brunswick Libraries
  • The History Department
  • Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Coordinator and Instructor of Public History
  • Nicole Fleetwood, Associate Professor of American Studies
  • Lou Masur, Distinguished Professor of American Studies
  • The Cultural Heritage and Preservation Studies Program
  • The English Department
  • The Latino and Caribbean Studies Department
  • Rutgers Global

Conference programming is also supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities grant made to the Humanities Action Lab.

SUMMER INSTITUTE: The Company Town at Seabrook Farms, NJ

July 16–27, 2018

The Company Town at Seabrook Farms, NJ: Internment, Migration, and Resettlement in the WWII Era is a two-week summer institute for K-12 teachers sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It will take place at Rutgers University–New Brunswick from July 16 to 27, 2018.

At a moment when the United States' policies toward immigrants, refugees, and guestworkers have become a matter of national concern and an unavoidable topic of discussion in schools and homes across the country, a goal of this institute is to train teachers to become intermediaries who can direct these conversations to the analysis of historical evidence while also calling attention to the economic, political, and social issues at stake in the present.

Institute participants will be encouraged to compare Seabrook Farms to other locations where released internees, migrant workers, and refugees were sent during World War II and its aftermath. They will read and discuss readings that contextualize Japanese American internment, refugee resettlement, and guestworker programs as federal policies, and the legal, cultural, and social histories that surround these measures. They will be introduced to digitized primary sources and other materials that have been assembled for the institute, and each day will learn about what these materials contain and how they might be used in the classroom. Finally, institute participants will be given the autonomy to research, develop, and workshop curricular materials intended for use in their own classrooms. During the institute, participants will receive structured feedback and suggestions and from the institute’s faculty and from peers.

Applications for the NEH Summer Institute are currently being accepted until March 1, 2018. If you are a K-12 teacher in the United States and interested in applying, please consult the following website: http://nehseabrookfarms.org/

Andrew T. Urban
Assistant Professor
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Department of American Studies

aturban@amerstudies.rutgers.edu

Follow the dialogue about States of Incarceration at Rutgers-New Brunswick on Twitter.