IRAAS Annual Conference - October 4-5, 2013

"Challenging Punishment:
Race, Public Health, and the War on Drugs"

Organizer: Professor Samuel Roberts
(Columbia University) 

October 4 - 5 , 2013

Locations: Columbia University
and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Presented by:
Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University (IRAAS)

This conference, on the modern War on Drugs and its intersection with issues of race and public health, will take place on October 4-5, 2013, at Columbia University and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In panels and workshops, the Challenging Punishment conference will convene scholars, activists, professionals, and artists concerned with the consequences of the War on Drugs over the past four decades. Panel and presentation topics will include youth and politics; drug addiction treatment and public health; criminalization/criminal justice; harm reduction; policing practices; prisons and the carceral state; youth and politics; mandatory minimum sentencing laws; gender, sexuality, and drugs; community mental health; science and policy; etc.

The title, “Challenging Punishment,” has two meanings. On the one hand, it refers to the fact that the current state of substance abuse policy, favoring incarceration and social immobilization (punishment) over mental health provision and community empowerment, very literally challenges the realization of social justice, autonomy, and freedom. At the same time, the historical and policy scholarship featured in these gatherings challenge this state of affairs within a wide range of political mobilizations, professional engagements and academic/disciplinary research agendas.

Papers will be pre-circulated. For inquiries about registration, please contact

Conference Administrative Staff:
Shawn D. Mendoza
Assistant Director, Institute for Research in African-American Studies

Sharon N. Harris
Administrative Assistant

Click here:  Call for Papers>>>