Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-13-2014

Major Department or Program



Jack Jackson


Slavery is commonly conceptualized as a limited form of chattel slavery that existed in the pre-Emancipation antebellum South. However, the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery also includes a clause that permits enslavement as “an appropriate punishment for a crime.” It is through this lens that I examine the disproportionate rise of racialized incarceration, and the subsequent privatization and profiteering that has exploded in recent years, as a form of con- temporary slavery. Using an analysis of immigrant detention on the U.S.-Mexico border, I argue that our immigration system acts as a form of racial control and neoslavery, and that such a conclusion necessitates a radical restructuring of our national dependence on criminalization and enslavement.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Saidiya V. Hartman -- Scenes of subjection, Servitudes -- Southern States, Convict labor -- Southern States, Slavery -- 21st century, Detention of persons -- Government Policy -- United States -- History, United States Constitution -- 13th Amendment -- History and criticism, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2014 -- Politics Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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