Laura Beach - Doing Time: Chronocentricity, Cyclicality, and the Foreclosure of Futurity in Canadian Corrections

Laura Beach
Date and Time: -
Location: Online

Laura Beach is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. They are a broadly trained scholar with expertise in the areas of criminalization, incarceration, mental health/illness, regimes of care, humanitarianism, settler-colonialism, gender and sexuality, and queer theory. Mx. Beach's doctoral research focuses on relations of care within correctional facilities in Saskatchewan, one of Canada’s prairie provinces, where the vast majority of prisoners are Indigenous and staff are predominantly white. Laura employs the lens of care as means to better understand the specific form that settler-colonialism takes in Canada here and now, toward decolonization. Drawing on twenty-two months of fieldwork spanning three years, including participant observation, archival research, and interviews with people who been incarcerated as well as correctional staff, Mx. Beach attends to traces of older modes and mechanisms of colonial capitalism, including the Christian project of salvation at the heart of the corrections industry. A central contribution of Mx. Beach’s dissertation is to concretely lay out how prisons operate as sites of sequestration and subjectivation, disrupting Indigenous relations with one another and with the land, thus facilitating settler expansion. Laura grounds their analysis in the intimate and the quotidian, bringing the lived experiences of their interlocutors to bear on wider conversations about settler-colonial statecraft, Indigenous self-determination, carcerality, care, (re)habilitation, and pharmaceutical emplotment. Mx. Beach has been volunteering in federal and provincial prisons for over five years, including as a facilitator for the Inspired Minds All Nations Creative Writing Program. Through this program, they have helped to edit, format, and publish prisoners' artwork and writing. Mx. Beach’s research has been supported by a Joseph Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship.