ability to communicate about our personal experiences has consistently been
linked to the capacity to heal from trauma and feel empowered to make positive
decisions. For many of society’s most marginalized members, stereotypical
images and narratives stand in for the unique experiences that undergird much
of what we tend to see as “natural.” For incarcerated women, whose histories
are often marked by sexual abuse, domestic violence, poverty, PTSD, a lack of
education, housing insecurity, mental illness, and substance addiction, we find
significant cultural ignorance about their pathways to incarceration and
inadequate structural support for sustained recovery and empowerment.
Since 1970, the number of
imprisoned Americans has grown tenfold, with women now constituting the fastest
growing prison population in the United States. In a recent issue of Text and Performance Quarterly, we
suggest that U.S. culture has much to learn from incarcerated women, starting
with listening to their stories. In the summer of 2011, as volunteers who
helped design, participate, and fundraise for an organization called Resolana,
we solicited life stories from 23 women who were incarcerated in the Dallas
down any sidewalk, anywhere. How many young people do you see looking down at
their smartphones, oblivious to everything else—even friends walking right
alongside? Do you ever wonder what is happening to real communication in this technologically crazed world of ours?
young people you’re seeing may well be members of “Generation C,” born since
1990 and adolescents after 2000. They’re connected,
content-centric, computerized, community-oriented and, most
important, continually clicking. Put simply, they are
digital natives who gravitate toward their “native tongue” when it comes to
communication. They are constant users of communication technologies, now
ubiquitous in contemporary society. In fact, they have never known life without
these technologies, and they rely on them to stay continuously in touch with
their families, friends, and foes—and
their college professors, which brings us to the results of an intriguing new study
about how members of Generation C prefer
to communicate and how they actually do.
the midst of the U.S. Civil War sesquicentennial, travel to sites associated
with the war is big business.