Archivi tag: Colonial Empires

Dissecting Sites of Punishment: Penal Colonies and Their Borders

Si segnala la pubblicazione del dossier monografico curato da Francesca Di Pasquale, Zhanna Popova, Dissecting Sites of Punishment: Penal Colonies and Their Borders, in «International Review of Social History», Volume 64, Issue 3, 2019.


Although a crucial element of imperial architecture, non-metropolitan penal colonies remain relatively understudied, compared with the richness of historical scholarship on modern prison systems in Western Europe and its offshoots. Complementing the perspective chosen in the recent International Review of Social History Special Issue 26, “Transportation, Deportation and Exile: Perspectives from the Colonies in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries”, the four articles in this Special Theme propose an additional angle of investigation of the role of convicts in the incorporation of new territories into colonial empires. The authors place sites of punishment, rather than flows of convicts, at the core of their reflection, and provide a close-up analysis of circulations of information and people across the borders of penal sites on various scales: local, trans-regional, and international. They problematize the notion of “border”, and consider it as a vantage point that leads to a new conceptualization of the penal colony as a system that expands in its surroundings and, in turn, assimilates external political, social, and economic stimuli. Relying on several distinct methodological approaches, the authors foreground the specificities of colonial punishment and demonstrate how punishment became part of the creation and maintenance of power inequalities between the colonies and the metropoles.

Link alla presentazione del dossier monografico in open access: