Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2017 Issue »

    The Problem Child

    Provocations Toward Dismantling the Carceral State

    ERICA R. MEINERS
    In this essay Erica R. Meiners argues that those committed to dismantling our nation’s deep and racialized investments in policing and imprisoning must analyze how the flexible category of “the child,” and its figurative powers, operate in complex ways to punish communities and naturalize and expand criminalization and surveillance. Never static or neutral, childhood and its attendant characteristics, for example, innocence, are not available to all, and many, including young people, are harmed by the very laws and institutions charged with safeguarding minors. In outlining the malleability of developmental categories rooted in racialized and heteropatriarchal foundations—“child,” “juvenile”—and providing examples of how the rhetorical clout of the child is deployed to strengthen laws and policies that often do little to protect young people but instead augment carcerality, Meiners suggests that dismantling the carceral state in our classrooms and communities requires a more rigorous theorization of the artifact of the child.

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    Erica R. Meiners teaches classes in justice studies, women’s and gender studies, and educational studies at Northeastern Illinois University. She is the author of several books, including For the Children? Protecting Innocence in a Carceral State (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). A member of her labor union, University Professionals of Illinois, Meiners is involved with a range of mobilizations for liberation, particularly movements that involve access to public education for people during and after incarceration. Currently a Soros Justice Fellow, she is writing and organizing around reducing our nation’s reliance on criminalization to end sexual violence. 
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    Spring 2017 Issue

    Abstracts

    Responding to “Cross-Pollinating Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Universal Design for Learning: Toward an Inclusive Pedagogy That Accounts for Dis/Ability”
    A HARVARD EDUCATIONAL REVIEW FORUM
    H. SAMY ALIM, SUSAN BAGLIERI, GLORIA LADSON-BILLINGS, DAVID H. ROSE, DJANGO PARIS, and JOSEPH MICHAEL VALENTE
    Where Are All the Black Teachers?
    Discrimination in the Teacher Labor Market
    DIANA D’AMICO, ROBERT J. PAWLEWICZ, PENELOPE M. EARLEY, and ADAM P. MCGEEHAN
    Putting Race on the Table
    How Teachers Make Sense of the Role of Race in Their Practice
    AMANDA J. TAYLOR
    A Crime for a Crime?
    The Landscape of Correctional Education in the United States
    LYNETTE N. TANNIS
    Complex Sentences
    Searching for the Purpose of Education Inside a Massachusetts State Prison
    CLINT SMITH
    Critiquing Critical Pedagogies Inside the Prison Classroom
    A Dialogue Between Student and Teacher
    ERIN L. CASTRO and MICHAEL BRAWN
    The Problem Child
    Provocations Toward Dismantling the Carceral State
    ERICA R. MEINERS
    Harvard Educational Review’s Commitment to Justice and Equity at a Time of Political and Social Change
    From the Editors

    Book Notes

    Continuity in Children’s Worlds
    Melissa M. Jozwiak, Betsy J. Cahill, and Rachel Theilheimer

    An Everyone Culture
    Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, with Matthew L. Miller, Andy Fleming, and Deborah Helsing