Tufts University has offered a credit-bearing course for incarcerated people and non-incarcerated Tufts students at MCI-Shirley, Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center, and MCI-Concord. Inside-Out courses are taught by faculty members trained through the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program to lead “courses that allow participants to encounter each other as equals, often across profound social barriers.” The practice of bringing inside and outside students together for “engaged and informed dialogue allows for transformative learning experiences that invite participants to take leadership in addressing crime, justice, and other issues of social concern.” This course is open to Tufts University undergraduate and graduate students and requires faculty permission after a written application and faculty interview.

The Literature of Confinement Course

The Literature of Confinement (CVS 0145)

Instructor: Hilary Binda, TUPIT Director and Senior Lecturer in Civic Studies

This interdisciplinary literature, history, and sociology course asks how writers from different historical periods, regions, cultures, and genders have understood experiences of confinement and freedom. What are some of the effects on our understanding of “humanity” & the “human” of different kinds of confinement – economic, educational, legal, physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and social? The Literature of Confinement runs as an Inside-Out class composed of Tufts (“outside”) students and incarcerated (“inside”) students in equal numbers. Through small and large group discussion and weekly written work on literary texts, students will analyze a variety of works that engage discourses of identity and difference, including race, culture, economic class, gender, and sexuality. A weekly focus on experiential learning across cultural, social, and literal barriers in addition to the regular practice of close reading, critical analysis, and self-reflection enables all students to increase their qualitative knowledge about power in the face of social injustice and civic responsibility. This course aims to facilitate not only expanded literacy, widely defined, but also learning about differences while enabling new modes of identification and fostering new forms of understanding through shared acts of interpretation and imagination. Toward the end of the term, inside and outside students work together to complete interdisciplinary project-based work of the group’s invention and design.