Tracing Racial Capitalism in Place: Indigenous Dispossession, Plantations, and Private Immigrant Incarceration in North Carolina


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowships




This research asks how racial capitalism is reproduced in the US South. The Rivers Correctional Institution (RCI) is a Criminal Alien Requirement prison in Hertford County, North Carolina that is located on the former site of a plantation, which in turn, was established on dispossessed land of the Meherrin Nation. This research employs a mixed-methods public humanities methodology to explore why, in its centuries-long history, racialized confinement and private profit are continuously coupled in place, though in distinct forms over time. It explores this reproduction in and through the law, relationships between private capital and the state, and material landscape changes at historic junctures of indigenous dispossession, plantation enslavement, and private immigrant incarceration. Research outputs include a multi-media, interactive digital public history of the site sourced from archival and contemporary materials.