The Carceral Life of Sugar


ACLS Fellowship Program


African and African Diaspora Studies


This project explores the role of sugar in the development of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, in the building of cities and in everyday consumption within and beyond prisons. Theorizing the prison and the city as linked to plantation structures, it draws on embodied ethnographic methods and archival research to map the production and consumption of sugar across various spaces. Secondly, it theorizes sugar as a carceral technology itself, arguing that its relationship to Black consumers and bodies across space and time operates as a duality: as a necessary sweetness in an anti-Black world and as a disciplining mechanism through how it is produced and how its consumption is policed.