Spotlight on CSW Research: Feminist Anti-Carceral Studies

Since 1984, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) has been at the forefront of rethinking research that breaks down gender barriers and challenges gender inequality. CSW’s mission is to create a world where education and scholarship are tools for social justice feminism. We pride ourselves in being the feminist nucleus of UCLA and asking, not only how gender shapes our everyday lives and experiences, but how other vectors of identity come into play. CSW’s intersectional and cross-disciplinary approach to research and social change is exemplified in various projects and events that have taken place over the last 35 years.

Feminist Anti-Carceral Studies

The United States has the highest rate of women’s incarceration in the world. While 4% of the world’s female population live in the U.S., the nation accounts for over 30% of the world’s incarcerated women. Additionally, nearly 60% of incarcerated women identify as LGBTQ, with a disproportionate number being black transgender girls. CSW’s Feminist Anti-Carceral Studies initiative examines how the carceral state remains a threat to feminist futures through an intersectional and abolitionist lens.

Photo of the Thinking Gender 2019 Keynote Panel

Thinking Gender 2019 Keynote Panel

Thinking Gender

In 2019, CSW’s annual Thinking Gender conference focused on Feminists Confronting the Carceral State. Students and scholars from around the country gathered to discuss research on gendered regimes of incarceration and policing. Thinking Gender 2019 was the first conference of its kind at UCLA and attracted the largest audience in the history of Thinking Gender. The keynote panel, “Abolitionist Feminist Futures,” featured Alisa Bierria (Assistant Professor, UC Riverside), Colby Lenz (PhD Candidate, USC), Romarilyn Ralston (Program Coordinator of Project Rebound, CSU Fullerton), and Beth Richie (Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago).

The theme of abolitionist feminisms also played a key role in Thinking Gender 2020, “Sexual Violence as Structural Violence: Feminist Visions of Transformative Justice.” The keynote panel, “Transformational Justice: Refusing Criminalization and Sexual Violence,” featured scholar-activists Mimi Kim (Assistant Professor, CSU Long Beach), Emily Thuma (Assistant Professor, University of Washington Tacoma), and Mariame Kaba (Founder and Director, Project NIA). Kaba co-founded the prison abolition organization, Survived & Punished (S&P), along with TG19 panelists, Alisa Bierria and Colby Lenz.

Postcard made by Survived & Punished

Visit to help end the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Support CSW and the Community

Feminist Anti-Carceral Studies is just one of CSW’s research streams that questions dominant approaches to gender issues and identifies innovative solutions. Explore similar projects such as Sexual Violence and Intersectionality, the Black Feminism Initiative, and more by visiting our online research page, and supporting our mission by giving to our 35th Anniversary campaign. Your generosity ensures that CSW remains an interdisciplinary think tank and helps bring more free public programming, such as Thinking Gender, to the UCLA campus.

CSW believes in scholarship that fosters collaboration and care in the community. When you give to CSW, consider donating to our partners and friends as well such as S&P, a prison abolitionist organization that strives to end the criminalization of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.