New digitalculturebooks Title Available for Free Online Reading

by Korey Jackson on December 14, 2010

A new digitalculturebooks title, Is William Martinez not our Brother?, has just been posted for free online reading under a Creative Commons license (BY-NC-ND). The work is part of the New Public Scholarship series. The book is also available for sale from the University of Michigan Press.

Is William Martinez Not Our Brother? describes the University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), a pioneering program founded in 1990 that works with incarcerated youth and adults in Michigan juvenile facilities and prisons. Alexander recounts the genesis and evolution of this radically pragmatic and original system that begins with university courses for credit, then offers students a university-based nonprofit organization through which they may continue and deepen their practice, and finally gives them a national network as well as connections with the national movement resisting mass incarceration in this country, and with social careers in general.

By giving incarcerated individuals an opportunity to participate in the arts, PCAP enables them to withstand and often overcome the conditions and culture of prison, the policies of an incarcerating state, and the consequences of mass incarceration.

The book is also a deeply personal account of Alexander’s long commitment to confronting the continually rising numbers of prisoners in America, his dedication as an educator, and his attempts to provide a way to reach out on a practical and emotional level to inmates. The model he describes applies to both public scholarship and everyday politics and will inspire readers in all fields.

Buzz Alexander is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English Language and Literature, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, at the University of Michigan and was Carnegie National Professor of the Year in 2005.

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