Semester of Graduation

Spring 2024

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

A Reckoning is a genre hybrid collection centering on incarcerated women past and present. Utilizing a wide span of formats and craft elements, each piece explores the social, emotional, and mental conditions of incarceration on women’s bodies.

An avid abolitionist, Fariha is interested in exploring how the prison system came to be the mammoth it is today. Many of the pieces in A Reckoning are inspired by details from historic records of the first Louisiana State Penitentiary, the first major state prison in Louisiana, housed right in Baton Rouge. While the histories of incarcerated males has been well-documented, the history and stories of incarcerated women often goes overlooked. Specifically, this collection explores material details from the archives and strives to bring them to life.

The collection draws inspiration from other hybrid collections such as Cynthia Dewi Oka’s Nomad of Salt and Hard Water, Victoria Chang’s Obit, Tina Chang’s Hybrida, Suhar Muradi’s Ask Hafiz, Saidiya Hartman’s Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Ishion Hutchinson’s School of Instructions, Tracy K. Smith’s To Free the Captives, and Brenda Hillman’s Cascadia.

Fariha excavates the women’s visions, dreams, and hopes as they spend day after day in the harsh, punitive system and hold space for their humanity. What does it mean to commit acts of violence when the state has always been violent to you? What leads a ten year old to commit an act of murder, what levity can exist in such a dreary system? While there are no easy answers, there’s room for exploration in the dark caverns of history.

Date

3-25-2024

Committee Chair

Wheeler, Joshua

Available for download on Saturday, March 22, 2031

Included in

Poetry Commons

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